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Here is a favorite baking recipe for the fall and the winter holidays. Cranberry clementine fruit bars made with coconut.

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I was reminded today of a recent essay by Deb Perelman. She had written, ever so eloquently, of her visceral desire to bake as a way to take control over the disorder that is getting ready to have a baby. Don’t get all excited, I am not having a baby, nor am as eloquent as Deb Perelman, but I did have the need to bake today.


Unfortunately my news of which I am trying to make sense, is not joyous like that of a new baby. Last night we got some bad news that our family pet, Chuck, aka, Chuck-E-Bear, a beautiful 90 pound galute of a chocolate lab, has been diagnosed with bone cancer. He has been a constant-tail-wagging, swimming obsessed, drool-bestowing-upon bringer of joy for almost a decade. We are still figuring out the details, about our options for treatment, but the news has been a major blow to my family and me.


The second thing that has been crazy and distracting is that my mom had surgery on her hip yesterday and has been having a hard recovery. Yikes!


So like Deb, this morning I HAD TO BAKE.


I turned to an old familiar and comforting favorite recipe from EatingWell. I helped develop it for the Simple Art of EatingWell Cookbook. I have made these fruit bars oh, about a million times since it’s inception in the test kitchen. The original recipe is itself a work of art if I do say so. It actually comes from a master fruit bar recipe with several variations. This morning, I took the cranberry orange variation and tweaked it a bit. I happen to have a crate of clementines that I wanted to use instead of oranges. Plus I wanted to try the recipe with coconut oil instead of butter. To top it off, I added some unsweetened coconut chips.


P.S. Thankfully all is looking better for my mom now. She was moved out of the ICU and is feeling a lot better.

cranberry clementine coconut bars

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Yield: 18 servings

Serving Size: 1 bar

Calories per serving: 180

Fat per serving: 8 g

Saturated fat per serving: 3 g

Carbs per serving: 27 g

Protein per serving: 3 g

Fiber per serving: 3 g

Sugar per serving: 16 g

Sodium per serving: 73 mg


    Crust and Topping
  • 1 cup sliced almonds, divided
  • ¾ cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, softened if necessary according to package instructions
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower or canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut chips
  • Filling
  • 5 cups cranberries, divided
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed clementine juice (save the zest)
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup chopped peeled clementine
  • 1 ½ teaspoons clementine zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Generously coat a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Make the Crust and Topping: Combine ¾ cup almonds, whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, ½ cup sugar and salt in a food processor. Pulse until the almonds are ground. Add coconut oil and pulse until completely blended in. Whisk egg, sunflower or canola oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and almond extract in a small dish until combined. Turn on processor and drizzle egg mixture through the feed tube and continue processing and then pulsing, scraping down the sides a few times until the mixture becomes crumbly. {Note: the crumbs will be loose, but if you squeeze them together with your hand it will clump together.]
  3. Reserve ½ cup of the crumb mixture and mix in a bowl with the remaining almonds. Press the remaining crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared dish and set aside.
  4. Make the filling: Stir 3 cups cranberries, ¾ cup sugar, clementine juice and cornstarch in medium saucepan. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring often. Continue cooking, stirring constantly until very thick, about 5 minutes total. Stir in the remaining 2 cups cranberries, chopped clementine, zest and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
  5. Spread the cranberry filling over the crust. Sprinkle the reserved topping over the top. Scatter the coconut chips over the topping and transfer to the oven. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue cooking until the filling bubbles and the topping is lightly browned, 25 to 30 minutes longer. Cool completely before cutting.


12 mg Cholesterol, 13 g Added Sugars

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