Paleo Cranberry Crumb Bars
These Paleo Cranberry Crumb Bars use leftover cranberry sauce to make an irresistible gluten-free, refined sugar-free, and vegan dessert. The crumb mixture doubles as the crust and crumb topping.
Happy day-after-Thanksgiving! Hope all of you had an amazing day full of family, love, and especially food. As much as I love to spend my time baking and cooking, even intricate, time consuming desserts and (occasionally) meals, I’m always amazed by how quickly something that I spent hours and hours on can be eaten. Hours of work, disappeared into people’s mouths.
We spend even more time prepping for Thanksgiving, because besides just the actual cooking and baking that goes on, we have to spend a whole bunch of time planning out the meal, coordinating with family, grocery shopping, and getting everything else in order for the big day.
Thankfully, on Thanksgiving, there is usually soooo much food that we’re all inundated with leftovers. This is great, because it means you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor time and time again. I’m all for the day-after-Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches, but I always want to do something a bit different with my leftovers.
Naturally, after I made this Paleo Cranberry Sauce in prep for Thanksgiving, I had to bake it into something. The first thing that came to mind was the Peanut Butter & Jelly Crumb Bars (GF + Vegan) I made earlier this year. I adjusted the recipe a bit to get rid of the oats, and replaced the peanut butter and jelly filling with my homemade cranberry sauce.
The resulting recipe is everything I hoped it would be – a crispy, crumbly crust, that’s just sweetened enough to balance out the tart cranberry sauce. Because I used a homemade cranberry sauce that was chunky and full of orange zest and spices, the filling had tons of texture and flavor.
The crust uses a mix of almond flour and coconut flour – the coconut flour is important because it helps hold the bars together. To sweeten, I used a combination of coconut sugar and maple syrup. The maple syrup is needed to bind and sweeten, but too much and the dough would be sticky. It did need more sweetness to balance out the tart cranberry sauce though, so I added coconut sugar as well. The result is the perfect balance of sweet and tart. If you have a sweeter cranberry sauce and want to cut back on one of the sweeteners, I would cut down on the coconut sugar, not the maple syrup, as it’s needed to help hold the crust together.
I know you’ve been staring at the bowl of cranberry sauce in your fridge, and now you can enjoy the slightly more guilt-free treat post-Thanksgiving. Enjoy, and hope you all had a very wonderful and happy Thanksgiving! :)
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Paleo Cranberry Crumb Bars
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 55 minutes
- Yield: 16 bars 1x
- Category: Dessert
- 1¾ (7 oz.) cups almond flour
- 1 tablespoon coconut flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ cup coconut sugar
- ½ cup coconut oil (solid at room temperature)
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ½ cup cranberry sauce*
- Optional: ¼ cup chopped walnuts
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8-inch pan with parchment paper or foil and grease lightly.
- In large bowl, combine the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and coconut sugar. Whisk to combine. Add the coconut oil and using a pastry cutter or two forks, work the coconut oil into the dry ingredients until the coconut oil is in little bits. Add the maple syrup and toss to combine until the mixture stick together.
- Reserve 3/4 cup of crumb mixture for the topping. Press remaining crumb mixture evenly into the bottom of greased pan. Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes.
- Remove partially baked crust from the oven. Spread cranberry sauce over the crust. Top with remaining crumb mixture and if desired, chopped walnuts.
- Return to oven and bake for another 25-30 minutes or until bubbling and lightly browned. Let cool completely before cutting into 16 squares.
*Make sure the cranberry sauce is refined sugar free to keep the bars refined sugar free and Paleo-friendly.
I’m all about using up those leftovers….especially when it turns into a dessert! These bars look very yummy!
Right?! Thanks so much, Kathy! :)
When one of my doctors mentioned paleo years ago, I didn’t think there would be such great recipes – this one looks fab!! Thanks for sharing. :-)
So true! I am always amazed that a meal I spend hours on is demolished in just a few minutes. This is such a great way to use leftover cranberry sauce! I love that it is naturally sweetened.
I love cranberry desserts. For so long it seemed like the only time you ever saw cranberries was in cranberry sauce. And cranberries need more love. These bars look amazing. I love how you use coconut flour and almond flour. Yum!
Woah, these look AMAZING. I love experimenting with paleo recipes for baking. Sometimes it takes a couple tries, but when you finally nail the recipe, it is so worth the wait! Pinned!
I so agree – it’s so worth it! Thanks, Ashley.
Isn’t it crazy how fast the food is devoured on Thanksgiving? You’re so right — hours of work are gone in a snap. haha These cranberry bars would be gone just as fast — they look just amazing, Rachel, and I can’t get enough cranberries right now!
Such an ideal way to use up left over Thanksgiving food, and these bars look absolutely perfect for sitting down with a cup of coffee.. love all the chunky cranberry sauce packed in there! <3
We must be on the same culinary wavelength or something! I made cranberry jam bars last weekend! But my were most definitely not vegan or gluten free! These look fabulous and I can’t wait to try them! (And eat twice as many because they are *obviously* way healthier than mine! ;) )
Haha! Love it :) great minds think alike! Wish we could share!!
