These keto cranberry crumb bars feature tart cranberries, low carb almond flour shortbread crust, toasted walnuts and sugar free dark chocolate chips. They’re all you’ll be able to think about this season.
If you wait for cranberry recipes easy holiday season like me, then you have to make this amazing keto cranberry recipe. You and your guests would never in a million years guess that it’s a low carb dessert.
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Inspiration for recipes come from many places… a picture from a magazine, a Google search on an ingredient, from ingredients on hand or my desire to a recreate an old favorite. Sometimes inspiration emerges from an intense craving for a specific taste.
The idea for these Keto cranberry crumb bars popped into my brain the other day at the grocery store. There was no seeking for inspiration, it just jumped right into my brain… probably because I had a mad craving for cranberries. I always do this time of year.
Low Carb Shortbread Crust
This low carb shortbread crust recipe is perfect for these keto cranberry crumb bars. Although it’s not a recipe for actual shortbread cookies, it’s a great keto crust I use in several low carb desserts on the blog. It’s featured in my low carb blueberry crumble bars and also in my keto strawberry cream cheese bars. Made of almond flour, shredded coconut and protein powder, this crust compacts well and resists sogging.
I know some people don’t like coconut. I chose unsweetened shredded coconut for this shortbread recipe because it helps lower carbs and resists absorbing moisture. Sub with additional almond flour if you must, but the texture will be completely different. Protein powder helps lighten the mixture and provides the right texture.
The only work the crust requires is processing the coconut into a powder. I use a mini food processor or coffee/spice grinder for this task. It only takes a few seconds. Stir the dry ingredients together and stir in the melted butter to form a rumbly mixture. Remove a portion of the mixture to use on top as the crumb layer. Press the rest into a parchment lined square pan.
Use Fresh or Frozen Cranberries
Use fresh or frozen cranberries in these keto cranberry bars and cook them like a Thanksgiving cranberry sauce. There’s no need to halve or chop them, cook the cranberries whole until they pop and the sauce thickens. Then cool slightly. A low carb erythritol based sweetener keeps carbs low and lemon juice brightens overall flavor. A little spice warms it up and reflects the season.
Keto Cranberry Bars Are Easy to Assemble
After making the crust mixture and reserving a portion for the crumb topping, press the crust into a parchment lined square baking pan. I have a 9×9 inch pan and it was perfect. The parchment helps with removing the cranberry crumb bars later. To press the crust into the pan, I evenly distribute the crust, cover with a piece of waxed paper, then press down very firmly with a flat bottomed glass.
Spoon the filling onto the crust and spread evenly. Then, top with the crumb mixture, chopped walnuts, sugar free chocolate chips and a little low carb brown sugar. Bake in a 350 F preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the top turns golden brown. Cool completely before removing from the pan and cutting.
Storing and Freezing
Store the cranberry bars in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. The bars taste good cold and at room temperature.
Ideas for Customizing
I love to bake. Part of the joy of baking, low carb and keto baking included, is the endless ways recipes can be combined. Here are some ideas to take these keto cranberry crumb bars to new levels:
- use the chocolate shortbread base from the Low Carb Chocolate Lasagna recipe
- add grated chocolate, sugar free chocolate chips or keto white chocolate chips to the base before adding the cranberry sauce
- add any of these flavors to the cranberry sauce: vanilla extract, almond extract, orange extract, raspberry flavoring, brandy, or spiced rum
- top with flaked almonds, flaked coconut, pecans, macadamia nuts, pine nuts, or keto white chocolate chips
If you want to purchase a 9×9 inch square brownie pan, try this pan or this one from Amazon. They seem to be sturdily constructed and are similar to the pan I purchased 15 years ago from a restaurant supply store.
Keto Cranberry Crumb Bars
- 12 ounces cranberries (340 g) fresh or frozen
- 1 cup water (236.58 g)
- 1/2 cup low carb powdered sugar (80 g) (or your favorite powdered sweetener)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (15 ml) or 3 Real Lemon packets
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch fresh ground nutmeg
- 3/4 cup of the shortbread crust mixture about 1 quarter of the mixture
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (40 g)
- 3 tablespoons Low carb brown sugar (35 g)
- 3 tablespoons Lily's Sugar-Free Chocolate Chips (40 g)
- Prepare a 9x9 or 8x8 brownie pan by cutting a strip of parchment wide enough to cover the bottom of the pan and long enough to go up two opposite sides and hang over. Spray the pan with baking spray and place the piece of parchment into the pan, smoothing it to fit. Chop the walnuts.
- Place all of the ingredients for the cranberry filling into a medium pot and bring up to a boil. Boil gently for 10-15 minutes until the mixture thickens. Let cool.
- Preheat the oven to 350 and position the rack to the lower third of the oven.
- While the cranberries are cooking, process the shredded coconut in a coffee grinder or a small food processor until finely ground. Add all of the dry ingredients for the shortbread crust into a medium bowl. Melt the butter and pour it over the dry ingredients. Mix with a spatula or fork until the butter is distributed and clumps form. Break-up any large crumbs to he size of large peas. Remove 3/4 cup of the mixture and set it aside for the crumb topping.
- Firmly press the shortbread mixture into the bottom of the brownie pan. I lay a piece of waxed paper over the crust and use a flat bottomed glass to help me press the crust into the pan - very firmly. Spoon the cooled cranberry sauce into the brownie pan and spread it evenly over the crust. Sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture evenly over the top of the cranberries, then the walnuts, low carb brown sugar and sugar free chocolate chips.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until the top begins to turn golden brown. Cool completely.
- Serve: Run a sharp knife around the sides of the pan and lift the whole recipe out of the pan with the parchment. It will bend in the middle, it's okay. Cut into 16 bars. Enjoy cold or at room temperature.
- Serves 16. 5 net carbs each.