Cranberries are one of those fruits that I tend to crave around the holidays. Maybe it’s their bright red color that just reminds me of Christmas time or maybe my body’s telling me I need more fiber, vitamin C and antioxidants that are found in these bite-sized ruby berries!
A little tart, a bit sweet and so versatile, cranberries are the perfect compliment to cookies, bars, cakes and other baked goods. I made a batch of cranberry bars last week and they suddenly disappeared…they were the perfect snack after a run, an on-the-go breakfast bar or a treat when I’m craving something sweet but non-chocolately.
These bars are sweetened only with fruit and do not contain any added oil, just natural and healthy fats from coconut and almonds, thus making them the ultimate guilt-free snack. They are packed with nutrition and energy, so whip a batch for a quick accompaniment to breakfast, pre or post-workout snack or a lightly sweetened dessert!
Oil-Free, Fruit-Sweetened Cranberry Yum Bars
Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free with Grain-Free & Vegan options
1 cup dried juice-sweetened cranberries
1-2 Tbsp orange juice or apple juice or apple cider (or spiced rum for an adult touch!)
2/3 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped or sliced almonds (or pecans, walnuts or other nut)
1/3 cup almond flour (or other nut meal)
1/3 cup buckwheat flour (almond, oat, millet, sorghum or brown rice could also be subbed)
1/4 cup amaranth flour (almond, oat, millet, sorghum or brown rice could also be subbed)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 egg (flax egg or blended tofu may work for vegan, let me know if you try it!)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
optional: 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon or other sweet spice
1. In a medium bowl, add cranberries and orange/apple juice, cover and microwave for 30 seconds. Let sit covered until cranberries have mostly cooled and have softened.
2. Preheat oven to 325 F. Line a large loaf pan with parchment paper or grease with coconut oil, butter, ghee or earth balance.
3. Add cooled cranberries to the bowl of a food processor along with the shredded coconut and chopped almonds. Process until it resembles a paste or until desired texture if you prefer a more chunky consistency.
4. Pulse in the flours, salt, baking soda, egg and vanilla extract until all is incorporated. Mixture will be thick. If mixture seems too dry, add a tablespoon of orange juice or apple juice and pulse again.
5. Spread and press into prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes. Let cool, cut into squares and enjoy!
*For a grain-free option, use all almond flour for the flours (although buckwheat and amaranth are technically grain-free since they are seeds, but it’s up to you)
*For vegan bars, try substituting a flax or chia egg in place of the egg or even blended tofu.
To continue the cranberry lovin’, I also made a healthy and refined sugar free cranberry sauce, recipe coming soon 🙂