Monday, January 5, 2015

Cranberry Apple Cookie Bars

I am always looking for desserts that taste really good, but are made with whole grains and natural sweeteners. Whole grains are so much better for you than bleached and processed white flour, and I feel like natural sweeteners at least retain some minerals. I feel better about eating something that is really yummy, but retains some health benefits as well.

Cranberries are very high in vitamin C, and are right behind blueberries with the amount of antioxidants they have. They are considered a superfood, although I feel like all fruits and veggies are pretty super...just sayin.

Fresh cranberries are pretty tart, so I paired them with apples to help balance them out with less sweetener. Also, fresh cranberries are fun to cook with, they start to pop open when heated which I find entertaining.

With a cookie bar bottom, fruit filling, and crumb topping, these cookies make me very happy.

Cranberry Apple Cookie Bars

2 cups fresh cranberries
1 apple, cored and diced (I used a Honeycrisp and it yielded just over 1 1/2 cups of diced apple)
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup water

2 tbsp flax meal
6 tbsp water

1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup maple syrup


Make the filling:

Put the cranberries, apples, syrup, and water in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir and let it come to a boil. The cranberries will start to pop open and then the mixture will start to come together into a loose jelly. When this happens, take the pan off the heat (if you are feeling fancy, you can add a pinch of ground ginger to the filing). This should take around 7 minutes or so. Set the filling aside, and start on the cookie bar.

Make the cookie bar, crumb topping:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.

Combine the flax meal with the 6 tbsp of water, and set aside to let thicken.

Put the oats, whole wheat flour, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Add in the coconut oil and maple syrup and cut in with a fork or a pastry blender (or even your fingers - it can be fun to get a bit messy in the kitchen, plus you pretty much have to lick it off then). You are looking for a very crumbly dough, with pea sized chunks in it. Reserve one cup of this dough.

Add the flax mixture to the remaining dough and stir to combine. It should still be a bit crumbly, but starting to come together more. Put this dough in the bottom of the baking dish, and lightly press down. Layer the cranberry apple filling over the dough and use the back of a spoon to spread it evenly. Sprinkle the reserved cup of crumbly dough over the top.

Bake for 30 minutes, until the top is starting to turn golden brown. Let them cool a bit in the pan, then cut into small squares.

For 16 bars. Nutritional information from

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 76 g
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 
Saturated Fat 
Trans Fat 
Total Carbohydrates 
Dietary Fiber 
Vitamin A 0%Vitamin C 4%
Calcium 3%Iron 7%
Nutrition Grade B-
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

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