Cranberry Crumb Bars

Brownies and Bars, Christmas Recipes, Dessert, Fall Recipes, Fruit Desserts, Holiday Recipes, Seasonal Recipes, Thanksgiving Recipes, Winter Recipes | 48 comments

Do you want to know just how good these Cranberry Crumb Bars are? As Mary Poppins would say, they’re practically perfect in every way. I have made 3 pans of them just this week. Practically perfect, see? So practically perfect that they’re verging on actual perfection minus the part about how they aren’t exactly health food. Okay, before you go all oh-my-gosh-are-you-crazy? and that’s-so-bad-for-you on me let me justify those three pans first. Okay?

Pan #1: made them for us. We devoured them. I had the last one for breakfast yesterday because it was calling my name in the fridge. I mean, it was the last one in the pan and the pan was just taking up way too much space since it wasn’t really serving any purpose by housing only one bar. I took the bar out. I put the pan in the dishwasher. And then I ate the bar. The end. Oh except for the part where Logan tells me that he “only [likes] the chocolate brownies.” Oh well. More for me. (Sometimes there are advantages to having a picky child. The picky child just doesn’t need to find that out)

Pan #2 and #3: Made both today. Logan and Madeline had a grand time helping me press the crust in and then proceeded to litter the kitchen with flour, sugar, and baking powder. I was also trying to make Beef with Broccoli for dinner at the same time. Am I crazy or what? Please don’t answer that.

Pan #2 is for MOMS Club Garage Sale/Bake Sale tomorrow morning. Pan #3 part 1 is for a friend’s family. Pan #3 part two is for us. Again. I could hardly wait for them to chill before a.) delivering them and b.) eating them myself. So I ate some unchilled and they were a mess to cut into, but still really good. Though I do like them better chilled. I also think they’re the perfect treat for the upcoming holidays, or any time you want your kitchen to smell awesome.

P.S. Cranberries are good for you. Right? Right.
P.P.S. Go check out the new Food Section on the Paula Deen website and all the super cool contributing writers.

Cranberry Crumb Bars
adapted from SGCC and Smitten Kitchen

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal*
  • 1 cup cold butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • juice of 1/2 of an orange
  • zest of one orange
  • 4 cups fresh cranberries**
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbs cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 9×13 inch pan.

In a medium bowl, mix together 1 cup sugar, flour, almond flour, salt and baking powder. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the butter and egg. The dough will be crumbly. Alternatively, you can pulse the dry ingredients in a food processor with the butter until pebbly, and then mix in the egg until it all comes together. Pat half of the dough into the buttered pan.

In another bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, orange juice and zest. Mix in the cranberries. Sprinkle the cranberry mixture evenly over the dough in the pan.

Add 1/4 tsp cinnamon to the remaining dough, then crumble dough over the berries. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until top is a light golden brown. Cool completely and chill in the refrigerator before cutting into squares. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

* I used these almonds. Just toss them in a food processor until finely ground to make almond meal.

**stock up while cranberries are abundant in stores. Just toss them in the freezer and use as you need. They’ll be good for about a year. If you’re using frozen fresh cranberries for this recipe there is no need to thaw them first.

Update 10/26/09: Regarding the possibility of freezing these bars, please see here.

Katie Goodman

About the Author:

Katie’s lifelong interest in cooking good food has shown her that part of the goodness in life is enjoying delicious food with friends and family. She is: Mom. Writer. Photographer. Recipe Developer. Website Founder. Lover of all things good in life. A mix of great recipes, family memories, and yummy photography is what Katie serves up each week at GoodLife Eats™. Katie and her family reside in Colorado.

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  • 1
    Maria - October 23, 2009 @ 3:04 am

    I am so glad you posted these. I will have to stock up on cranberries. Sounds like I will be making pan after pan:)


  • 2
    A Cupcake Life - October 23, 2009 @ 3:46 am

    Please stop posting such good looking desserts! I'm gonna get really fat! I'm making the Caramel Apple cookies tomorrow with my girls.~Dusti


  • 3
    Courtney - October 23, 2009 @ 4:10 am

    yummy!!! i love cranberries so I am going to totally have to make these!


