Is fiber an appropriate discussion topic at the holidays? Healthy Cranberry Apricot Bars say yes.

Healthy Cranberry Apricot Bars

Healthy Cranberry Apricot Bars are little portable fruit crisps that you can tuck into your lunch box, but with double the glorious streusel topping.

Two nutty layers of cinnamon almond-scented dough wrapped around a bright cranberry apricot filling, Healthy Cranberry Apricot Bars are tasty mash up of a traditional buttery crumble bar and your favorite fruit cereal bar.

Loaded with good-for-you ingredients, this twist on a yummy fruit crisp “to-go” may be my greatest contribution to society yet, ranking right up there with Caramel Apple Cheesecake Dip and Chicken Stir Fry with Thai Peanut Sauce.

Healthy Cranberry Apricot Bars

Healthy Cranberry Apricot Bars are boldly flavored and will kept both your taste buds and your tummy happy, courtesy of my secret ingredient: Grape Nuts. Time to talk fiber. Grape Nuts are loaded with fiber and happen to be one of my favorite cereals, but I know that not everyone appreciates their signature crunch.

If you are among the Grape Nuts skeptics, stay with me here. Their texture is ideal for baking crumble bars. Nutty and crispy, Grape Nuts add a subtle crunch and complement the almond extract in the dough. Plus,  you can remind yourself that your digestive system will appreciate the extra fiber as you reach for your third Healthy Cranberry Apricot Bar. Well played.

Healthy Cranberry Apricot Bars

The cranberry-apricot layer is bright and zippy. I can never resist popping the first tart cranberry of the season right into my mouth, and I love the way that fresh sensation translates into these Healthy Cranberry Apricot Bars. The tart cranberries, sweet apricot jam, nutrient-loaded dried apricots, and spicy fresh ginger combine to create a vivid fruity filling.

For the crumble portion of the bars, you can leave your mixer in the cupboard. Simply stir together the Grape Nuts, oats, and flour with a wooden spoon, then drizzle with a quick mix of Greek yogurt, egg, and a touch of melted butter. Throw in cinnamon and almond extract too for an extra dimension of flavor. Press the dough and cranberry filling into the pan with your fingers, and you’re ready to bake.

If you’re hosting a holiday party, have family in town and want extra munchies on hand, or are simply seeking a healthier alternative that still feels like a splurge, Healthy Cranberry Apricot Bars are an excellent choice. I’ve been eating Healthy Cranberry Apricot Bars for dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and for breakfast with a dollop of Greek yogurt. No need to choose—Healthy Cranberry Apricot Bars are so bright and lovely, I recommend finding as many excuses to eat them as possible.

Healthy Cranberry Apricot Bars

With their brilliant color, classic cranberry flavor, and secret dose of whole grains, Healthy Cranberry Apricot Bars are a scrumptious snack or festive holiday dessert. Who knew fiber could be so fun?

Healthy Cranberry Apricot Bars

Healthy Cranberry Apricot Bars

5 from 2 votes
Filled with a bright layer of fresh cranberries, apricots and ginger, these healthy homemade crumble bars make an easy breakfast, quick snack or sweet dessert.

Prep: 35 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 1 hr 5 mins

Servings: 1 8×8 inch pan (9 servings)

Ingredients
  

For the Filling:

  • 3 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen, divided
  • 1/4 cup apricot jam or jelly
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
  • 6 dried apricots chopped into 1/4-inch pieces (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Crust:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 cup Grape Nuts
  • 1/4 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 3 tablespoons non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 large egg at room temperature, beaten 
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled

