Cran-Apple Spice Bars

Fresh cranberries and apples mixed with nuts and peanut butter chips make an amazing spice bar that we can’t quit thinking about!

Cran-Apple Spice Bars are a new favorite holiday dessert for our family!

Piece of cranberry dessert bar on white plate

Cranberry Bars

Every bite is moist, fruity and filled sweet and crunchy flavors that blend together so well.  The fresh cranberry glaze that is poured over the warm cranberry bars finishes the dessert off perfectly.

Chopped fresh cranberries and apples create bold and festive flavors.  The peanut butter chips add a surprisingly smooth sweetness and chopped nuts add a gentle crunch.  We like using chopped walnuts for a mild flavor.

I found this recipe in the 1983 edition of the Home-Makers School Cookbook.  The same place I found this amazing Apple Crisp with Peanut Butter Crumble.  After making that apple crisp I got excited about trying more recipes from this cookbook.

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The only other fresh cranberry recipe I’ve shared is this Cranberry Jalapeño Salsa, so another fresh cranberry dessert caught my eye.

I love cooking with cranberries because they are so brightly colored and beautiful.  Cranberries add a new flavor dimension that is special to the Thanksgiving season.

Slice of Cranberry Apple Spice Bar in 9 inch square baking pan

Apple Cranberry Dessert Bars

I enjoy bringing new recipes to holiday gatherings that taste delicious, but that most people may not have tried before.   Cranberries and apples are both harvested in the fall and make a great pairing in these bars.

I don’t have a reputation for being the most adventurous eater at the party, but I LOVE these Cran-Apple Spice Bars.  Even though it may seem as though there is an interesting combination of ingredients don’t hesitate to give these a try!

Another fruity dessert with bright flavors is our No-Bake Pineapple Pretzel Salad.  Incorporating fresh fruit in dessert is always a win, even if it doesn’t qualify as “healthy”.

A friend was asking me for Thanksgiving dessert ideas that don’t include pumpkin.  These apple cranberry bars are on the list as well as our Easy Apple Dapple Cake, Ooey Gooey Butter Cake and Orange Cake with Pineapple Icing.

For an impressive chocolate holiday dessert that is easy to make I recommend the Heath Bar Cake3 Musketeers Cake or Milky Way Cake.

9x9 inch pan of cranberry bars with cranberry glaze on red place mat

Tips for Making Cran-Apple Dessert Bars

  • Peel and core apples before chopping
  • Chop the apples in small pieces because large pieces of apples made the bar more difficult to cut and serve
  • Prepare the cranberry glaze while the bars finish baking and pour the warm glaze over top of warm bars to keep the bars moist
  • Choose your favorite flavor of nuts – we prefer walnuts

How to Make Cran-Apple Spice Bars

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9-inch pan.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon; set aside.
  3. Beat butter, sugars and egg until well mixed.
  4. Stir in vanilla and sour cream.
  5. Gradually stir in flour mixture, then thoroughly mix in cranberries, apples, nuts and chips.
  6. Spread mixture evenly in baking pan.
  7. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  8. While baking make cranberry glaze by combining remaining sugar and water in a saucepan.
  9. Stir to dissolve sugar. Bring to boil over medium-high heat.
  10. Add cranberries and cook until skins pop and mixture thickens. Berries will melt down a bit during this process.
  11. Spread hot topping on baked mixture.
  12. Cool before cutting into bars and serving.
Cran-apple spice bars picture collage

Other Traditional Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes:

Printable Cranberry Apple Spice Bars Recipe

close up picture of cranberry apple bar on a white plate

Cran-Apple Spice Bars

Servings 9 people
Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life
Fresh cranberries and apples mixed with nuts and peanut butter chips make an amazing spice bar that we can't quit thinking about! Cran-Apple Spice Bars are a new favorite holiday dessert for our family!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar firmly packed
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup apples peeled, pared and chopped
  • 1/2 cup nuts chopped
  • 1 cup peanut butter baking chips

Cranberry Glaze

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries

Instructions
 

  • Grease a 9-inch square pan and preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Combine flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon; set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, sugars and egg until well mixed.
  • Stir in vanilla and sour cream.
  • Gradually stir in flour mixture, then thoroughly mix in cranberries, apples, nuts and chips.
  • Spread mixture evenly in baking pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cranberry Glaze

  • When baking is almost complete, combine 1/2 cup sugar and water in a saucepan. Stir to dissolve sugar. Bring to boil over medium-high heat.
  • Add cranberries and cook until skins pop and mixture thickens. Berries will melt down a bit during this process.
  • Spread hot topping on baked mixture.
  • Cool and cut into bars.

Notes

  • Peel and core apples before chopping 
  • Chop the apples in small pieces because large pieces of apples made the bar more difficult to cut and serve
  • Prepare the cranberry glaze while the bars finish baking and pour the warm glaze over top of warm bars to keep the bars moist
  • Choose your favorite flavor of nuts – we prefer walnuts

Nutrition

Calories: 430kcalCarbohydrates: 66gProtein: 8gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 39mgSodium: 166mgPotassium: 173mgFiber: 3gSugar: 48gVitamin A: 245IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 48mgIron: 2mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Plowing Through Life” is not a dietitian or nutrition professional. Any nutritional information shared is an estimate and can vary greatly depending on specific products are used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator of your choice.

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