Cranberry Almond Bars


 

I’m ready for autumn to arrive with its crisp air, beautiful colors, delicious fruits and vegetables, and copious amounts of tea. I was recently sent some frozen cranberries from Cape Cod Select to play around with. Cranberries are one of my favorite food items. Growing up in Massachusetts and spending summers on “The Cape” (aka Cape Cod), cranberries are everywhere. They are beautiful in color and flavor with a bit of tartness and can be used in both savory and sweet dishes and beverages. Have you ever seen a cranberry bog? Its beyond beautiful; vibrant redish-pink set with crisp blue of the water and green of the marshes.

Cranberries have had many uses other than culinary applications in the past including pemmicana; a survival food made by the Native Americans by mixing venison with mashed up cranberries. The juice has also been used as a natural dye for clothing, blankets, fabrics, and rugs. You see these beautiful cranberry bogs along the Cape and the first recorded harvest of cranberries was in Dennis, Massachusetts in 1816. Last year at FNCE Ocean Spray brought along a cranberry bog and I didn’t want to leave it! Dream come true.

Cranberries are also known for their many health benefits. The berries are loaded with antioxidants; which are compounds found in plant-based foods (fruits, coffee, tea, vegetables, wine, and chocolate) and they help to prevent and stop cell damage. They are also a great source of fiber; in a 1/4 cup serving of dried cranberries you get 10 grams!

I’m the person who could (and does) eat cranberries year round and I love that Cape Cod Select has whole berries frozen, which is perfect for when I want to whip up a batch of these addictive cranberry almond bars anytime I (or my husband) wants. These berries are perfect to use in smoothies, baking, and even some smoky bbq sauce (stay tuned for that recipe).

While I don’t focus exclusively on paleo or vegan recipes this happens to be both!  I do follow a gluten-free diet with mindfulness of my carbohydrate intake due to heal concerns (celiac disease and other autoimmune diseases). You should listen to your own body and do what works best for you! My cranberry almond bar recipe is perfect for brunch, your Thanksgiving table, or even dessert, they are not overly sweet so you could really eat them anytime of day.

Cranberry-Almond Bars

Crust Ingredients

Cranberry Filling Ingredients

  • 4 Cups Cranberries (Fresh or Frozen)
  • 1/2 Cup Maple Syrup (pure)
  • 2 1/2 Teaspoons Orange Zest (or 4 drops of pure therapeutic grade orange essential oil)
  • 1/2 Cup Orange Juice
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons Arrowroot Powder
  • 1/2 Cup Slivered Almonds

Method of Preparation

  1. Grease an 11 x 14 baking dish (use grapeseed or avocado oil), set aside
  2. In a large mixing bowl; mix together all of the crust ingredients until it is well mixed and a dough begins to form
  3. Set aside 1/2 of the dough
  4. Press the remaining 1/2 of dough in prepared baking dish
  5. In a separate large mixing bowl mix together the cranberries, maple syrup,  orange zest (or essential oil), orange juice, vanilla extract, and arrowroot powder. Note – this will be very loose…it will thicken during baking (I promise)
  6. Pour the filling into prepared baking dish
  7. Take the remaining 1/2 of the dough and crumble on top of cranberry filling
  8. Sprinkle with slivered almonds
  9. Bake for 45 – 50 minutes or until golden brown and cranberry mixture has thickens and begins to bubble
  10. Remove from oven, let cool, slice into equal portions (~24), serve as is or with vanilla ice cream

(store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week)

 

 

September 19, 2018 at 9:00 am | Celiac Disease, Chef's Corner, Culinary, Dairy-Free, Egg Free, Fish Free, FODMAP Friendly, Gluten-Free, Peanut Free, Recipe, Shellfish Free, Soy Free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Wheat Free | No comment


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