Holiday Recipe Series: Cranberry Crumble Bars

As my holiday recipe series comes to a close for the month of November, it wouldn't be right if I didn't share a dessert recipe to take you into December's holiday party month. A new friend of mine, Becky, is a virtual health and wellness coach from my home state of Florida. I'm really excited to share this delicious recipe with you all, and hope you'll find them as healthy and tasty as I did! Cheers, Kamilah

First of all, I am having a hard time wrapping my brain around the fact that the holiday season has already arrived. Didn’t we JUST ring in 2017? As cliché as I know this sounds, I swear the older I get, the faster time flies by me. That being said, I’m not mad that we are diving head first into the holiday spirit. Have you ever seen the movie “Elf?” I’m like Buddy. I freaking LOVE this time of year and all the goodies that come with it.

You see, holidays have always been really big in my family of foodies. My father is a chef/baker/restaurant & bakery owner in New York and I grew up working for him. We worked crazy hours helping other people prepare their homes for holiday hosting and then we went home and did the same for ourselves. I don’t know if it was the general positive vibe, the excitement of spending extra time with family or the sugar rush from inhaling baked goods every chance I could, but I used to thrive on that craziness. To this day, living in Florida, where it’s kind of tough to get into a winter holiday spirit when it’s still 80 degrees (not complaining, just saying), I still really miss working there.

Anyway, I’m getting carried away here because that was then. NOW, I am a virtual health and wellness coach. I’m still a foodie, and I still indulge, but I’ve built a business helping people create a healthier balance in their lives. My favorite thing to do for my clients is to ask them to share their all time favorite “cheat” meal with me. I then spend some time in my kitchen making small tweaks to turn that unhealthy meal into a fit friendly one that fits into their specific meal plan (based on their goals and lifestyle). I was excited when Kamilah asked me to share a recipe for this series because I know how difficult this time of year can be when you’re trying to focus on health.

It’s actually kind of funny because a lot of the things we love to eat over the holidays, aren’t ALL that bad for us – it’s really just a matter of how you prepare them. Roasted veggies have “winter” written all over them. Sweet potatoes and yams are some of the healthiest carbs out there (without the brown sugar and butter, but still). Turkey is one of the leanest meats around - again, depending on how you prepare it – but you see where I’m going. So today, I want to share something sweet because dessert, in my opinion, is always the best part. These cranberry crumble bars will taste like you’re putting your health on the back burner but don’t worry … you won’t be! 

Cranberry Crumble Bars


Serves: 12, 1 bar each

Ingredients & Tools: Parchment paper and Nonstick cooking spray


  • 1 cup dry old fashioned oats, gluten-free
  •  1 cup whole raw almonds
  •  ¼ tsp. sea salt
  •  3 Tbsp. coconut sugar
  • ¼cup + 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin organic coconut oil, melted


  • 3 cups cranberries, coarsely chopped
  •  ¼cup orange juice (100% juice – no added sugar)
  • 1 Tbsp. orange zest
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch (bonus points for GMO-free)


  • 3 Tbsp. coconut sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. gluten-free all-purpose flour
  •  ¼ cup dry old fashioned oats, gluten-free
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1½tsp. extra-virgin organic coconut oil




  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Line an 8 x 8-inch pan with parchment paper. Lightly coat with spray. Set aside.
  3. To make crust, place oats, almonds, salt, and sugar in food processor and pulse fine. Make sure no large pieces remain.
  4. Add oil; pulse to mix. It should form a loose dough that sticks together when squeezed between two fingers. Add more oil if too dry.
  5. Spread oat mixture into pan. Press into an even layer
  6. Bake for 15 minutes. Increase heat to 375º F. Bake an additional 5 minutes, or until crust is fragrant and edges are slightly golden brown. Set aside.
  7. Reduce oven temperature back down to 350º F.
  8. To make filling, heat cranberries, orange juice, orange peel, sugar, and cornstarch in medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequent until bubbly (5-7 minutes). Set aside.
  9. To make topping, combine sugar, flour, oats and oil in a small mixing bowl; mix with fork until mixture resembles coarse meal. Set aside.
  10. Add cranberry mixture to crust; cover evenly.
  11. Top with crumble topping; cover cranberries evenly.
  12. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until cranberry filling is warm and bubbly and topping is golden brown.
  13. Cool completely for 1 to 2 hours. Lift parchment paper from pan; cut into 12 bars

What do you think? Can you picture these on your holiday table?