What do you get when you cross a cake with a cookie? I don’t know, but it looks something like the photo above. And it’s really good, a treat that fits into any time of the day (or night). I took a platter of these crumble bars to choir practice, and only had an empty tray to slip into my bag at the end of the evening. Wisely, I kept a few at home to eat with tea or as a quick breakfast.
A buttery streusel topping, a moist layer of fruity filling, a hint of spice, a nutty flavor from the whole wheat flour…mmm…all of my favorite flavors in one perfect little square. Next time I serve brunch, these will be on the buffet table!
Whole-wheat Cran-Apple Crumble Squares
1 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into chunks
3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. cloves
1/8 tsp. allspice
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. grated orange zest
1 cup fresh cranberries
4 medium apples, peeled and cored
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter or spray a 9″x13″ baking pan. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar, baking powder and spices a few times to mix them. Add the chunks of butter and the egg, and pulse (about 20 1-second pulses) until the mixture looks like a coarse meal. Pour half the mixture into the prepared baking pan and press it down. Pour the rest of the mixture into a bowl and set aside.
To prepare the filling, add all the ingredients to the food processor and pulse until the apples and cranberries are coarsely chopped. Spread the filling over the base layer in the pan.
With your hands, squeeze the remaining crumbs into small chunks of dough, leaving some of it crumbly, and scatter them on top of the fruit filling. Bake the bars for 35-40 minutes, or until lightly brown on top. Cool completely before cutting into bars.
Melissa Jerves writes about food, family and 21st century home economics on her blog, Home Baked.