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Recipes

Asha's Cranberry Gingerbread Crumble Bars

Recipe By: Asha Loupy

Makes: 12 to 16 bars

Asha's Cranberry Gingerbread Crumble Bars
Photo by:  

Melati Citrawireja

These festive bars are based on one of our most beloved recipes: Strawberry Cardamom Crumble Bars. This version gets merry 'n' bright glow-up with a tart, sumptuous cranberry filling, simply flavored with orange and vanilla. The tanginess of the cranberries is the perfect foil for the gingerbread-inspired, oat-and-nut crust and crumble, which is bolstered with brown butter, a generous pour of molasses and a hearty dose of Makhir Ginger, Peni Miris Cinnamon, Iniya Cardamom, Anamalai Nutmeg, and Kandyan Cloves. Dare I say it—but, I might like these more than the original. 

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Ingredients

For the crust & crumble
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks), plus 2 tablespoons, unsalted butter
  • 1½ cups rolled oats
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup light or dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • ½ cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground Peni Miris Cinnamon
  • 1½ teaspoons Makhir Ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground Baraka Green Cardamom or Iniya Green Cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated Anamalai Nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground Kandyan Cloves
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • cup raw, pecan halves, finely chopped
For the filling
  • Two 12-ounce bags whole, fresh cranberries (if using frozen, do not thaw)
  • ¾ cup white granulated sugar
  • Zest of 1 orange (about 1 to 2 teaspoons)
  • Juice of 1 orange (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Methods

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed 1/4-sheet pan or 9x13 pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. To make the crust, start by browning the butter. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook the butter, stirring often, until it foams and then browns, about 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl, reserving 2 tablespoons of browned butter in a separate small bowl and set aside.
  3. Combine the rolled oats, all-purpose flour, white and brown sugars, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, baking powder and salt in a food processor and pulse until the oats are slightly broken down and the dry ingredients are the texture of very coarse sand, about 10 to 15 pulses.
  4. Add the molasses to the large mixing bowl with the brown butter, and whisk to combine. Add the oat mixture and gently stir until a sandy, crumble forms.
  5. Transfer 3/4 of the oat crumble mixture to the parchment-lined baking pan, spreading it out into an even layer and gently pressing it down to form a crust. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  6. For the crumble, add the reserved two tablespoons of browned butter and chopped pecans to the remaining oat mixture. Stir to combine and set aside.
  7. While the crust is chilling, prepare the filling. Add 3/4 of the cranberries to a medium saucepan along with the white granulated sugar, orange zest, orange juice, vanilla extract, and salt. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries start to pop and the mixture becomes jammy, about 7 to 10 minutes. Add the cornstarch, stirring vigorously to make sure there are no cornstarch clumps, and cook until the cranberry mixture thickens, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat, stir in the remaining fresh cranberries, and set aside.
  8. Remove the crust from the refrigerator and bake until very lightly golden, about 10 minutes.
  9. Spoon the cranberry filling onto the crust, gently spreading the fruit into an even layer. Top with the reserved oat and nut crumble mixture. If you want larger crumbles, squeeze the mixture together in your hands before sprinkling it over.
  10. Bake the bars until the fruit is bubbling and jammy and the crumble is deeply golden brown, about 38 to 42 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate any leftover bars (the fresh fruit has a lot of moisture and no one wants moldy crumble bars!) and enjoy within 4-5 days.