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! :)
Remember to #bakerita if you try the recipe!
Paleo Cranberry Crumb Bars
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8x8-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.