Cranberry Bars are like date squares for Christmas! A little bit of tartness sandwiched between two soft, crumbly, buttery layers of oatmeal keeps us going back for more!
These cranberry crumb bars, or squares as we call them in Canada, have dried apricots added to the filling for sweetness and variety. They are made healthy with oatmeal, coconut, and reduced sugar content.
What You'll Need
- Cranberries - Use either fresh or frozen cranberries.
- Apricots - Dried apricots provide sweetness while also contributing fibre. I like to use unsulphured apricots when I can find them. Sulphur dioxide is often added to dried fruits to preserve their bright colours, and doesn't always appear on the label. Unsulphured apricots are darker in colour.
- Oats and Oat Flour - If you need to eat gluten free, it's important that you use only certified-gluten-free oats and oat flour. If the packaging doesn't say that they're gluten free, they're not. Read more about that on my Start Here page.
- Raw Sugar - Raw cane sugar is an unprocessed sugar that tastes much like the refined sugar most people are used to.
How to Make Cranberry Bars
Start off by cooking your filling in a pot on the stovetop. Preheat the oven and take out a baking pan.
While the filling is simmering, assemble the dry ingredients.
Whisk the dry ingredients together.
Butter is easier to "cut in" if you cut it into chunks first.
You can "cut in" butter with two knives, but it's much easier to do it with a pastry blender. When you've placed chunks of butter on top of the combined dry ingredients, simply cut through the whole works repeatedly until the butter is dispersed throughout in little balls no larger than peas.
Press half of this crumb mixture into a baking pan.
Spread the filling over it.
Cover that with the remaining crumb mixture.
Bake it all in the oven.
Cut into bars once the pan has cooled.
Recipe FAQ's and Tips
Frozen cranberries can be used instead of fresh. The only difference will be the time it takes to make the filling. Frozen cranberries will take just a little longer to come up to a boil than will fresh ones. The difference is only a minute or two.
More Gluten Free Holiday Desserts
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- 1 ½ cups (135 g) oat flour certified gluten free, if necessary
- 1 cup (90 g) quick-cooking oats certified gluten free, if necessary
- ½ cup (50 g) desiccated coconut
- ½ cup (110 g) raw cane sugar
- 1 teaspoon (4 g) baking powder certified gluten free, if necessary
- ½ teaspoon (2.5 g) fine sea salt
- ¾ cup (170 g) butter
- Combine cranberries, apricots, first amount of sugar (½ cup), and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to simmer. Simmer until apricots are soft and cranberries have split, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350° F (177° C).
- Whisk the dry ingredients (flour, oats, coconut, second amount of sugar, baking powder, and salt) together in a mixing bowl.
- Add the butter cut into chunks.
- Cut in the the butter with a pastry blender or two knives until it is worked through in pieces about the size of peas.
- Pour half of the dry pastry mixture into an 9- X 13-inch (23 cm X 33 cm) cake pan. Press it down firmly all over with a flat spatula.
- Spread the cranberry-apricot filling over it. The pastry will absorb any excess water.
- Spoon the remaining pastry mixture over the filling, and press down firmly all over.
- Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.
- Cool and cut into squares to serve.
- Store cranberry bars covered in the refrigerator.
- They also freeze well in an airtight container.