This cranberry dessert is fantastic. I have to make it myself!
Oh my gosh! Stop! This looks amazing :) SO delicious and healthy!! I adore this recipe!! <3 Thanks for sharing!
These bars are absolutely gorgeous, Rachel! I love that I can use my leftover cranberry sauce in these bars. And that crumb topping is just calling my name! Yum!
I’m so glad you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, Rachel! These cranberry crumb bars are SO pretty! This has to be the best way to use up leftover cranberry sauce!! Gimme Gimme! Cheers, my dear!
Ohh these look really interesting! I love recipes where you get great taste, great texture and that look bright and colourful like this too.
The recipe says 1/4 maple syrup. 1/4 what? 1/4 cup?
Yes, 1/4 cup! Thanks for catching that – it’s fixed now.
These bars are amazing and you should win an award.
I’m so happy you loved them, Kate!
Am making a batch tonite! & am i reading correctly, that one can skip the Coco sugar? Finally, How long do they keep for? Thanks again for the recipe!
Hi Andrea, I’d only recommend skipping the coconut sugar if your cranberry sauce is on the sweet side. If it’s tart, you’ll want the sweetness to balance it out. They’ll keep in the fridge for 4-5 days. Enjoy! :)
Hi- do you think I could sub pecan or walnut flour for almond? :)
Yes, either should work as long as it’s a fine flour :) enjoy!
I can’t use ANY oil.
Any sub for that coconut oil??
You could try using coconut butter!
These turned out so good! I didn’t have enough coconut oil so just used grass fed butter and they were perfect. I’ve been eating them for breakfast every morning with coffee. Totally worth it!
I made these bars today. I found them really tastey! I’d made another bloggers’ recipe that was coconut flour based and the almond flour went over much better, IMHO. I did find the result to come out quite crumbly, however. I ended up serving it over vanilla ice cream like a crumble. I was wondering if adding an egg to the recipe with the maple syrup would help this? I found the base was hard and stuck together well in some parts of the pan, but other parts it just crumbled apart and didn’t hold together at all. Not sure if anyone else found this. Would make again but if you get this comment and have an opinion about the egg, would love to hear it!
Hi Aja, an egg might help hold things together! That’s odd that some parts were firm and others weren’t. These definitely hold better together after being refrigerated!
Just made these today and we really like them. I did not have leftover cranberry sauce so I made yours just for the occasion. I haven’t tried them chilled yet but at room temp they are almost the consistency of a blonde. I’m wondering if they would work with less oil? Mostly because I want to eat the whole pan. Bonus is that I have cranberry sauce ready for Thanksgiving!
So glad you’re enjoying them, Heather! You could probably cut back the oil to 1/3 cup without any issues :) thanks for the feedback!
Refined or unrefined coconut oil?
Either is fine! If you don’t want coconut flavor, use refined.
Your bars sound so yummy! I am allergic to nuts. Is there any other type of GL flour I can use in this recipe?
Hi Paula, oat flour should work well!
I’m hesitant to include a star rating since I made so many mistakes while making these bars. First off, I accidentally doubled the sugar. Next, my cranberry sauce was straight from the refrigerator and very thick, so when I plopped it all in the middle I wasn’t able to get it to spread very much. So, I added a ton more cranberry sauce so that it was spread evenly — although much thicker than intended — to the edges. Even with all of my errors, however, they’re still really tasty. They look a bit wonky and are way sweeter than I’m used to, but I’m not going to get sick of them. I can’t have citrus, so my cranberry sauce was strictly cranberries, coconut sugar and water, so I felt as though it would need a bit more flavor, so I added a bit of cardamom, clove and ginger to the dough, which I though was rather nice. If I have left over cranberry sauce next year, I’ll try it again — but maybe pay a little more attention next time.
Thanks for the explanation, Daryl – sorry you had some issues, but I’m glad you were able to make it work and are enjoying them! Thanks for sharing your feedback.
Isit possible to remove maple syrup from the recipe? and can i use dried cranberries instead or make my own raspberry sauce to include in the recipe?
Hi Michelle, I wouldn’t recommend dried cranberries here, but you could use a different sauce in place of the cranberry sauce. I wouldn’t recommend getting rid of the maple syrup, as it helps hold the crust together in this recipe. If you wanted to reduce sugar, you can leave out the coconut sugar.
I really enjoyed the taste of this, but my crust basically fell apart. It just didn’t get “crumbly” in the step where you add coconut oil. Was I supposed to melt it first?
I also used cassava flour which could have made a difference! My son is sensitive to almonds.
I’ll make this again and try adding more coconut oil until it is stickier. Thank you!
Hi Mia, the cassava flour is definitely the culprit here! It’s much more absorbent than almond flour, so you’d need a lot more coconut oil to get it to stick together.