Paleo Cranberry Bars

These Paleo Cranberry Bars are a great way to use up leftover cranberry sauce!

You just need 5 ingredients to make these wholesome bars with a shortbread crust and a crumb topping.

Plus this Paleo cranberry dessert is gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free and vegan!

almond flour cranberry bars in a square baking dish lined with parchment paper, on a cooling rack with a small offset spatula, a green napkin, a bowl of cranberry sauce and a measuring cup

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Paleo Cranberry Bars

One of the best parts of Thanksgiving is, of course, the leftovers.

And while leftover cranberry sauce is perfectly fine on its own, why not use it to create a simple, wholesome treat?

These Paleo cranberry crumb bars are great either as a dessert or a snack.

With only five ingredients, they’re so easy to make.

And when those ingredients are whole, natural foods like ground almonds and maple syrup, you can feel good about them.

I use my Paleo and Whole30-friendly Date and Orange Cranberry Sauce but you can use whatever cranberry sauce you have on hand.

And if you need another Paleo leftover cranberry sauce recipe idea, check out my Leftover Cranberry Sauce Vinaigrette with 3 variations!

 

What you need for Paleo Cranberry Bars

Ingredients:

 

Equipment:

gluten-free cranberry bars on parchment paper with a bowl of cranberry sauce and a green napkin

How to make Paleo Cranberry Bars

Line the 8×8″ baking dish with parchment paper. Make sure the paper comes far enough up the sides so you can lift the bars out after they’ve baked.

If your cranberry sauce is especially thick and difficult to spread, mix it with a bit of water to loosen it up.

In a medium microwave-safe mixing bowl, melt the palm shortening in the microwave (should take about 60-90 seconds). Let cool slightly.

Whisk in the maple syrup and vanilla until blended.

In a large mixing bowl, mix the almond flour and salt.

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles wet sand and clumps easily if you squeeze it with your hand.

a clump of shortbread dough held by a hand over a glass bowl with more of the dough

Remove 1/3 cup of the mixture and set aside.

Pour the mixture (not the 1/3 cup) into the lined baking dish and use your hand to press it into an even layer.

a hand pressing shortbread into a parchment-lined baking dish

Chill both the dish and the reserved 1/3 cup mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350°.

Bake the shortbread crust in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove it from the oven but leave the oven on.

Carefully spread the cranberry sauce evenly over the crust (no need to wait for the crust to cool so be careful, the dish will be hot).

Depending on how thick the sauce is, you might need a bit more to fill any gaps.

Remove the reserved 1/3 cup crust mixture from the fridge and use your hands to crumble it evenly over the jam.

Return the dish to the oven and bake for another 25-30 minutes, or until the crumbs on top become lightly golden.

Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Let cool completely.

Use the parchment paper to lift the bars out of the pan onto a cutting board.

You can cut 2 down and 2 across to create 9 large bars.

You can then cut those bars in half to create either 2 smaller rectangles or 2 triangles for 18 pieces total.

Or instead you can cut 3 down and 3 across to create 16 smaller bars.

healthy cranberry bars with a crumb topping on a white wooden table

Make ahead and storage

Once full cooled, you can chill the bars in the fridge for up to 5 days. The longer it sits, the more the crumb topping might start to dissolve into the cranberry sauce layer.

You can also freeze the bars for up to one month. To freeze the whole batch before you cut it, use the parchment paper to remove it from the baking dish. Then wrap the entire bar in plastic wrap and place in an airtight container or baggie. Freeze flat on a shelf so it doesn’t bend or break.

Or you can wrap individual bars in plastic wrap and place in an airtight container or baggie.

Thaw frozen bars overnight in the fridge.

 

Substitutions and variations

  • You can use honey instead of maple syrup (but then it won’t be completely vegan)
  • I haven’t tried using anything other than palm shortening. If you do (such as ghee or coconut oil), please let me know how it goes!
  • If you want a nuttier flavor, you can replace the vanilla extract with 1/4 teaspoon almond extract and scatter sliced almonds on top before baking.

