Is fiber an appropriate discussion topic during the holidays? Healthy Cranberry Apricot Bars say yes.
These healthy cranberry apricot bars are little portable fruit crisps that you can tuck into your lunch box.
With double the glorious streusel topping, nutty layers of cinnamon almond-scented dough are wrapped around a bright cranberry apricot filling to create a tasty mash-up of a traditional buttery crumble bar and your favorite fruit cereal bar.
5 Star Review
“These are awesome! I am so glad to get some added fiber into my family.”— Monica —
Healthy cranberry apricot bars are boldly flavored and will keep 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 (like this Chia Seed Pudding) 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 second (or third) cranberry apricot bar.
How to Make 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.
- Cranberries. Fresh or frozen cranberries make the filling for these fruit bars bright, tart, and zippy. (If you love cranberry desserts, try these Leftover Cranberry Sauce Parfaits.)
- Apricot Jam. Sweetens the filling and helps to balance the tartness of the cranberries.
- Dried Apricots. Packed with vitamin A iron, and fiber, the dried apricots add nutrition but also excellent chewy texture to these healthy cranberry apricot bars.
- Sugar. Just enough to add a little extra sweetness to the filling.
- Cornstarch. Thickens the filling and gives it body.
- Ginger. Lends the filling a little bite that pairs perfectly with the tart cranberries and sweet apricots.
- Vanilla. Adds additional flavor and richness.
- Flour. The base for our buttery, crumbly crust.
- Oats. Provides the crust a subtle nutty flavor and slight chew (as in these Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies).
- Grape-Nuts. My secret ingredient for adding fiber, crunch, and AWESOME texture.
- Brown Sugar. Gives the crust a nice complexity of flavor.
- Greek Yogurt. A healthy alternative to extra butter, milk, or eggs that keeps the crust tender. (It’s also my secret to these light Strawberry Lemon Cream Cheese Bars.)
- Butter. Makes the crust flaky, buttery, and perfectly crumbly.
- Egg. Adds richness to the crust and helps bind everything together.
- Cinnamon + Nutmeg. For warmth and subtle spice.
- Almond Extract. A natural pairing for cranberries and apricots that adds an extra dimension of flavor.
- Prepare the filling in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until thickened, set aside.
- Mix the crust ingredients until well-combined.
- Press 2/3 of the crust into the bottom of a parchment-lined 8×8 baking pan sprayed with cooking spray.
- Spread cranberry filling evenly over the crust in the pan.
- Crumble the remaining crust mixture over the top.
- Bake in a 325 degree F oven until the edges are golden, let cool, then slice. ENJOY!
- To Store. Keep leftover bars in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Who knew fiber could be so fun?
Frequently Asked Questions
Grape-Nuts do not contain grapes or nuts. Rather, it’s a cereal product made from barley and wheat. Using proprietary technology, the cereal is processed into tiny, crunchy kernels that resemble seeds or nuts.
If you cannot find Grape-Nuts at your local store or prefer to omit them, you may swap them for an equal amount of oats. The bars will lose some of their crunch but will still be delicious.
I have only ever made these cranberry bars with apricots. However, other readers have reported using different jam varieties and dried fruit pieces with success. If you experiment with other flavors, let me know your results below.
Healthy Cranberry Apricot Bars
For the Filling:
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
- 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.
- To prepare the 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, whisk together the flour, Grape-Nuts, oats, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking soda in a large bowl. 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 (allowing some of the cranberry filling to 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.
- TO STORE: Leftover bars may be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
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