Cranberry Bars are like date squares for Christmas! They're a little bit of tartness sandwiched between two soft, crumbly, layers of oatmeal. We keep going back for more!
What can you use cranberries for?
I've been on a bit of a cranberry kick lately. I love the fresh taste and bright pop of colour they add to holiday dishes. To accompany a roast turkey or chicken, I enjoy simple Cranberry Sauce or Cranberry Sauce with Mango. Dried cranberries are nice on this Festive Cranberry Salad with Chicken and Pecans. For a dessert plate, Cranberry Almond Biscotti or these Cranberry Bars are a hit.
Cranberry Crumb Bars with Apricots
These cranberry crumb bars, or squares as we call them in Canada, have dried apricots added to the filling for sweetness and variety. 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. I find that when I eat sulphured apricots in large amounts, they upset my stomach.
Can I bake with fresh cranberries?
Yes, you can bake these tasty squares with either fresh or frozen cranberries. 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 fresh ones will. The difference is only a minute or two.
Gluten Free Oats
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.
Cranberry Bars Recipe
How to Make Cranberry Bars
Start off with 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.
Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter. Butter can be "cut in" with two knives, but this is much more easily done 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 the 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 up lovely bars when it has cooled.
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- Combine cranberries, apricots, first amount of sugar, 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. Combine oat flour, oatmeal, coconut, second amount of sugar, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl.
- Whisk the dry ingredients together.
- 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 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.