  • 4
    Barbara Bakes - October 23, 2009 @ 4:12 am

    These look heavenly! What a beautiful red color! How do you think they would freeze?


  • 5
    marla - October 23, 2009 @ 12:18 pm

    These bars look delicious! Want crumbly, buttery Cranberry Crumb Bars… NOW!!! Great photo, so tempting. Life is all about balance, right??


  • 6
    Ciao Chow Linda - October 23, 2009 @ 1:11 pm

    These do look divine. I am always on the lookout for a good cranberry recipe.


  • 7
    oneordinaryday - October 23, 2009 @ 1:12 pm

    Beautiful! What a nice change of pace these would make for Thanksgiving desserts.


  • 8
    Frenchie - October 23, 2009 @ 1:33 pm

    I rarely/never use cranberries to bake with, I always worry that their tartness would be hard to balance out. You made these sound so perfect and delicious though…I may just have to take the risk.


  • 9
    Jessie - October 23, 2009 @ 1:40 pm

    so pretty! they look so crumbly and soft I can imagine the tart-ness from the cranberries counteract with the sweetness from the crumb topping making it so delectable.


  • 10
    Amy J in SC - October 23, 2009 @ 3:05 pm

    Beautiful Katie! Love the color and it perfectly matches your site design.These do look good for the holidays and Thanksgiving is right around the corner – better start practicing today!


  • 11
    Jessica - October 23, 2009 @ 3:07 pm

    Katie these look incredible! I can't wait to try them.


  • 12
    Bethie - October 23, 2009 @ 4:25 pm

    Beautiful and bookmarked!!!


  • 13
    Nutritious is Delicious - October 23, 2009 @ 4:59 pm

    MMM Yes, please!


  • 14
    Jane - October 23, 2009 @ 5:38 pm

    Fantastic cranberry recipes are not all that easy to come by, but this one looks delicious! Your pictures are really exceptional and your blog is just lovely!


  • 15
    sourcreamandjam - October 23, 2009 @ 6:33 pm

    Oh, and I just bought 2 bags of cranberries last night, too! These look spectacular; thanks.


  • 16
    Katie @ goodLife {eats} - October 23, 2009 @ 9:02 pm

    Barbara – I think these would freeze great! First, I'd chill according to recipe, cut into serving size pieces. Place them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet to flash freeze, and then transfer to a labeled zip top freezer bag.


  • 17
    Memória - October 24, 2009 @ 2:19 am

    These look fantastic!


  • 18
    Miki - October 24, 2009 @ 4:59 pm

    These look SO YUMMY and I can't wait to try them!! Cranberry margaritas are my favorite but these sure look like they can top that, LOL! Thanks for the tip on freezing them too.


  • 19
    Mixing Bowl Mama - October 25, 2009 @ 1:03 pm

    With a sales pitch like that it will be impossible not to try these! We love cranberries and love them even more in desserts.


  • 20
    We Are Not Martha - October 25, 2009 @ 8:03 pm

    Cranberries are one of those things I always WANT to cook/bake with and always forget to. Must make these ASAP!Sues


  • 21
    Kendra @ My First Kitchen - October 26, 2009 @ 2:05 am

    I love that you referenced Mary Poppins. I like you already. :) Thanks for coming by my site, and I can't wait to come back and visit yours! It's so calm and happy over here.


  • 22
    Abby - October 27, 2009 @ 12:46 am

    I made these last year and have been saving my post for Christmas! And you're right. They're fab.


  • 23
    Dana - October 28, 2009 @ 9:12 pm

    Just looking at the photos, I can totally taste that intoxicating sweet and sour bite. yum!


  • 24
    Madame K - October 30, 2009 @ 5:14 pm

    After seeing your recipe, I can't decide between the bars and a cranberry buckle. What a dilemma!


  • 25
    Barbara Bakes - October 30, 2009 @ 10:31 pm

    I blogged about your bars today. Thanks for sharing the recipe!


  • 26
    Kathleen - October 31, 2009 @ 11:16 pm

    Just found your blog thru Barbara Bakes. I love it! I'm making these next week. Can't wait!!


  • 27
    Jenn in GA - November 01, 2009 @ 11:03 pm

    these are fabby! made them for a group we were to have over this evening, but son came down with a fever. glad to have the freezing recommendations!


