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Spiced cranberry bars recipe

Spiced cranberry bars recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Cake
  • Traybakes
  • Cake traybakes

A traybake showcasing fresh ruby-red cranberries, perfect for late autumn and to have to hand round Christmas.

274 people made this

IngredientsMakes: 1 20x30cm tin

  • 340g whole cranberries
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 175ml water
  • 520g sponge cake mix
  • 175g butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 80g porridge oats
  • 175g light brown soft sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

MethodPrep:30min ›Cook:40min ›Ready in:1hr10min

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the cranberries, caster sugar and water. Cook, stirring occasionally until all of the cranberries have popped and the mixture is thick, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the sponge cake mix, melted butter and eggs. Stir in the oats, dark brown soft sugar, ginger and cinnamon. Set aside about 185g of the mixture and spread the rest into the bottom of a 20x30cm baking tin. Pack down to form a solid base, getting it as even as possible. Spread the cooled cranberry mixture over the base. Pinch off pieces of the remaining mixture and place evenly over the cranberry layer.
  4. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven, until the top is lightly browned. Cool in the tin for about 40 minutes before slicing into bars.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(375)

Reviews in English (302)

by Jeanette

This IS a great recipe! I read some of the other reviews, and the trick to getting the bars out of the pan without them turning into a gooey mess is to LET THEM COOL for at LEAST an hour! The cranberry mixture needs to "jell". My husband and kids REALLY loved these...even my picky four year old~!-03 Jan 2003


Some important tips for this recipe: 1) use the real deal rolled oats, not the instant kind, 2) I used frozen cranberries and dropped the water down to 1/2 cup . you absolutely must cook the cranberries down until it's thick in the pan, keep mushing the berries as it cooks down, 3) you're better off making the cranberry part either the day before or wayyyy earlier than when you mix the cake part b/c it's better if the cranberry jam is fully cool, 4) don't even think about cutting these bars for at least 2-3 hrs after coming out of the oven . waiting will ensure lovely cut bars.I gave this a 4 and not a 5 because I only liked these the day I made them. The next day they had gotten soft (of course b/c of the amount of butter and the cranberry spread), which isn't bad, just a preference thing. And heck, throw some ice cream on top and I'll be saying texture smexture ;-). I will make these again, but will reduce the sugar to 3/4 cup.-05 Jan 2006


Very good and easy too. I didn't have any whole cranberries on hand, so instead of making the craberry filling I actually used canned whole cranberry sauce. It worked just fine. This is a great one to add to your baking gifts for the holidays.-29 Dec 2002

Pumpkin Seed Cranberry Snack Bars

Greetings from Boston. I’m here on my book tour, as you know. And I have two more signings here this week– a release party tonight and a signing tomorrow. Here’s the schedule, come stop by! Right now I’m here in my hotel room listening to the cars whiz by in the rain. My first night of relaxing in almost 4 weeks. Currently wearing a face mask and I’m soaking up every second of it.

To clarify, it is a moisturizing face mask not a Halloween face mask. Because that would be weird.

Anyway. I’ve been on cloud 9 meeting so many readers this month. I’m still in awe that all of you make me apart of your day not only everyday reading my blog, but for coming out to meet me. I keep saying it over and over again to myself… what is this crazy life? Thank you all for helping to make it this way.

Ok, how awesome are all you guys.

So being on the road for almost a month, I made sure to pack some healthy snacks in my suitcase. Like, a jar of peanut butter (does anyone else do that??) and a box of whole wheat crackers. But I also slipped in some homemade snack bars! And you’re looking right at ’em. They sort of balance out sugar-laden pumpkin spice lattes, no?

So YES today is the return of snack bar Sally! If you’ve tried my vanilla almond version, my cashew coconut version, or my cherry chocolate version then you know why I’m obsessed. These snack bars are legit! They’re my version of a KIND bar, but homemade. Filled with ingredients you can see and absolutely no sketchy surprises. Being that pumpkin rules my kitchen in the fall, I had to whip up a pumpkin spice version. Complete with dried cranberries because pumpkin and cranberry is life.

These gluten free bars are made with nuts and dried fruit. And not much else! One ingredient you may not recognize– or maybe you do because you’ve made my 3 other versions before– is almond meal. This ingredient is used in my spiced pumpkin seed cranberry snack bars to hold the ingredients together. Like flour would do in another granola bar. For anyone not familiar with almond meal, don’t be scared. It is not a crazy health food store ingredient. It is just ground almonds– ground almonds before reaching the stage of almond butter. You can buy almond meal, but I find it’s much more convenient to make it at home. Simply pulse almonds until they reach a gritty and rough flour-like consistency. If you’re a visual person, I have it pictured in this post.

