When I was growing up, we had a tradition in my family that on your birthday, my mom would make your favorite meal. For years and years, my meal of choice was flank steak, green beans, and baked potatoes. Simple, but exactly what I wanted. As I got older, I pushed the limits of this generous birthday offer. I believe the final time we got our birthday dinner of choice was the year I announced that I wanted Thanksgiving. And God love her, my mom totally did it. Mashed potatoes, stuffing, veggies, turkey breast, and a big bowl of cranberry sauce.
So this is my really long-winded way of telling you that I absolutely LOVE Thanksgiving. Like can’t get enough, and there can never be too many leftovers. I know some people tire of it after a few days, but I think I could eat it year round.
In a perfect world, I would have posted this last Friday. A what to do with leftover cranberry sauce after Thanksgiving type of recipe. Although let’s be honest. Is there ever leftover cranberry sauce? We celebrated our holiday in Connecticut, so there are no leftovers at our house. But there are, however, leftover fresh cranberries. From sauces and recipes that were not made before we departed.
The cranberries stared at me for a few days before I thought of a good way to use them…
I remade cranberry sauce, just like the sauce we made on Thanksgiving, and turned it into a delicious dessert. Tart cranberry filling, sugary crumbly topping. Vegan and even gluten-free (just use GF oats!). These are a great treat to help kick off the holiday season!
Vegan Cranberry Crumble Bars
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Ingredients (9 squares)
1 12oz bag fresh cranberries (about 2 cups)
1 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1.5 cups rolled oats
1.5 cups almond meal
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a saucepan, combine cranberries, orange juice, and maple syrup. Heat over medium-low heat, until sauce is bubbling and berries are bursting. Allow sauce to simmer for about ten minutes while it thickens. If you like your cranberry sauce on the sweeter side, add more maple syrup if needed. The crust and topping are pretty sweet, so I like the filling to be a bit more tart.
Transfer to a small dish to cool (or if you are lazy like me, just put the whole sauce pan in the refrigerator. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.
While the filling is cooling, make your crust and topping. Add all crumble ingredients to a food processor and pulse until it is all combined, and the oats are relatively ground.
Spread half the crumble mixture into the bottom of a greased baking pan (I used an 8×8 square). Press down with a spoon or spatula so that crust is packed down well.
Next spoon the cranberry sauce mixture over the crust, spreading evenly across the pan.
Take the second half of the crumble mixture, and sprinkle evenly over the cranberries. Try to cover as much of the top as you can. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. The top should be golden brown, and the sauce should be bubbling! Allow the bars to cool completely before slicing. You have been warned. If you cut into it before it cools, the filling will still be runny, and the bars won’t hold together.
You can cool on the counter, or even in the fridge. One it is cooled and set, slice into bars or squares. Enjoy!
Casey and I have been devouring these at an alarming rate. And as I type this, I am eyeing the pan across the room, doing my best to hold out for an after dinner dessert. Although I know I will never make it that long.
The oats and fruit make this feel healthy, even though it’s definitely still dessert. Although I could see serving these on Christmas morning too – a sweet treat to enjoy for breakfast by the tree.
Our local grocery stores our overrun with extra Thanksgiving supplies, and cranberries are on super sale. I’m going to grab a few bags and toss them in the freezer, so I can quickly throw this together next time I host mom’s group or have friends over.
As always, enjoy!