For a sophisticated twist on the humble crumb bar, you must try these cranberry pecan crumb bars. Maple syrup and a splash of brandy soften the edge of the cranberries, resulting in a balanced, jammy filling. Brown butter elevates the crust and crumbs to dessert nirvana as it always does, and toasted pecans lend the topping a buttery crunch.
Serve a platter of these beauties at your next holiday gathering or simply enjoy them yourself next to a cozy fire (though beware, the stray crumbs may give you away!).
Crust & Crumbs
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and halved
- 2 1/2 cups fresh cranberries, divided
- 1/2 cup grated apple
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp brandy
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1 1/2 Tbsp water
- Cook butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until it foams, turns clear, and then turns a deep brown, about 6 minutes. Pour into a glass measuring cup and chill in the freezer until solid, about 45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with parchment paper. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Dice and sprinkle solidified brown butter over flour mixture and use a pastry cutter to cut in evenly until mixture resembles coarse meal. Fold in egg until combined. Reserve 1 cup of dough for topping; press remaining dough evenly into bottom of prepared baking dish. Bake for 17 to 18 minutes, until crust is lightly golden; cool on a wire rack.
- For the filling, combine 2 cups cranberries, grated apple, sugar, maple syrup, brandy, and salt in a heavy saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until cranberries begin to split open. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Whisk cornstarch and water together in a small bowl; stir into cranberry mixture and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat and fold in remaining 1/2 cup cranberries. Spread mixture in an even layer over crust.
- Sprinkle with remaining topping and pecans; bake for 25 to 27 minutes, or until golden and filling is bubbling. Cool completely in baking dish on a wire rack. Just before cutting, chill in the freezer for 15 minutes. Carefully lift parchment to remove bars from pan and place on a cutting board; cut into squares with a sharp knife.
Inspired by Fine Cooking
- Calories: 190