Buttery crumb bars filled with caramel, cranberries, and pecans.
This recipe is sponsored by Challenge Butter.
I’ve been dreaming of these bars for months. I think the idea first popped in my head mid-August when I got the first longing for fall baking and I’ve been biding my time ever since, waiting for the holiday season. And here we are! And here they are, and they’ve even exceeded my expectations.
Caramel. Fresh cranberries. Pecans. A buttery crumb topping. These bars just scream November! You won’t find a cozier treat, or a dessert more fitting for the season than this.
These bars are inspired by one of my favorite Thanksgiving pies, this cranberry, caramel and hazelnut tart. It’s a bit of an unusual combination of flavors— caramel, cranberries, and nuts— but I promise it’s amazing. There’s a little bit of sweet, salty, and delightfully tart in every bite!
And I think I might like these bars more than the tart because the buttery crumb topping is everything. Just be sure to use high-quality butter if you can. I find that for recipes where butter is one of the main stars, spending more for quality makes a huge difference. That’s why I love Challenge butter! Because Challenge is dedicated to providing all-natural high quality products made from fresh, real ingredients. To find Challenge butter at a store near you, click here.
baking tip:How parchment paper can make baking easier
For cookies, biscuits and scones: Line sheet pans with parchment paper before using. Prevent sticking without adding any extra grease and cleanup is as easy as throwing away the parchment.
For cakes: Line the bottoms of your cake pans with parchment paper and then either grease and flour, or coat with baking spray. You’ll never have a cake stick in your pan again!
For bars and breads: Line square or rectangular pans with parchment so that there’s a few inches of overhang on either side. When your baked good is ready to serve, use that overhang as a handle to lift it out of the pan. Then transfer to a cutting board and slice. No more messing up a slice trying to dig it out of the pan!
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Caramel Cranberry Nut Bars
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (360 grams)
- 1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar (213 grams)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup cold Challenge unsalted butter (170 grams), cubed
- 1 large egg , lightly beaten
- 2 cups caramel sauce (about 600 grams), see Notes
- 1 1/2 cups cranberries (150 grams), see Notes
- 1 cup pecans (113 grams)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with butter. If desired, line with parchment paper for easy slicing later.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
- Add the cubed butter and use a pastry blender or your hands to work it into the dry ingredients, until the butter is the size of small peas.
- Press half of the crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
- Pour all of the caramel sauce over the crumb base, spreading it into an even layer. Top with the cranberries and pecans.
- Sprinkle remaining crumb mixture on top.
- Bake until topping is golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Let cool before slicing. For cleanest slices, chill completely in the fridge before slicing.
- You can use store-bought caramel sauce or you can make your own homemade caramel sauce. If you use store-bought, the higher quality the better (I like this brand). You'll need about 1 and 1/2, 1-lb jars.
- You can use fresh or frozen cranberries. If using cranberries, thaw before using and strain to remove any liquid.
- Make ahead: these bars keep very well in the fridge. Bake them up to 5 days in advance!
Disclosure: This recipe was created in partnership with Challenge Dairy, Inc. as part of a long-term ambassadorship. Thank you for supporting partnerships with brands I love and believe in, which make Completely Delicious possible. All opinions are always 100% my own. To learn more about Challenge Dairy, you can visit their website here. You can also find them on facebook, instagram, youtube, and pinterest.