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Cranberry Bars

gluten free cranberry bars

These tart and tangy Cranberry Bars are one of my favorite treats.  I’ve been craving cranberries lately and this gluten free dessert more than hits the spot when it comes to mouth puckering goodness.

I first made these Cranberry Bars as a tart.  That was before Robyn and her children came over to have an afternoon of baking with us last week; she suggested making this as a bar, so it would more readily make an on-the-go type snack.  Robyn is an absolute genius on so many levels.

With a protein packed pecan crust and anti-oxidant rich cranberry topping this tangy treat is good for Christmas parties, Thanksgiving dessert, your child’s lunch or an on the run bite.

Cranberry Barsprint
1 cup raw pecans
5 dates, pitted
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil or palm shortening
¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt
6 cups fresh cranberries, picked over (discard bad ones)
1 cup agave nectar or honey
1 tablespoon orange zest

  1. Place pecans and dates in a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground
  2. Pulse in oil and salt until mixture begins to form a ball
  3. Press crust into a greased 8 x 8 inch baking dish
  4. Bake at 350° for 8-12 minutes until lightly browned
  5. To make cranberry topping, place 4 cups cranberries, agave and orange zest in a pot on the stove
  6. Bring mixture to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer 10-15 minutes, until cranberries start to dissolve
  7. Add remaining 2 cups cranberries and cook covered for 5 more minutes
  8. Remove mixture from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes
  9. Pour mixture over pecan crust
  10. Allow bars to set in refrigerator for 60-90 minutes
  11. Serve

Makes 16 bars

After further testing, the texture of this recipe can be best described as more of a crumble than a bar. Same healthy ingredients and delicious taste –you just might want to have a fork and extra napkins handy.

Have fun with this versatile delicious gluten free dessert that has fall written all over it.

I was so happy to be asked by blogs.com to list 10 Gluten Free Blogs.  Of course, this was far from an easy decision.  If you are a gluten free blogger and I did not mention you, please leave a comment below with a link to your site so that we can all check out your gluten free offerings.

Coincidentally, the lovely Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen also created a list of gluten free blogs for blogher.com.  Kalyn’s list is excellent and, like everything she does, it is well researched and very detailed.

We are buried in snow here today and school was canceled –it’s been snowing for 20 hours straight and we have accumulated feet, not inches.  I’ve been cozying up with my gluten free cookbook (The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook) for a good part of the day baking cookies while the boys build snow caves and sled down our street.  Feels like Christmas is here already!


posted on October 28, 2009, 39 comments

  1. Mmm, these look wonderful! I love bars for their versatility & these ones definitely fit the bill =D.

  2. im a BIG cranberry fan–thanks for this!

  3. Marian

    These look wonderful. This will be my first holiday season baking and cooking low glycemic and gluten free – so I really appreciate how easy you’re making it for me! Thanks for all your ideas and yummy recipes.

  4. Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet @ thenourishinggourmet.com

    I love how simple this recipe is! And it looks so delicious too. Perfect for the holidays.

  5. Sarah

    I’m a gluten-free, fish and seafood free blogger that loves cooking and being a young professional. Check it out at: sarahglauben.blogspot.com
    Elana, your blog is inspiring and I always enjoy seeing what delicious foods you make!

  6. Linda Simon @ blog.kitchentherapy.us

    Cranberries are perfect for winter too. And to make a smiling red mouth on a snowman.

  7. Oh my, those bars look HEAVENLY!! Cranberry sauce in a handheld form :)

    Hang in there with all the snow!!

  8. Ooh, I love cranberries, and this sounds lovely – especially when you add pecans! And wow – I’ve watched the news and have heard about all your snow, I bet it’s crazy! We’re about to get hit with the same storm (here in Dallas), but of course, for us, it’ll just mean crazy amounts of rain and cooler temps.

  9. christie, honoring health @ honormyhealth.com

    That looks like a beautiful treat for thanksgiving! Yum!

  10. Andrea

    Not only have I discovered a lovely snack recipe but a wonderful crust-substitution for all my old cheesecake recipes. Nut crusts instead of cookie-based crusts… I love it!

  11. Katie

    This looks amazing–I have a few pounds of fresh cranberries and will definitely be making this for the Halloween parties I’m attending this weekend. One question: do you allow the bars to set at room temperature or do you refrigerate them?

    Thank you so much for your wonderful recipes!

  12. Hänni @ hannihaus.com

    If those taste anywhere near as good as they look, well I might eat the whole pan myself!

    I never know how to use up a bag of fresh cranberries. Thanks for inspiration!

  13. Merav

    These look AMAZING!!! Can’t wait to try them!

  14. Sophie

    so fantastic! i can’t wait to get fresh cranberries at work and try these out!!

  15. Meghan (Making Love In The Kitchen @ meghantelpnerblog.com

    Going to make this tonight for my family! Better they snack on this than the mini candy bars. Thinking I may drizzle it in some chocolate too.

