Right about now I’m guessing you have a bag of cranberries sitting in your refrigerator. Likely ones that you bought for Thanksgiving but ended up shoved somewhere in the back of the fridge only to be forgotten; ones that will end up in the trash in a few days if you don’t think of some way to use them up.
I found myself in the very same predicament this weekend, and knew I needed to come up with a recipe to use up all those tart round berries. Preferably something made with wholesome ingredients that would be just as welcome in the morning with a latte at it would be at a holiday gathering with friends.
Enter Cranberry Walnut Crumb Bars:
These crumb bars are simple, using the same walnut-loaded whole wheat dough for both the top and bottom layers, and a thick, orange-kissed cranberry filling. They’re sweetened with maple syrup, and have the perfect tart-sweet balance thanks to the cranberries.
The recipe is made in a loaf pan for a relatively small batch of only six servings, since I still have pumpkin cheesecake, brownies, peanut butter cookie dough balls, and pecan pie truffles leftover from Thanksgiving. The recipe can easily be doubled and baked in an 8-inch square pan if you’re looking for a bigger batch.
The trickiest part about the whole operation is chopping the cranberries, which like to roll all over the cutting board in an attempt to remain whole. Fear not- a random, rough chop is fine, and a few whole berries left at the end won’t make or break this recipe. I just find that whole cranberries don’t all cook down enough in the short amount of time these bars spend in the oven, and that chopping them makes for the perfect consistency.
Once you’ve conquered the cranberries, this recipe is as easy as stirring together the crumb dough, pressing half of it into a loaf pan, pouring on the cranberry mixture, and crumbling the rest of the dough on top. Bake for 30 minutes, let cool, and cut. Voila!
Hello, cranberry-orange-walnut bliss.
I think you’re going to love these bars! They’re thick, a little crumbly, loaded with cranberry and orange flavor, a little tart, and perfect for sharing with friends and family this holiday season!
If you make this recipe, let me know how it turns out! Leave a comment here, or take a picture and share it with me on Instagram! And don’t forget to check out my PANTRY STAPLES page to stock up on ingredients for this recipe. Happy baking, friends!
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, at room temperature (or softened, if hard)
- 1/4 cup creamy almond butter
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup finely diced walnuts (measured after dicing)
- 2 cups fresh cranberries
- 2 Tablespoons fresh orange juice (from about half an orange)
- 1 teaspoon orange zest (from about half an orange)
- 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a standard loaf pan with parchment paper.
- 2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir together the coconut oil, almond butter, maple syrup, and vanilla until fully combined. Add all remaining crumb ingredients, including the walnuts, and stir until a dough forms. Set aside while you make the filling.
- 3. Roughly chop the cranberries (they will roll around on the cutting board, so just do your best to at least chop them all in half) and add them to a small bowl with all remaining filling ingredients. Stir to combine.
- 4. Divide the crumb dough in half, and press half into the bottom of the loaf pan. Use your fingers to spread it out in an even layer, all the way to the edges. Then pour the cranberry-orange mixture on top and crumble the remaining dough on top. Use your hands to press down on the top layer, adhering it to the cranberries. I added a few walnut halves to the top to make it look pretty- if you have a few extra walnuts, feel free to do the same!
- 5. Bake for 30 minutes, or until bars are golden. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly in the pan, then use the parchment paper to lift the bars out onto a cooling rack to continue cooling fully. Once completely cooled, cut into 6-8 bars, and enjoy! Leftovers taste best at room temperature, where they can be stored for up to 4 days before getting too soft. In the fridge, they will last closer to a week.
- If desired, the ingredients in this recipe can be doubled and baked in an 8x8" pan for 40-45 minutes for a larger batch.