Quick, before the temperature reaches 90 degrees again, turn on your oven and whip up a batch of these Cherry & Blueberry Crumb Bars.
I have it on good authority that you can eat them for breakfast, crumbled over a bowl of yogurt. Or as a snack at the beach or the park. Or for dessert at a backyard barbecue, should your Sunday involve something like that.
Trust me, you’re going to want these simple, fruity crumb bars in your life ASAP.
So here’s what I did. I took my favorite Whole Wheat Fig Bars, doubled the recipe to fit in an 8-inch pan, and swapped out the dried figs for fresh, juicy berries.
I knew I wanted to use a combination of berries + cherries, since they are both in season right now and I’ve been obsessing over both of them for the past week. But then I got lazy and used frozen cherries instead of fresh, since I didn’t feel like pitting two cups of cherries. Such is life.
Full disclosure: I also made a second trip to the grocery store to buy seven (yes, really, just seven) fresh cherries to use when I photographed the bars. But don’t be fooled by the pictures: I spent zero minutes of my life this week pitting cherries. And, unless you find popping tiny pits out of fruit to be therapeutic (I sometimes do…), I highly recommend frozen cherries. They are dark, sweet, juicy, and not remotely lacking in cherry goodness.
Just like the Fig Bars, the same dough that forms the crust becomes the topping, so this is a quick and easy recipe. Despite being made from ingredients like almond butter, coconut oil, and whole wheat flour (hellooo healthy crumb bars), these little squares of joy taste and look like a traditional buttery, decadent dessert!
Yes, I am proud of myself, thank you for asking.
And that fruit layer? It’s thick, sticky, and perfectly sweetened (with maple syrup!) to make every bite of these crumb bars taste like you’re eating a slice of pie. And you could totally swap out the berries and cherries for whatever you happen to love. Raspberries, blackberries, peaches, nectarines…the crumb bar world is your oyster.
To make these extra crumb-y (but, not remotely crummy) I added some oats to the topping. Growing up, my mom always made raspberry crumb bars with a thick layer of raspberry jam and an oat-y topping, so it just felt right to add oats here. I distinctly remember sneaking into the kitchen as a kid to pick off bits of the topping before Mom’s bars cooled and we were allowed to eat them. Clearly, some things never change, as I had to stop myself from snacking on the topping of these ones, too.
I also made sure the crust was niiiice and thick, so you can actually pick these bars up and eat them. Not that I look down upon eating them with a spoon…preferably with a scoop of ice cream on top.
However you choose to eat them, these crumb bars need to make an appearance in your life! So, turn on the oven, hire a kid from the neighborhood to come fan you while you work, and get these babies in the oven ASAP! And, maybe save me one? We’ve already eaten all of ours and I could go for another right about now.
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
- 1/2 cup almond butter
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups white whole wheat flour*
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup oats, for top layer
- 2 cups blueberries
- 1 1/2 cups pitted cherries (fresh or frozen)
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
- 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line an 8x8 square baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- 2. Make crumb: put coconut oil, almond butter, maple syrup, and vanilla into a mixing bowl, and stir to combine. Then add all remaining crumb ingredients, except oats, and stir until a thick, dough is formed.
- 3. Divide crumb dough in half, and press half into the bottom of the prepared pan. Use your fingers to spread it into an even layer. Transfer the pan to the freezer to chill while you prepare the filling.
- 4. Add the oats to the remaining crumb mixture, and stir to combine. Set aside.
- 5. Roughly chop the cherries, then put all filling ingredients into a bowl and stir to combine. Remove the crust from the freezer and pour fruit mixture on top. Then, crumble the oat topping over the fruit. Press down gently with your fingers to stick the crumb topping to the fruit.
- 6. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly. Let bars cool to room temperature, then lift the parchment to remove them from the pan. Cut into 9-12 squares, and serve.
- 7. Leftovers keep well in the fridge for up to 5 days, and taste just as good cold as they do when freshly baked!
- *White whole wheat flour has the same nutritional profile as regular whole wheat, but has a more mild flavor. Regular whole wheat, or a combination of whole wheat and all-purpose, can be substituted instead.
- This recipe can be cut in half and baked in a loaf pan for a smaller batch