Looking for a sweet treat that’s good for you, too? Try these bakery-style Gluten Free Cranberry Bars with crumble topping! Easy bar cookies with sweet and tart cranberry filling.
Sweet Cranberry Bars with a Buttery Crumble Topping
Bar cookies are a favorite around here, and these cranberry bars? To die for! Each jammy bite is bursting with sweet-tart cranberry filling, scented with fresh orange zest and juice. Underneath is a buttery crust, and on top, is a delicate crumble.
Best of all, these are a treat you can feel good about. They’re made with healthy ingredients like coconut sugar, oat flour, almond flour, and maple syrup. Not to mention the cranberries, of course, which are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Let’s take a look at the ingredients you’ll need for making homemade cranberry bars. Here’s the list of simple, wholesome ingredients.
For the Filling
- Cranberries: Fresh cranberries are the basis of the tart, fruity filling.
- Orange Zest and Juice: From half an orange – or zest and juice a tangerine, if you prefer.
- Sweetener: Coconut sugar is my go-to.
- Arrowroot Flour: You can also use tapioca flour.
- Almond Extract: Or vanilla extract.
- Ground Cinnamon
For the Crust/Topping Mix:
- Almond Flour: Use fine almond flour, not almond meal, and pack it into your measuring cup when you measure it.
- Oat Flour: All-purpose flour would also work if that’s what you prefer.
- Oats: Rolled oats add texture to the bars.
- Nutmeg: You could use more cinnamon instead of the nutmeg, if you like.
- Zest of ½ orange
- Butter: Melt and cool the butter before using it, or use melted and cooled coconut oil.
- Maple Syrup: Pure maple syrup is great for sweetening the topping. You could also sprinkle in more coconut sugar if you would rather do that.
- Vanilla Extract
- 2 teaspoons of powdered sugar or monk fruit sugar (Optional)
Do You Wash Cranberries Before Cooking?
Yes, you should wash fresh cranberries before cooking and serving them. The easiest way is to rinse them under cool water in a colander, sorting through them as you go for any crushed berries or stems. Drain them well, and you’re good to go!
How to Make Cranberry Bars
This is an easy, two-bowl baking recipe that comes together in a snap! You’ll make the cranberry filling, stir up the crust-and-topping mixture, and then layer it into a baking dish. Your oven does the rest.
- Get Ready. To get started, preheat the oven to 375F. Line a large (9×13) baking dish with parchment paper, letting some of the parchment overhang on the long sides of the dish.
- Make the Filling.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the cranberries, orange zest, orange juice, coconut sugar, arrowroot flour, almond extract, and cinnamon. Give this a stir and set it aside.
- Make the Crust/Topping Mix. Whisk the almond flour, oat flour, oats, salt, nutmeg, and orange zest together in a large bowl. Drizzle in the melted butter, syrup, and vanilla. Stir until a nice crumble forms, and the mixture begins to clump together.
- Assemble the Bars. Set aside one cup of the crust mixture, and press the rest of the crust mixture into your baking dish to make an even layer. Stir the cranberry filling again, and scrape it into the baking dish on top of the crust. Spread it out evenly. Finally, sprinkle the reserved crust mixture over the top, and press it down gently into the cranberries.
- Bake! Bake until the crumble topping is lightly browned, about 40 minutes.
- Cool, Cut, and Enjoy. Place the baking dish on a wire rack, and let the bars cool for 15 minutes. Then lift the long sides of the parchment to take the bars out of the dish, and place them on a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut into 15 bars. Cool completely, and sprinkle with powdered sugar or monk fruit sugar before serving (if desired).
Recipe Notes and Variations
So there you have it: simple cranberry bars with a killer crumble topping. They’re basically irresistible! But before you start baking, be sure to check out these easy tips for success.
- Cranberry Options: You can substitute frozen cranberries in this recipe if you like. Toss them in directly from frozen.
- Blueberry Bars: Blueberries can be used instead of cranberries, for a scrumptious blueberry bar that’s perfect for breakfast. Add a generous squeeze of lemon juice to imitate the tartness of the cranberries.
- Add Crunch: For a bit of crunch, sprinkle the top of the bars with slivered almonds.
How to Store and Freeze
These cranberry bars will keep covered for two days at room temperature. For longer storage:
- Refrigerate the bars for up to one week, in a zip-top bag or airtight container.
- Freeze these cranberry bars for up to three months. I recommend packing them into an airtight container between pieces of parchment or wax paper, to prevent sticking.
Gluten Free Cranberry Bars
For the Filling:
- 2 cups cranberries
- Zest and juice of 1/2 orange
- 6 tablespoons coconut sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoons arrowroot flour or tapioca flour
- 2 teaspoons almond extract
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the Crust/Topping Mix:
- 1 1/2 cups packed fine almond flour do not use almond meal
- 1 1/2 cups oat flour
- ¾ cup oats
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Zest of ½ orange
- 1/2 cup melted and cooled salted butter or ½ cup melted coconut oil
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons of powdered sugar or monk fruit sugar
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, letting some overhang on the long sides.
- Combine cranberries, orange zest, orange juice, 6 tablespoons coconut sugar, arrowroot flour, almond extract, and cinnamon in a small bowl; stir well. Set aside.
- Whisk almond flour, oat flour, oats, salt, nutmeg, and orange zest together in a large bowl. Add in the melted butter, pure maple syrup, and vanilla extract and stir until a nice crumble forms and mixture begins to clump together.
- Reserve 1 cup of the mixture for the topping and set aside. Use your hands to evenly press the remaining dough into the bottom of the pan to form the crust.
- To assemble and bake: Give the cranberry mixture a quick stir, then pour it over the crust, spreading evenly. Sprinkle the reserved crust mixture on top. Pressing crumble gently into cranberries.
- Bake until the top is lightly browned, about 40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let the bars cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Lift the long sides of the parchment to remove and place on a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut into 15 bars. Cool completely. Garnish with powdered sugar or Monk Fruit sugar before serving, if desired.