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Cranberry crumb bars are absolutely irresistible down to the last crumb! I’m all about a layered bar with plenty of buttery crumbs, and these beautiful cranberry bars deliver. With a brown butter crust, jammy cranberry layer, and golden crumb topping, I can’t get enough of these bars!

Cranberry Crumb Bars
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The Best Cranberry Crumb Bars

Crust and crumbs – The brown butter dough acts as both the crust and crumb topping. To make the dough, melt butter in a heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until it foams, turns clear, and then turns a deep brown.

Pour brown butter into a large mixing bowl and stir in sugars and almond extract. Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl, then add to the large mixing bowl and fold in until completely incorporated.

Set aside 3/4 cup dough (to use as the crumble topping); press the remaining dough in the bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan and bake until golden and set, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes.

Cranberry filling – The jammy cranberry filling comes together quickly on the stovetop. Combine fresh or frozen cranberries with sugar, Amaretto, water, and salt. Cook until the cranberries begin to split open. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add arrowroot starch and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes more.

Assemble the bars – Spread cranberry filling in an even layer over the crust (you can also substitute about 1 1/3 cups leftover cranberry sauce). Crumble the reserved dough over the cranberry filling, and return the bars to the oven. Continue baking until the topping is golden and the filling is slightly bubbly, another 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting into bars.

Serve the bars – Dust with powdered sugar or top with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream for even more indulgence. Enjoy!

Cranberry Crumb Bars
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Cranberry Crumb Bars

Cranberry Crumb Bars

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 4 reviews
  • Author: Laura Kasavan
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 12 to 16 bars
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American
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Description

Cranberry crumb bars are absolutely irresistible down to the last crumb! You’ll love these easy and delicious brown butter cranberry bars!


Ingredients

Crust & Crumbs

  • 14 Tbsp (196 g) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
  • 1/4 cup (55 g) light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp (4 g) almond extract
  • 2 cups (250 g) flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 g) baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (28 g) sliced almonds
  • 1 Tbsp (15 g) ice water

Filling

  • 2 cups (220 g) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp (45 g) Amaretto
  • 2 Tbsp (30 grams) water
  • 1 tsp (3 g) arrowroot starch (or cornstarch)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Cook butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until it foams, turns clear, and then turns a medium brown, about 5 minutes. Add brown butter to a large bowl and whisk in sugar, brown sugar, and almond extract until combined.
  3. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl; add to butter mixture and fold in until incorporated. Set aside 3/4 cup dough for the topping, mixing in sliced almonds and ice water until mixture is crumbly. Chill until ready to use.
  4. Press remaining dough evenly into bottom of prepared pan. Bake crust for 14 to 16 minutes, until lightly golden and set. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes.
  5. For the cranberry filling, combine cranberries, sugar, salt, Amaretto, and water 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. Add arrowroot starch and cook until thickened, about two minutes. Spread cranberry filling evenly over cooled crust and crumble reserved dough over cranberry layer.
  6. Bake for another 36 to 40 minutes, or until topping is golden and filling slightly bubbly. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Just before cutting, chill in the freezer for 15 minutes. Carefully lift parchment and place bars on a cutting board; cut into squares with a sharp knife.

Notes

Filling: In lieu of making your own filling, substitute 1 1/3 cups leftover cranberry sauce.

Amaretto: If you don’t want to use amaretto, you can sub in bourbon or just omit and flavor the filling with 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon of pure almond extract. If you use an extract for flavor instead of amaretto or bourbon, add 1-2 additional tablespoons of water so there’s enough liquid to bring the filling to a boil.

Cranberry Crumb Bars

More cranberry recipes you’ll love:

Cranberry Orange Bundt Cake
Cranberry White Chocolate Cakes
Cranberry Apple Hand Pies

Meet Laura

Hi, I'm Laura and I'm so happy you're here! Welcome to Tutti Dolci Baking Recipes, a baking blog celebrating all things sweet! I share approachable baking recipes and elevated classic desserts for every home baker. My goal is to inspire you to bake from scratch with kitchen-tested recipes you can count on.

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18 Comments

    1. Hi Lisa! You can sub in bourbon or just omit and flavor the filling with 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon of pure almond extract. I’d also add 1-2 additional tablespoons of water so there’s enough liquid to bring the filling to a boil.

  1. Such delicious bars! The cranberries bring a bright tartness to the classic sweet cookie base and crumble. These aren’t too sweet and you can really taste the cranberry.






    1. Hi Zach! You can sub in bourbon or just omit and flavor the filling with 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon of pure almond extract. I’d also add 1-2 additional tablespoons of water so there’s enough liquid to bring the filling to a boil.

    1. Hi Emily! Yes, you can omit the almonds and ice water from the topping. You can also substitute 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract for the almond extract. Happy baking!

  2. Just took these out of the oven..its is so good, so easy…. one of my favs…and go to in a pinch dessert and crowd pleaser.






  3. These bars are the perfect holiday treat. They are easy to make, they are not overly sweet, and their glorious ruby color will bring joy to any holiday table. Do yourself a favor and bake them right away!

  4. I have made these a number of times. Took them to friends this am. Big hit! Making them again tmrw for a pot luck thanksgiving feast. They will be gone in just a very few minutes. Guaranteed. Deeberrylicious!!

  5. Laura, I made these the other night…they were delicious…I stashed away cranberries when they were plentiful…and now I wish there were more….and also wish that I had saved some of these for my house! Thanks!