  16. Julia

    These were a huge hit at my house. I easily could have halved the cranberries to make it less expensive (I used organic) and it still would have been delightful. I kept them at room temperature– they were best the next day after setting all night. I also used 3/4 c. honey instead of agave b/c I didn’t have any agave on hand– turned out great. Thanks for this recipe, definitely a keeper! I think I’ll try it with other fruits too!

  17. Julie

    I just made these and the crust was delicious, the cranberries delightfully tangy. But there is WAY WAY WAY too much cran and way too little crust. If I make these again I’ll triple the crust and halve the cran. I’m gonna go find some gluten free bread or crackers to spread this extra cranberry filling onto…

  18. Julia

    Julie, I agree with you about proportions. But I recently tried doubling the crust and it didn’t come out so well– not firm enough. I think next time I will not double the oil and see if that helps. Also, I made one of these with a pear-blueberry-lemon sauce instead of cranberries. It was definitely lacking something not being tart and tangy!

  19. ~M

    Does anyone know whether this works with frozen cranberries? I still have a bunch left from last year!

  20. Lydia

    Really great, I did find the crust a little too salty when i first made this, so i added in a touch (literally a tiny drizzle) of agave. I found this in the pie crust recipe too, maybe i need to make sure that i’m not putting in heaping 1/4 teaspoons or whatever.
    This recipe is super delicious though. Made it for Thanksgiving and it was a hit. I love the combination of the more and less cooked cranberries, always the best way to go, so that you get those little “pops” exploding cranberries in your mouth!

  21. Chelle WEbb

    May I repost this on our Cranberry Facebook page?
    Looks wonderful and my daughter just happens to be on a Gluten Free diet also!

  22. Saundra

    Is there an alternative for dates in this recipe? I keep seeing dates used in recipes, probably as a sweetener (?), however I don’t like dates. So I’ve avoided several recipes which call for them. Just curious what you might suggest for an alternative. BTW, I am fairly new to your blog and have enjoyed several recipes here. Thanks so much for your hard work and sharing.

  23. Thank you for this awesome recipe. We are making these (again!) for the holidays! xoxo

  24. Debbie

    My family loved this recipe. I made a half-batch as a test since my family tends to be picky and I “have to” eat what they won’t. They thought it was divine, so I made a full batch for Thanksgiving and used the leftover filling as cranberry sauce. My husband was ecstatic! Thanks so much!

  25. chicky

    hi, am in the UK and it’s not so easy to get fresh cranberries here and the dried are expensive.

    so i have maybe one cup of dried. how would you all change the recipe to use these instead of fresh…?? ideas welcome! x

  26. Chrissy

    Your day sounds sooo lovely! Like heaven! Enjoy your snow day!!! And these bars look AMAZING! Thank you!

  27. Alissa Dirks

    Can’t wait to try these out.. they look delish and super simple to make!

  28. michelle

    Just made these tonight for tomorrow’s dessert table. I didn’t buy enough cranberries, so I reduced it to 4 cups and they turned out great!!! Oh and I also substituted the agave for honey and reduced the amount of honey to 3/4 cup. Happy “paleo” Thanksgiving.

  29. Carrie

    Do you think these could be done with blueberries?

  30. Jen

    Fab recipe! I just don’t have access to fresh cranberries, I too would like to know how to use dried, or perhaps a substitute :-)

  31. Jen

    Hi Elana,

    I saw on facebook you are leaving out the agave. Are you using anything in replace of this? Id love to try them this Thanksgiving as I am trying to add more healthy options to the menu :)

    Happy thanksgiving

  32. ~M

    For step 10, allowing everything to set, is that to take place on the counter or in the fridge? Thanks!

    I’d also love to see you make this recipe paleo before winter is over!

  33. I had a lot of trouble with this recipe. There was way too much cranberry and not enough crust. Plus the cost of the cranberries came to about $20.
    I’m going to do over with doubling the crust (except oil) and halving the cranberries (and honey, not zest though).

  34. Joan Funk

    These sound great, but might be better with a thin layer of cheesecake batter baked on top of the crust, with the cranberry layer on top.

    Just my thoughts. I am making these this way and then my way too, just for giggles.

    **HUGS**

  35. Tiffany Dalton @ glutenfreewithtiffany.com

    Sharing my gluten free blog with you!

    http://www.glutenfreewithtiffany.com

    Elena, you’re an inspiration to all of us gluten free fans and bloggers,

    Love,
    Tiffany

  36. Bradley @ Bradleylenz.com

    Nice! Wrt the protein, I added hemp hearts after the crust came out if the oven, before the cranberry went on.
    Also I didn’t add the extra 2 cups of cranberry, but threw in 1 cup of coconut flakes.

  37. Abigail (Mamatouille) @ mamatouille.com

    Made these today and added a peeled and grated apple, ginger, and cinnamon. Thank you for the recipe! So yum.

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