Also in these pumpkin bars? Some roughly chopped almonds for crunch, pepitas because hello they’re pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries because YUM, vanilla extract for flavor, and almond butter to bind. And don’t forget plenty of pumpkin pie spice for all that incredible spice flavor. Ahhhh you’re going to love these!

Because you’re so sweet, I add 1/4 cup of honey. But in reality, honey is used for binding. Like I’ve mentioned in my previous snack bar recipes, I do not recommend thinner liquid sweeteners like maple syrup or agave. You want a thick liquid sweetener. Brown rice syrup works too.

Bake the snack bars– only about 20 minutes or so. Just until they are relatively set and the ingredients bind together properly. Then, you’ll let them chill in the refrigerator to fully set. Then snack on, my pumpkin people. I’m awkward.

They’re salty & sweet, spiced, easy, crunchy, wholesome, chewy, and gluten free. I packed a batch for each leg of the book tour so far and they never last more than 3 days. #snackbarsally

Recipe Summary

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup butter

In a small saucepan over medium high heat, combine the cranberries, white sugar and orange zest. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook until the mixture has reduced to about 1 cup.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x9 inch baking pan, line with foil, then grease the foil.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in the butter using your hands or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press half of this mixture firmly into the prepared pan. Spread the cranberry sauce evenly over the base, then crumble the remaining oat mixture over the top.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until the top is golden brown. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Spiced Cranberry Pecan Bars

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 13࡯-inch baking dish with parchment paper, letting excess extend over sides of pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, pie spice, baking powder, ginger, and salt. Add cold butter, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until crumbly. Add egg, beating until combined. Reserve 1 cup mixture for topping press remaining mixture into bottom of prepared pan.

Bake until lightly golden, about 18 minutes.


In a large saucepan, bring 3 cups cranberries, sugar, applesauce, maple syrup, orange zest and juice, and salt to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until cranberries begin to burst. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 1½ tablespoons water stir into cranberry mixture, and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat fold in remaining 2 cups cranberries. Spread mixture in an even layer onto prepared crust.


In a small bowl, combine pecans, oats, and reserved 1 cup crust mixture. Sprinkle onto filling.

Bake until topping is golden and filling is bubbly, about 30 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Using excess parchment as handles, remove from pan, and cut into bars. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Spiced Cranberry Pear Crisp

Crisps and cobblers are one of my favorite desserts of all time, and this Spiced Cranberry Pear Crisp is just perfect for fall, or even Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert.

There’s something about a warm crisp, topped with some whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, that is so inviting when colder weather arrives.

And with it’s seasonal fruit, beautiful colors and aromatic spices, this pear and cranberry crisp is something I make often during the holiday season.

Plus, the whole house smells wonderful while it’s baking. I get a lot of “What are you baking mom? It smells really good,” kind of comments from my boys whenever I make this comforting dessert.

I really love that this dessert is so easy to make, and practically foolproof. My family would just as soon eat this for a holiday dessert as some fancy dessert I spent hours making.

This crisp is the kind of dessert that’s perfect for sharing with friends and family, and doesn’t leave you stuck in the kitchen baking all day. And with hints of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, it really does put everyone in a festive holiday spirit.

Of course, I highly recommend serving this crisp warm, and topping each serving with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Really, that’s the way I recommend serving all crisps.

And this does reheat beautifully in the microwave if you happen to have leftovers. I may or may not have been caught eating the leftovers for breakfast!

If you’re looking for a simple but satisfying holiday season dessert, I highly recommend this Spiced Cranberry Pear Crisp. It’s sure to be a hit wherever you serve it this holiday season.

Be sure to save this Spiced Cranberry Pear Crisp recipe to your favorite Pinterest board for later.

Tips for Choosing and Storing Pears

Appearance: Look for that without bruises or torn skin. Natural blemishes and variations in skin color won’t affect flavor.

Ripeness: Press a finger gently into the top of the pear where the stem joins the fruit. If it just starts to give there, the pear is ripe and ready to eat. If you’re planning to eat the pears in a few days, the top should still be hard.

Storing: Store unripened pears at room temperature in a single layer until they darken in color. Store ripened pears in the refrigerator–they should last for a few weeks.

If you want to speed up the ripening process, try putting your pears in a paper bag with a ripe banana or apple.

Spiced cranberry and apple crumble recipe

Apple crumble with a seasonal twist. The only decision is cream, ice cream or custard&hellip?

You could use a Magimix or blender to make your crumble. Kay prefers the texture and feel of the fingertip method.


