As soon as cranberries hit the grocery store shelves, I’m in full holiday mode! Truly, cranberry season is the best season, in my opinion.
Now, I know cranberries have gotten a bad reputation – mainly due to the monstrosity of canned cranberry sauce. Do not let canned cranberry sauce trick you into disliking cranberries.
To prove how delicious cranberries are, I created this Paleo cranberry bars recipe. And let me tell you, it’s one of my favorite recipes I’ve ever made.
It’s just sweet enough but not enough to overpower the deliciously tart cranberries. And it’s incredibly easy to make.
So, grab a bag of cranberries as well as a few easy-to-find ingredients and make these Paleo cranberry bars today!
How I Made This Paleo
What I love best about this recipe (other than the taste, of course) is that the Paleo version tastes better than the traditional version.
Instead of traditional wheat flour, I used almond flour to create the crust and crumble topping. Almond flour is delicious in this recipe because it gives the bars a slightly nutty flavor that traditional wheat flour doesn’t have.
I used melted coconut oil instead of the mechanically-processed shortening because it is widely considered to be a healthy natural fat.
Coconut oil comes in two varieties: refined and unrefined (or virgin) coconut oil. I tend to use refined coconut oil when I bake because it has a much more mild coconut flavor than unrefined. However, it is completely up to you which one you use.
I used maple syrup instead of traditional table sugar because it is a natural sweetener. And it has a rich taste that adds a depth of flavor to the crust and crumble.
For the filling, you can use fresh or frozen cranberries. However, if you use fresh, be sure to rinse them very well before cooking.
I decided to use coconut sugar, which is similar to traditional brown sugar, to give the filling a rich flavor. You could use maple syrup, but the bars will have a pronounced maple-flavor since it is used in the crust and crumble as well.
I used orange zest in the recipe since it has a much better flavor than orange extract. After I zested the orange, I added the juice, about 1/4 cup (60 ml), to give the filling even more delicious citrus flavor.
Honestly, I used a cinnamon stick because that was all I had in my pantry. But you can use a 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon powder instead.
And a helpful tip, be sure to let it come to room temperature before slicing into bars so the filling will have time to set. As you can see from the photos, I couldn’t resist cutting (and eating) them while they were still warm.
Other Paleo Dessert Recipes
If this Paleo cranberry bars recipe has you hungry for more Paleo dessert recipes, then you are in luck.
From lemon poppy seed loaf to apple cinnamon coffee cake, we have your fruity Paleo dessert needs covered.
And if you need non-dairy recipes, check out my pumpkin cheesecake bars and my raspberry swirl ice cream just to name a few of my Paleo dairy-free dessert recipes.
But don’t worry, I have tons of cookie recipes and brownie recipes as well.
And definitely check out my Paleo Champagne Celebration Cupcakes to help you to celebrate any special occasion!
Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C). Line an 8-inch (20 cm) square baking dish with parchment paper with the paper overhanging on the sides. Set aside until ready to use.
Add the fresh or frozen cranberries, coconut sugar, orange juice, orange zest, cinnamon stick and a pinch of salt to a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
Lower the heat and simmer for 7 to 9 minutes, using a fork to burst the cranberries, until the sauce is thick and jam-like. If needed, dissolve the tapioca flour with the water until smooth. Add the tapioca slurry to the filling, stirring constantly, until thick to your liking. Discard the cinnamon stick and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, make the crust by combining the almond flour, melted coconut oil, maple syrup and salt to form a crumbly dough. Reserve 1/2 cup (100 g) of the dough to use as the crumble topping and refrigerate until ready to use.
Place the remaining dough into the prepared baking dish to press to make an even layer. Use a fork to prick the dough several times.
Place the baking pan in the oven and prebake the crust for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the crust cool for 5 minutes.
Evenly spread the cranberry filling over the crust and crumble the reserved dough over the filling.
Return the baking pan to the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the crumble topping is golden brown. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes. (The cranberry filling will become firm as it cools.)
Remove from the baking pan and slice into 9 bars before serving. Refrigerate leftovers in a sealed container for 2 to 3 days.
All nutritional data are estimated and based on per serving amounts.