Walnut Cranberry Crumble Bars
It was kitchen cleaning and re-organizing time last weekend. I had this leftover packet of walnuts and box of cranberries that have been sitting idle staring at me every time I opened the refrigerator and pantry. I had made a mental note of what I wanted to make with these two distinct ingredients but had been putting it off for a long time until now.
These crumble bars are nutty, sweet, tangy and delicious all at the same time. The earthy walnuts in the base as well as the crumb topping makes these bars quite rich in protein and essential amino-acids. For the base, I used equal parts of all-purpose flour and powdered walnuts. Like any kind of nuts, walnuts also have oils in them due to which the dough mixture is much softer making the base a bit more delicate than the regular/basic crumb bars. I also skipped using oats or granola in the crumb topping and instead used chopped walnuts that gave a really nice texture and crunch.
The dried cranberries have a reduced nutrient profile when compared to the fresh ones but still have a good quantity of antioxidants. And most importantly they are less tangy with a hint of sweetness making them perfect for these bars. I simply chopped the cranberries and heated them with some sugar until they release the juices to create a thicker preserve like consistency. The tang in the cranberries gives these bars a nice distinct taste.
Store these bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator and they should be good for 5 to 7 days. They are good warm or cold but personally I loved them warm so just heat them in the microwave for around 30 secs or so. These tasted even better and less tangy the next day. Replace cranberries with any other berry jam/preserve for variety. Indulge in these bites of scrumptious-ness for a quick sweet tooth fix!
Adapted from: Ina’s Crumble Bars
Prep time: 35 to 40 mins
Bake time: 45 to 50 mins
– walnuts – 3/4th cup powdered + 1/4th cup roughly chopped
– dried cranberries – 1 cup
– all-purpose flour – 1/2 cup
– unsalted butter – 1/2 stick at room temperature
– sugar – 1/3 cup
– salt – a pinch
– vanilla extract – 1 tsp
– confectionery sugar – a couple of tsps (optional)
1. In a mixing bowl, take softened butter and half of the sugar. Mix these together well using an electric hand-mixer/stand-mixer.
2. In a coffee/spice grinder, powder 3/4th cup of walnuts really fine. Add this slowly to the mixing bowl and combine everything together. Now, slowly add all-purpose flour. Then add salt and vanilla extract. Mix everything until well combined into a soft dough. Divide the dough into 2 parts-3/4th for the base and 1/4th for the crumble topping.
3. In a baking dish or loaf pan lined with parchement (for easier cleaning later on) take 3/4th of the dough and gently press at the bottom evenly with about 1/4th inch thickness. Place this in the refrigerator to harden a bit until the filling is prepared.
4. In a sauce pan, add roughly chopped dried cranberries, 1/4th cup of water and the remaining half of the sugar. Simmer on low for about 5 mins until the cranberries are softened and almost like resemble a thick jam like consistency. Set aside and let cool down for a few mins.
5. Preheat oven to 350 deg F.
6. Remove the pan, from the fridge and add the cranberry mixture onto the base. Spread it out evenly.
7. Take the remaining dough and add 1/4th cup of roughly chopped walnuts. Combine together and break the dough into small crumbs and spread over the cranberry mixture.
8. Bake for 45 to 50 mins until the top is golden in color. remove onto a cooling rack and let it cool down. Cut them into squares/bars and lightly dust with confectionery sugar just before you serve.
These delicious bars are equally delectable with your morning coffee or evening tea or just be themselves!