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Cranberry Orange Crumb Bars |

Cranberry Orange Crumb Bars

  • Author: Taming of the Spoon
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 1 (9x13) pan 1x



For the filling

  • 1 pound fresh (or frozen, thawed) cranberries (about 4 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant tapioca (not starch)
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

For the crust and crumb topping

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Zest of one small orange
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten


For the filling

  1. Stir the cranberries, sugar, orange zest, orange juice, and tapioca together in a medium saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Cook cranberry mixture over medium heat until mixture comes to a simmer and begins to thicken and about half the cranberries have burst, 6-8 minutes. Remove and discard the vanilla bean pods. Let filling cool completely before proceeding.
  2. Cranberry filling can be made up to 5 days ahead. Cover and keep chilled until ready to use.

For the crust and crumb topping

  1. In a food processor, pulse together sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, and orange zest until combined. Add the butter and egg and pulse until the dough resembles coarse crumbs.

To assemble

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan. Pat half of the crumb mixture into the prepared pan to make the crust.
  2. Spread the cranberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough evenly over the cranberry layer.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.


To quickly cool the filling, first prepare an ice-bath. Put the saucepan in the ice bath being careful not to get any water into the cranberry filling. Allow the saucepan to sit in the ice bath until mixture is cool, stirring occasionally.

In place of the half vanilla bean, you can use 1/2 tablespoon vanilla bean paste. Once we discovered vanilla bean paste, we found it a much more economical way to enjoy the benefits of vanilla beans. It is available at restaurant supply stores and on

Recipe for cranberry filling from Bon App├ętit, November 2012.

Recipe for crust and crumb topping from Smitten Kitchen.