Apple Cranberry Crumble Bars

apple cranberry crumble bars 2

Apple Cranberry Crumble Bars

Cranberries make me smile. I’m not bonkers for super tart flavors and biting into a raw cranberry is not the most enjoyable experience so I don’t have a good reason for liking them. In fact, when it comes to cranberries I am pretty superficial. I like them because they are a beautiful bright color. A red (dare I say magenta) color that would be beautiful on a shade of lipstick or nail polish. I saw a dress the shade of a ripe cranberry and I didn’t even think about trying it on. I am way too shy when it comes to wearing bright colors. I let my personality do the shining and I am extremely shy when it comes to wearing beautifully bright colors. So I enjoy beautiful colors in the food I eat. 

I enjoy a good cranberry sauce and they really score a perfect ten when they are baked into a breakfast bar so they make a great addition to dessert. No lie. I LOVE it when they “sing” in harmony with other ingredients in a dish. I get pretty colors and the balanced flavors that I enjoy.

Crumble Topping with Homemade Granola

I love the texture of crumbly bars. I haven’t always liked the mess they leave after all the bars have been eaten up, but I have learned to accept it since it is a part of a deliciously good time. Adding granola to the crumble topping adds excitement to the shortbread crust, sweet fruit and tart cranberries. Besides, it makes me feel as though this is better for me even though it’s totally a dessert! :) 

I made these bars countless times over the past few months and there was never any left for me to share with you. So this is your very own batch!

Do you like to bake (or cook) with cranberries?

Apple Cranberry Crumble Bars
Prep time

Cook time

Total time


The shortbread-like crust is the perfect base for these spiced fruits and cranberries. I like to use what I already have as far as the apple and pear combo for the middle layer. Adapt it to fit your personal preference and what you have available. I’ve used fresh, frozen or even dried cranberries for this recipe too. The granola in the topping gives an excellent texture and flavor to these bars.
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 20

  • For the crust and crumble topping:
  • 2 sticks of butter at room temp
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. almond extract
  • ½ tsp. alaea Hawaiian sea salt
  • ¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground cardamom
  • ¼. tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup of homemade granola
  • For the middle:
  • 1 cup of chopped apples
  • 1 cup of chopped pears
  • 1½ cup of fresh cranberries
  • ½ tsp.cinnamon
  • pinch of alaea Hawaiian sea salt
  • ½ tsp. cardamom
  • ¼ cup of sugar

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a 10 inch by 10 inch baking pan with parchment paper on all sides of the pan.
  2. Add butter and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add salt, vanilla, almond extract, cardamom, ginger and cinnamon, mix until well combined.
  4. Add flour and mix again until combined. This dough will seem a bit dry at first, but keep mixing. It will come together.
  5. You will need half of the dough for the the bottom crust, pressing dough into the bottom of the parchment lined pan. Reserve the other half of the dough for the crumble topping.
  6. Add apples, pears and 1 cup of cranberries, scattering them on top of crust layer in your baking dish.
  7. Add granola to the remaining half of your dough and mix together. There may be some granola that does not incorporate into the dough, which is fine. Crumble your dough-granola mixture in your fingers over the fruit and cranberry layer, creating almost a full layer of dough for a crumble topping. Sprinkle loose granola over the top of the crumbles.
  8. Scatter your remaining ½ cup of cranberries over the granola and crumbles.
  9. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until top is a light golden brown. Adjust the time as necessary.
  10. Cool completely by placing pan on a cooling rack before cutting and serving.


Have you seen some of my other cranberry recipes?

Cranberry Pecan Scones with Blood Orange Glaze

Cranberry Pecan Scones with Blood Orange Glaze

Cranberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

cranberry balsamic vinaigrette

 Cranberry Pistachio Yogurt Parfaits

Cranberry Pistachio Yogurt Parfait

  1. RebeccaRebecca12-28-2013

    Apples are always a great way to balance out the tartness of cranberries, which is what makes the two such a great combination! These look delicious and I can never say no to homemade granola.

    • Dionne BaldwinDionne Baldwin12-30-2013

      You are SO right about that Rebecca! I am pondering a pound cake with apples and cranberries. :-) Maybe I just have sweet tooth heeheehee.

    • CherylCheryl10-24-2014

      Can you use just regular sea salt instead of Alaea Hawaiian sea salt?

      • Dionne BaldwinDionne Baldwin10-24-2014

        You sure can Cheryl. The Hawaiian sea salt is just what I use and recommend but you can substitute it for the salt you would like to use. :)

  2. LexiaLexia12-30-2013

    Is there a certain type of apple you recommend using? This looks incredible! I think I’m going to make these to bring to a giant belated family Christmas party this weekend! :)

  3. I always tend to overbuy when the fresh cranberries come out, and freeze them so I can’t wait to try that these bars. I love the other recipes listed underneath too.

    • Dionne BaldwinDionne Baldwin01-02-2014

      Same here. I just love their bright red color! I have been putting a few in my morning smoothies. :)

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