cranberry clementine coconut bars

November 30, 2012  |  Desserts and Baking

cranberry-clementine-coconut-bars

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.

cranberry-clementine-coconut-bar-S-24

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.

Chuck

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.

cranberry-clementine-coconut-bars

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.

cranberry-clementine-coconut-bars

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

Active Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Makes: 18 servings

Ingredients

    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

Instructions

  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.
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12 Comments


  1. Can I make these with frozen raspberries, blueberries, and/or strawberries instead of cranberries? I only have 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries and tons of frozen berries. I do have fresh clementines as well. Please let me know how you would adjust this recipe for frozen berries. Thanks.

  2. Are coconut chips the same as coconut flakes?

  3. [quote name=Lindsay]Are coconut chips the same as coconut flakes?[/quote]Lindsay,
    It depends on what brand you buy. The ones I used were the large flat chips, but I think it would work with either type. Bob’s Red Mills calls them flakes: http://www.amazon.com/Bobs-Red-Mill-Coconut-Unsweetened/dp/B002YR97BU/?tag=healseasreci-20

  4. [quote name=Yomi]Can I make these with frozen raspberries, blueberries, and/or strawberries instead of cranberries? I only have 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries and tons of frozen berries. I do have fresh clementines as well. Please let me know how you would adjust this recipe for frozen berries. Thanks.[/quote]My friend tried this, and they were too wet. If you want to try the berries I would use a little bit more cornstarch, like say an extra tablespoon. If your berries are thawed you can drain off some of the juice. Either way, make sure the filling bubbles when you bake it. Another note, you could probably drop the sugar in the filling a touch since berries are a little sweeter than cranberries. Good Luck and Please let me know how they come out!

  5. I just can’t take my eyes off from the screen! They look dazzling! From the wholewheat crust/topping to the cranberry filling…just irresistible!

  6. [quote name=angiesrecipes]I just can’t take my eyes off from the screen! They look dazzling! From the wholewheat crust/topping to the cranberry filling…just irresistible![/quote]That is so nice of you to say. Thanks Angie:)

  7. So vibrant and gorgeous!

    I am reading my way thru Deb’s cookbook, like a novel, and loving it all :)

  8. [quote name=Averie Cooks]So vibrant and gorgeous!

    I am reading my way thru Deb’s cookbook, like a novel, and loving it all :)[/quote]Averie,
    That reminds me! I want to order her book for Christmas gifts for a couple of people! Isn’t her writing the best? Thanks for stopping by:)
    -Katie

  9. These sound like a delicious way to eat your fruit, I have a big bag of cranberries just waiting to be used.
    Suzanne recently posted…Peanut Butter and Nutella Sandwich CookiesMy Profile

  10. Hi Katie,
    These are beautiful and I’m making them today. One question, I don’t have any coconut oil on hand. Is that mandatory or can I use a veggie oil or canola?
    Thanks.

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