  • 175 g plain flour
  • 110 g unsalted butter, chilled
  • 50 g demerara sugar, plus an extra 2-3 tablespoons
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 750 g Bramley apples or other sharp cooking apples
  • 175 g fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 orange, juice and zest only
  • 0.5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 0.5 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 good grating of nutmeg
  • 6.2 oz plain flour
  • 3.9 oz unsalted butter, chilled
  • 1.8 oz demerara sugar, plus an extra 2-3 tablespoons
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 26.5 oz Bramley apples or other sharp cooking apples
  • 6.2 oz fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 orange, juice and zest only
  • 0.5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 0.5 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 good grating of nutmeg
  • 6.2 oz plain flour
  • 3.9 oz unsalted butter, chilled
  • 1.8 oz demerara sugar, plus an extra 2-3 tablespoons
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 26.5 oz Bramley apples or other sharp cooking apples
  • 6.2 oz fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 orange, juice and zest only
  • 0.5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 0.5 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 good grating of nutmeg


  • Cuisine: English
  • Recipe Type: Dessert
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Preparation Time: 30 mins
  • Cooking Time: 35 mins
  • Serves: 4


  1. Heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.
  2. Sieve the flour and put it into a bowl. Cut in the butter, and using the tips of your fingers rub it together with the flour, lifting it high out of the bowl every now and again, until you have what looks like coarse breadcrumbs. The coarser the crumb, the crumblier the crumble.
  3. Mix in 50g of the demerara sugar and a pinch of salt with your hands, then set aside.
  4. Peel, core and slice the apples, and pop the pieces into another bowl. Add the cranberries, orange zest and juice, the spices and the remaining demerara sugar. Mix together well and place in a lightly buttered ovenproof dish.
  5. Cover with the crumble mixture and cook in the oven for 35 minutes. Serve crisp and bubblin'.

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Spiced cranberry bars

    • 250g butter, chilled and diced
    • 375g plain flour
    • 200g sugar
    • ½ tsp salt
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • ½ tsp cinnamon
    • ½ tsp mixed spice
    • 1 egg yolk
    • Filling
    • ½ tsp freshly grated orange zest
    • 1 ½ tbsp orange juice
    • 340g fresh cranberries
    • 100g sugar
    • 1 tbsp cornflour
    • Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a 23cm x 32cm baking tin with parchment paper.

    This recipe is adapted from Deb Perelman’s gorgeous cookbook The Smitten Kitchen. These are really simple to make, the flavour is fabulous, really tangy and fresh and they last for days – well, not in my house, but in the average restrained environment.

    In a food processor blitz all the dry ingredients together until the mix looks like breadcrumbs, add the egg yolk and pulse for a couple of seconds.

    Turn the mix out into a bowl and turn half the mix into the prepared tin and press into the base, make sure you get right into the corners.

    Next blitz the cranberries, cornflour, sugar and zest in the food processor – you just want them roughly chopped. Spread the filling over the crumb base, then sprinkle the remaining crumb over the cranberry and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until lightly brown on top.

    Spiced Cranberry-Pecan Cheese Ball
    (Makes 2 balls – you can easily wrap one well and freeze it for the next festive occasion!)

    Yes, I said “Cheese ball.” For many years, I was accustomed to seeing those bright orange, nut-coated balls of processed cheese spread on buffet tables. As I grew up, my own parents moved away from the mall-kiosk cheese at the holidays, and for quite some time now my mother has served a baked wheel of Brie with a cranberry topping on festive occasions. It’s delicious but a little fussier than this recipe, and since it has to be served hot, it’s not always convenient. I decided to combine Mom’s wonderful cranberry brie recipe with the concept of those ubiquitous cheese balls to create something easy, durable, and still totally celebratory.

    10 oz. goat cheese
    1 cup fresh cranberries
    ¼ cup dried cranberries (preferably sweetened with juice, not sugar)
    1 ½ tsp. orange zest
    2 tablespoons orange juice
    ¼ cup maple syrup
    6 tablespoons water
    ½ tsp. salt
    ¼ tsp. ginger
    ¼ tsp. allspice
    ¼ tsp. pepper
    1 tsp. fresh chopped thyme
    ½ cup pecans

