Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Naturally Sweetened Cranberry-Oatmeal Crumble Bars

Wow, time is flying by and it is almost time for my family to go back to Honduras. We've been so blessed during our time here, but we are ready to be back in our home & routine  :o)

There are many things l enjoy while being in the states during the late summer and early fall... catching up with family & friends, eating ripe tomatoes picked fresh out of the garden, apples coming into season, nice long conversations with my hubby while on the road, exploring new things with my kids, enjoying the amazing variety of pumpkin & squash, watching the leaves change colors and baking yummy desserts with cranberries, apples & pumpkin.

Which brings me to my Cranberry-Oatmeal Crumble Bars...

While we were on the road back in September I saw that my friend, Diana from Spain in Iowa, posted some yummy looking Oatmeal Jam Bars that are much like my crumble bars. 

Inspired by her recipe, I changed the sweetener in my crumble bars from raw sugar (rapadura/sucanat) to honey and pure maple syrup. I must say I will never use raw sugar again! I just love how the raw honey & maple syrup blended nicely with the oats, flour & fruit... bringing out the natural sweetness of the oats and complimenting the flavor of the fruit.

These crumble bars are simple & quick to make... which makes them a fantastic "last-minute" dessert for any occasion! Over the years I've made them with blueberries, rhubarb (which is actually a veggie), cherries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, apples, mangoes... here I am using cranberries for the first time and love it!

The vibrate red color and wonderful tangy flavors will sure be a hit at any potluck or Thanksgiving meal!

 Naturally Sweetened Cranberry-Oatmeal Crumble Bars

Crust & Crumble:
2 cups whole white wheat flour
2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup butter and/or coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup raw honey
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350F and butter a 9x13 baking pan.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, oats, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Add in the butter and/or coconut oil, honey, maple syrup & vanilla. mix together until well combined. Scoop about half or more into the prepared baking pan and press the mixture down firmly. Set aside the rest for the crumble topping.

Cranberry Filling:
4 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
1/3 - 1/2 cup raw honey (can add more if you want it sweeter)
2 Tbsp arrowroot powder or non-gmo cornstarch
heavy pinch of sea salt

In a medium pot, pour in honey, arrowroot powder and salt. Stir until combined. Add in cranberries and turn heat on medium low. Mix together the honey and cranberries until well coated. Cook for 2-3 minutes and turn off heat. Spread cranberries over the crust and sprinkle evenly the remaining mixture over the cranberries.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. The top should be golden brown when done. Allow it to cool for 10 minutes (if you can wait that long!) and enjoy with some fresh whipped cream or ice cream.

These bars can be kept at room-temp in a sealed container for up to a week... not that they will last that long anyway! Enjoy  :o)

I would love to find a way to properly prepare the grains by soaking or using sourdough somehow. I bet using sprouted flour would work great!

Any thoughts on how to make these beautiful bars even more nutritious? What fruits would you use to make these crumble bars?

Shared at Simple Lives ThursdayReal Food Wednesday


  1. Sounds delicious and I think I will try them, easy to make Gluten Free for my family and there are no nuts which works for my nephew, so I am going to add these to my T-day meal plan. I bet they would be good with a bit of orange zest/juice in the cranberry mixture too. Although I have a son allergic to oranges, but I love the combo of cranberry orange.

    I love your blog and your new baby is adorable. God Bless you and your family and safe travels back to Honduras

    1. Yes, you can totally do this gluten-free! Yeah, I like orange zest with my cranberries, but didn't have any on hand... next time hopefully! Hope your family enjoys this as much as we do :o)

  2. So you don't prebake the crust before adding on the topping, right?
    These look awesome - I am going to make them for my Thanksgiving gathering :-)
    Thanks Mare!

  3. seems tasty, what about trying to add it to community, they will love it

  4. These are absolutely delicious!:) Thank you so much for posting up this recipe!:) I've made them twice before, and as i'm typing right now i have another batch baking in the oven:) God bless you & your family!

    1. So glad you are enjoying them Lorina! Thank you for sharing your comment :)

  5. I love these! So far I've tried raspberry, nectarine, and blueberry. They are all tasty, but the raspberry might be my favorite. I've cut back on the sweeteners a bit, since cranberries are more tart than the fruits I've used, and I added nutmeg to one or two of them. Also, we served lemon curd on the blueberry bars. Thank you for such a yummy, versatile recipe.

    1. Wonderful! I love these bars too... In fact, I should make these with all the rhubarb that my dad froze for me! And lemon curd... be still my heart!


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