 

Other recipes you might like:

  1. Paleo Crumb Bars – any flavor!
  2. Date & Orange Cranberry Sauce (Paleo, Whole30)
  3. Leftover Cranberry Sauce Vinaigrette – 3 ways! (Paleo, Whole30 vegan)
  4. Crunchy Chewy No-Bake Breakfast Bars (Paleo, vegan)

 

almond flour cranberry bars in a square baking dish lined with parchment paper, on a cooling rack with a small offset spatula, a green napkin, a bowl of cranberry sauce and a measuring cup
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Paleo Cranberry Bars

These Paleo Cranberry Bars are an easy, wholesome treat! You just need 5 ingredients to create bars with a shortbread crust, leftover cranberry sauce and crumb topping. Plus they're gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free and vegan.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time45 mins
chilling time30 mins
Total Time1 hr 35 mins
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: crumb bars, leftover cranberry sauce, paleo dessert, paleo snack
Servings: 9 bars
Author: Don Baiocchi

Ingredients

  • heaping ½ cup leftover cranberry sauce (about 9 heaping tablespoons), plus more if necessary
  • ½ cup palm shortening
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • cups superfine blanched almond flour (not almond meal)
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt

Instructions

  • Line an 8x8" baking dish with parchment paper. Make sure the paper comes enough up the sides so you can lift the bars out after they've baked.
  • If your cranberry sauce is especially thick and difficult to spread, mix it with a bit of water to loosen it up.
  • In a microwave-safe medium mixing bowl, melt the palm shortening in the microwave (should take about 60-90 seconds). Let cool slightly.
  • Whisk in the maple syrup and vanilla until blended.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix the almond flour and salt.
  • Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles wet sand and clumps easily if you squeeze it with your hand.
  • Remove 1/3 cup of the mixture and set aside.
  • Pour the mixture (not the 1/3 cup) into the lined baking dish and use your hand to press it into an even layer. Chill both the dish and the reserved 1/3 cup mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350°.
  • Bake the shortbread crust in the oven for 15 minutes. The crust will look maybe a shade darker but otherwise won't take on too much color. Remove the dish from the oven but leave the oven on.
  • Carefully spread the cranberry sauce evenly over the crust (no need to wait for the crust to cool so be careful, the dish will be hot). Depending on how thick the sauce is, you might need a bit more to fill any gaps.
  • Remove the reserved 1/3 cup crust mixture from the fridge and use your hands to crumble it evenly over the jam.
  • Return the dish to the oven and bake for another 25-30 minutes, or until the crumbs on top become lightly golden.
  • Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Let cool completely.
  • Use the parchment paper to lift the bars out of the pan onto a cutting board.
    You can cut 2 down and 2 across to create 9 large bars.
    You can then cut those bars in half to create either 2 smaller rectangles or 2 triangles for 18 pieces total.
    Or instead you can cut 3 down and 3 across to create 16 smaller bars.

Notes

Make ahead and storage
Once full cooled, you can chill the bars in the fridge for up to 5 days. The longer it sits, the more the crumb topping might start to dissolve into the cranberry sauce layer.
You can also freeze the bars for up to one month. To freeze the whole batch before you cut it, use the parchment paper to remove it from the baking dish. Then wrap the entire bar in plastic wrap and place in an airtight container or baggie. Freeze flat on a shelf so it doesn’t bend or break.
Or you can wrap individual bars in plastic wrap and place in an airtight container or baggie.
Thaw frozen bars overnight in the fridge.
Substitutions and variations
You can use honey instead of maple syrup (but then it won’t be completely vegan).
I haven’t tried using anything other than palm shortening. If you do (such as ghee or coconut oil), please let me know how it goes!
If you want a nuttier flavor, you can replace the vanilla extract with 1/4 teaspoon almond extract and scatter sliced almonds on top before baking.

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