    Combine the fresh cranberries, dried cranberries, orange zest, juice, maple syrup, water, salt, ginger, allspice, pepper, and thyme in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries have all burst and the liquid has mostly evaporated, about 15-20 minutes what you’re looking for is the texture of a thick jam or chutney. Allow the cranberry mixture to cool completely.
    While the cranberry mixture is cooling, toast the pecans in a dry skillet over medium-high heat JUST UNTIL FRAGRANT. Stand there and shake the pan while this is happening it’s not strictly necessary, but nuts burn very quickly and I’ve found that if I don’t occupy myself by fussing with them I’ll walk away and ruin them. Once the nuts begin to smell lovely and slightly toasty, remove from the heat and let them cool, then chop them roughly.
    To assemble the cheese balls, crumble the goat cheese into a bowl and break it up with a fork to make it easier to work with. Add the cranberry mixture and stir (again, I recommend using a fork it helps keep the goat cheese fluffier so the ingredients are easier to combine). When everything is fully incorporated and the cheese is a lovely shade of holiday pink, place half of the cheese mixture in a mound on a sheet of plastic wrap or parchment. Use the plastic wrap to help you gather it into a ball and press firmly I found that twisting the ends of the plastic wrap to help compact the cheese balls was a useful trick. Once you’ve got a relatively nicely shaped ball, unwrap it and roll it in the chopped pecans until it’s coated all around. Wrap well and chill for about 20 minutes to help it set. Repeat with the remaining cheese and nuts.
    I recommend serving this with hearty flatbread crackers or crostini we tested ours on squares of well-toasted homemade bread and it was just perfect. For friends who may be gluten or grain free, set out some spears of endive. The slightly bitter, crunchy leaves will be the perfect complement to the sweet and tangy cheese spread.

    Recipe Summary

    • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
    • ½ cup raisins (Optional)
    • ¼ cup wheat germ
    • ¼ cup whole-wheat flour
    • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
    • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (Optional)
    • 1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
    • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ½ cup applesauce
    • ⅓ cup honey
    • 1 egg
    • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.

    Mix oats, raisins, wheat germ, whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle.

    Whisk applesauce, honey, egg, and vanilla extract together in a separate bowl until combined pour into well of dry ingredients. Stir with two spoons until fully incorporated. Pour and press batter into prepared baking pan.

    Bake in the preheated oven until firm, about 20 minutes. Remove from pan and cool for about 10 minutes before slicing into 12 pieces.

    Place the cranberries in a bowl and cover with the milk. Leave to soak for at least 2 hours or overnight.

    Preheat the oven to 190 ° C/375 ° F/Fan 170 ° C/Gas Mark 5. Place paper muffin cases in a 12 hole muffin tin.

    Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and spice into a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour. In a separate bowl, using a fork or a balloon whisk, whisk the eggs, melted butter, milk, vanilla, orange rind and cranberries until well combined.

    Add the liquid to the well in the flour and spices. Using a large metal spoon gently mix the ingredients until they are just combined. It is important not to over-mix the mixture in order to achieve the classic muffin texture.

    Divide the mixture between the muffin cases and bake for 20-25 mins or until golden and springy to touch. Cool on a wire rack and serve warm or cold.

    Honey Cranberry Apple Crumb Bars

    Thanksgiving week has arrived! I thought I would share one last easy dessert idea before the big day. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I’m not up for making a bunch of pies. I would rather throw a pan of bars together and call it good!

    If you’re feeling like you could use an easy dessert to round out your dessert table, make these honey cranberry apple crumb bars! A traditional Thanksgiving pie flavor found in an easy to make bar.

    Crumb bars usually make an appearance around here in the summer when I have all kinds of berries that I need to use up before they go bad. But, I’ve never really made them in the fall or winter.

    That’s changing. This cranberry apple combination is the perfect filling to a buttery crust and crumb topping!

    Thanks to some help from Bee Harmony Honey from Beesponsible®, the filling is only sweetened with honey. Beesponsible® is bringing awareness to the plight of bees that are being threatened by pests, pathogens, pesticides, and poor nutrition (habitat loss).

    As part of the initiative, they are introducing 100% raw honey made from bees drawing nectar from wildflower blossoms across superior forage lands, tended by trusted beekeepers, using responsible practices that respect the environment.

    Bee Harmony Honey is available in several regional varieties (check out if there’s honey from your region!), and the Great Lakes variety was the perfect sweetener for these bars!

    Many of the baked goods on this blog are sweetened with honey, especially fruit fillings. The honey complements the fruit without overpowering the natural flavors of the fruit or making the dessert too sweet. Since the richness of the crumble doesn’t need a lot of sweetness to go with it, a honey fruit filling is perfect.

    Not a fan of cranberries? Leave them out and add more sliced apples. But you really should use cranberries, the cranberry apple combo might surprise you!

    Topping the bars is cinnamon glaze that adds a bit more of that warm fall spice to these already irresistible bars! Make your holidays a bit easier, and throw together these easy crumb bars!