Tart, sweet cranberry crumb bars… they are amazingly delicious. What more can I say?
In the winter, my favorite flavor is cranberry. Between Halloween and Christmas, I buy up/hoard fresh cranberries in a ridiculous fashion–and then freeze a zillion bags for “emergencies.” Crazy, I know, but you DO NOT know when a cranberry craving will strike and have you ever had to look for cranberries in June? Impossible, I tell ya. And I’m sure I’ve told you that before. Ha! 🙂 I also like dried cranberries but fresh cranberries are much better for baking. And these Cranberry Crumb Bars are no exception!
These bar cookies are really really simple and definitely deserve a spot on your Christmas cookie tray this year. They’re rich, buttery little treats with a pop of fresh cranberry and orange in every single delicious bite.
Over the years I’ve seen lotsa recipes for cranberry cookie bars/crumbles of various sorts but so many of them require you to use “leftover cranberry sauce.” Who ever heard of such a thing? I inhale cranberry sauce so there’s never any left, much less enough for BAKING. And I’m the simple baker type, most of the time. I don’t want to take the time to dirty up the food processor or a saucepan to MAKE cranberry sauce before making dessert. Even though Ben does 90% of the dishes in our house [I’m a lucky girl!], I can’t justify that nonsense. But even so, I didn’t know if a recipe like this would work. Reading over it, I was a bit skeptical. A crust recipe that has you blend in an egg [even in the topping] and not pre-cook it? Sounds weird. A filling with, literally, just fresh cranberries and flavorings and a tiny bit of liquid? Was I going to be wasting a bunch of ingredients?
[Spoiler alert: NOPE!] These bars are absolutely magical, wonderful, and amazing. The winter dessert of my dreams… no lie. I am so happy I tried them and seriously wouldn’t change a thing about them. The original recipe suggests maybe a drizzle of white chocolate on top, and while that might make them prettier, I think–for me–that extra sweetness would take away from the perfect pairing of tart + sweet + butter. But you do you, and I’ll do me, and we’ll do these Cranberry Crumb Bars together, okay? Enjoy! 🙂
one year ago: Crockpot Minestrone Soup
two years ago: Baked Fish Tacos with Cranberry Salsa
three years ago: Cranberry Orange Pancakes with Cranberry Maple Syrup
four years ago: Baby Bella, Spinach, and Bacon Frittata
five years ago: Sweet Potato Soup
Cranberry Crumb Bars
for the crust:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup almond meal or whole wheat flour
- zest of half an orange
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup cold, unsalted butter
- 1 egg
for the filling
- juice of 1/2 an orange [I just added a few tablespoons of orange juice]
- zest of 1/2 an orange
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.
In a medium bowl, stir together sugar, baking powder, flours, orange zest, and cinnamon. Use a pastry blender or two forks to cut in the butter and egg. Dough will be crumbly — you can also use a food processor for this step.
Press half of the dough into the prepared pan, then mix up the filling.
In another medium bowl, combine orange juice, orange zest, cranberries, sugar, vanilla, and cornstarch. Stir until combined, then spread over crust. Evenly distribute remaining crust over cranberry mixture.
Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool completely in the refrigerator before cutting into squares. Store in the refrigerator. Leftovers freeze well. Enjoy!