Instructions
 

  • Place rack in the center of oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Spray an 8×8 inch baking pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper so that the paper drapes out over two of the sides, then spray again.
  • Prepare the Cranberry Filling: Combine 2 cups cranberries, apricot jam, sugar, and cornstarch in a non-reactive heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture is very thick and the cranberries burst, 4 to 5 minutes. (It may take up to 10 minutes to get a thick result if you start with frozen fruit.) Stir in the remaining 1 cup cranberries, ginger, dried apricots, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Set aside.
  • For the crust: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, Grape Nuts, oats, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking soda. In a small bowl, stir together the Greek yogurt, egg, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and almond. Pour over the flour mixture, stirring until moistened (the batter will be thick.) Drizzle melted butter over the top, then stir to incorporate. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan, reserving 1/3 cup for the topping. The layer will seem very thin but will rise when baked.
  • Spread cranberry mixture evenly over the dough layer in the pan, using your fingers to distribute it evenly. Break the reserved flour mixture over the top (some of the filling will show through.) Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the edges are golden. Let cool in pan for 1 hour, then remove bars from pan by lifting the parchment paper. Let cool completely before slicing.

Notes

Store leftover bars in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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65 Comments

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  1. These bars look so delicious! I used to make these grape nut bars with cran-raisins and so these remind me of them…definitely gotta to try these. :)

  2. Grape nuts always sounded horrid to me but in these bars, they sound delicious! What are the odds?

  3. These are awesome! I didn’t have apricot jelly, but I did have three (!) jars of jam that each had a spoonful at the bottom (plum, strawberry and raspberry). The mixture worked well and I am so glad to get some added fibre into my family.5 stars

    1. Monica, I am so so excited that you tried these and loved them! I think that combo of jam sounds just delightful–what a good way to use up leftovers. Thanks for trying the recipe and taking time to comment. Makes my day!!

  4. These look absolutely delicious Erin. I think they’d be a hit in our household!! One thing: what on earth is a Grape Nut? I don’t know if they’re sold here in Australia (I will have to have a hunt around!). We can’t get cranberries in this patch of the southern hemisphere either (except for dried, would they work?) so I might have to do a bit of adapting to get these healthy bars of goodness into the oven! Thanks for the lovely recipe. And yep, I have always felt like blogging friends are indeed real friends, despite time, distance and never seeing each other face to face! Some of the best people on the planet are right here in the blogosphere :) Happy Thanksgiving beautiful!! xxx

    1. Oh Laura, how do I even explain a Grape Nut? It’s a super crunchy cereal here in the US that’s made of mix of wheat and barely. I found this link that explains how to make them homemade, but if you don’t want to go to the trouble, you should be able to swap in an equal amount of oats: http://tastykitchen.com/blog/2012/05/homemade-grape-nuts/. As far as a substitute for cranberries, I think cherries would be great in these bars–can you find them? (I wouldn’t use dried cranberries, because you need the juiciness to create a nice saucy filling). Happy Thanksgiving to you too darling! You are the best :)

  5. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever tasted apricots, but oh my gosh do these bars look delicious! One of my coworkers says she puts grape nuts on everything just to give stuff a nice crunch, haha. These bars look incredible!

    1. Beth, if you’ve never had apricots, you’ve got to give them a try. They are similar to peaches or nectarines, but a bit sweeter. I think you’d love ’em!

  6. We all need more fiber, don’t we? These bars look so very good. Thank you for sharing! I hope you and yours have a beautiful Thanksgiving tomorrow!

  7. These look oh so delicious! I’m a huge fan of cranberries, apricots and grapenuts so am sure to love them. Pinned. Off to figure out the WW Points so I can bake them this weekend. Thanks!

  8. Erin!! Why am I just finding this recipe now?? Oh my goodness!!! Ok, first of all, I love to make bars! I always feel like they are just faster and easier than making other cookies or treats. Second … I love cranberries! Tart, tangy … perfection! And come on now … a crumble topping?? I cannot wait to make these. It’s happening super soon. I’m sure my digestive system will be thanking me after I eat the entire pan! Amazing recipe – thanks!! :)

    1. Gretchen, it sounds like this recipe and your kitchen (and tummy!) are meant to be. Thanks so much, and I hope you enjoy every bite. For sure go for the pan–it’s good for you after all ;-)

  9. Love the looks of all your cookies….want to make these first tho….they look so delicious…..and I really like a bar cookie too, easier to make :) and I am all about easy….. 

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