If you’re looking for an eye-catching and easy holiday dessert this year, you don’t have to look much further than the Trader Joe’s 12 Cranberry Orange Bars. These jewel-tone desserts are in the freezer section of your local TJ’s. The Cranberry Orange Bars are already sliced and ready to serve at your holiday gathering. All you need to do is defrost them, plate them and you’re ready to eat!
As a fan of cranberry desserts, I couldn’t resist giving these easy treats a try. The bars remind me of jellied cranberry sauce in a very pleasant way. The cranberry curd is very smooth and stiff enough to slice easily without running down into the crust or onto your serving plate. The velvety and not-too-sweet curd has a good, slightly tart cranberry flavor and a hint of orange. The shortbread-like crust is buttery, tender and provides a nice contrast to the filling on top of it. If you like cranberries in general and are looking for an easy cranberry treat or dessert option, this one is going to be tough to beat because they don’t get much easier.
That said, I personally could have done with a little bit more flavor impact overall. The orange is subtle enough that I wish they had bumped it up with some more zest to make the bars punchier. To dress these up, I would serve them with a small dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream, garnished with some fresh orange zest.
The bars are sold frozen and only need to be defrosted before serving. The packaging suggests defrosting them for 4 hours in the refrigerator before serving, but I found that they did fine after 24 hours in the refrigerator defrosting. This means that you can bring them home from Trader Joe’s and pop them in the fridge before serving them the next day – eliminating the need to set a 4 hour timer and saving space in the freezer. I found that the bars were best cold, so I would recommend taking them out no more than an hour before serving. The cranberry layer is sturdy enough that it won’t melt or become too soft, but it simply tastes best when still slightly chilled!