  • 28
    Kristen - November 02, 2009 @ 12:46 am

    Absolutley gorgeous, my dear! Love it!


  • 29
    lavienouveau - November 06, 2009 @ 2:10 am

    mmmm! these look awesome!


  • 30
    sweetbeets - November 13, 2009 @ 4:51 pm

    They look so delicious! I have to bake a few things for an upcoming holiday-themed fundraiser for my son's school so I've bookmarked your recipe. The cranberries make them so festive!


  • 31
    Marie {Make and Takes} - November 13, 2009 @ 7:22 pm

    SHUT UP!!! Congrats on writing for Ms. Paula Deen! Yay!


  • 32
    FishMama - December 03, 2009 @ 5:16 am

    Love looking at your photos. Yummy!


  • 33
    Carrie - February 08, 2010 @ 10:37 pm

    These look really delicious. I've had a frozen bag of cranberries in my freezer since November. This is their destiny. :D


  • 34
    haumea - March 19, 2010 @ 10:18 pm

    Wonderbars! I read this recipe over a couple times before I decided to make it. I have in my fridge almond meal my aunt gave me. I added a couple different things. I am not a cranberry person. I added Orange Zest and tangerine juice and 1/4 cup of marscapone just to bring that super tartness down. This is a yummy recipe and would be really with some vanilla frozen yogurt or vanilla bean gelato. Thank you.


  • 35
    Anonymous - March 30, 2010 @ 2:13 pm

    I have made this recipie three times now and it´s always such a hit. I love it!


  • 36
    Katherine - May 23, 2010 @ 7:05 pm

    How sweet are these?


  • 37
    Katie @ goodLife {eats} - May 24, 2010 @ 12:50 am

    Katherine – for me it's the perfect combo sweet/tart. I don't find them overly sugary and the tartness of the cranberries is still present.


  • 38
    Emily @ LaForce Be With You - October 30, 2010 @ 8:15 am

    Just found your blog and I love it.. such great recipes to explore! I definitely want to make these!! Is there any substitute to almond meal if I have a friend allergic to nuts??


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — October 30th, 2010 @ 8:40 AM

      Equal amount of ground oatmeal (just put the oatmeal in the food processor) or all purpose flour should work fine.

  • 39
    Allysa - November 07, 2010 @ 10:10 pm

    These sound delicious! I want to make them for a get together with friends! Do you use salted butter or unsalted? Thanks for sharing!!!


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — November 8th, 2010 @ 7:36 AM

      For this recipe I use whatever I have on hand.

  • 40
    Vanderbilt Wife - November 13, 2010 @ 10:38 am

    I will preface this with “I am 34 weeks pregnant,” but these make me want to eat my computer screen. YUM!! I love cranberry, too. They sounds divine.


  • 41
    Laurie - November 29, 2010 @ 8:27 am

    I made these for a Thanksgiving treat. SO YUMMY! I loved the crust and I don’t mind the tartness of the cranberries, but it knocked the socks of my husband! :)
    I found that after day three in the refrigerator they tasted the best. The SUPER tartness had subsided and didn’t over power the dessert.
    I was wondering if you left the cranberries in the sugar mixture for a few days before hand if it would cut down on the tartness.??

    Do you have any other suggestions on how to reduce the tartness?
    Also, I loved the crust so much and I am wondering if any other fruits would work in the recipe???



  • 42
    Celeste - December 24, 2010 @ 12:50 am

    Laurie, I’ve made these with blueberries (my mom’s suggestion) and they were delightful!

    I just pulled my fourth batch in a year out of the oven. Such a good recipe! I rarely make things multiple times (too excited to try out new recipes), but this one is a keeper.


  • 43
    Miko's Girl - February 07, 2011 @ 5:48 pm

    I’m bookmarking these – they look delicious!


  • 44
    Missy - December 31, 2012 @ 11:21 pm

    Thank you for this recipe. Made them today and they are wonderful!


  • 45
    rose - November 15, 2013 @ 3:03 am

    I just found this recipe and would like to make it. How much almonds does it take to make 1/2 cup of almond meal?


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — November 15th, 2013 @ 10:21 AM

      I don’t know, but you can purchase already ground almond meal from Bob’s Red Mill.

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