Berry Crumble Bars

by Kris on April 25, 2012

Last Friday I made vegan lemon squares, using a crust I had made from oats, coconut flour, almonds and figs. They lasted about two days. Every time I opened the fridge door, I couldn’t resist grabbing a lemon square. I didn’t feel too guilty about it though since the ingredients were wholesome and they weren’t packed full of sugar.

On Sunday, after having a picnic in the park and celebrating Earth Day in Oak Cliff, I swung by the farmer’s market to pick up some produce. I came across a basket of the most beautiful looking blueberries. They were plump and their bright blue hue glistened in the sun. Unfortunately they weren’t local nor were they affordable at $5 a pint. Regardless, after having a taste of these California berries, I knew I had to splurge.

The drive home was painful. I used everything in me to resist the urge to eat that entire pint in one gulp. To distract myself, I contemplated recipes and ways I could use some of the blueberries. Fruit crumble bars are one of my favorite treats. They are the perfect summer dessert and they’re easily portable for a snack on the run. I enjoyed the crust on my meyer lemon squares so much, I wanted to try incorporating it into a healthy berry crumble. When I arrived home, I started up the food processor and got to work.

I wanted to enjoy some of the blueberries on their own, especially for breakfast on my oatmeal. To salvage some, I replaced one of the two cups of berries for this crumble with some frozen raspberries I had on hand. While they baked in the oven, the apartment smelled lovely. When they came out of the oven I knew they were going to be great. Waiting for them to cool was like torture, I couldn’t wait to cut them into squares and dig in.

After what felt like the longest hour of my life, I finally took a bite. They were fantastic. The berry compote complemented the tender crust so well. I loved how the crust wasn’t overly sweet, which allowed for the natural flavor and sweetness of the fruit to truly shine. Similar to the meyer lemon squares, these berry crumble bars are low in sugar and fat, as well as vegan and gluten free. They are even healthy enough to eat for breakfast!

I’m counting down the days until summer, when strawberries, peaches, berries and so many delicious fruits are in season. I know I’ll be making these bars again and again.

With summer just around the corner, is there a seasonal fruit or vegetable you are excited for?

Vegan Berry Crumble Bars (Gluten Free)

  • 2/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats (or gluten free rolled oats)
  • ½ cup almond meal
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • 2 tbsp. dark brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp. lemon zest
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 10 preserved figs
  • 3 tbsp. coconut oil (or vegan margarine)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 2 tsp. corn starch
  • 3 tsp. agave or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Spray an 8×8 pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine oats, almond meal and coconut flour. Pulse until oats are fully ground and the mixture resembles flour, about one minute.

Add brown sugar, lemon zest, vanilla extract and cinnamon to the mixture and pulse until well combined. Leaving the food processor running, add one fig at a time through the shoot until all figs have been fully incorporated and the mixture begins to come together.

Add coconut oil (or vegan margarine) through the shoot while the food processor is running and blend for about 30 seconds.

Transfer half of the mixture to the prepared pan and press down firmly to evenly distribute the crust.

In a medium bowl, combine raspberries, blueberries, corn starch, agave and vanilla extract. Toss well to evenly coat the fruit.

Fold the fruit mixture on top of the crust and distribute it evenly across the top using a spatula.

Sprinkle the remaining crust mixture on top of the fruit and gently press down to sandwich the fruit between the layers of crust.

Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes, until the top begins to brown. Remove from oven and cool on a rack.

Once the bars have completely cooled, cut into squares. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Store in a sealable container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Yield 9-12 berry crumble bars

If you like this recipe, you may also like:

Vegan Meyer Lemon Squares

Mini Blackberry Cobblers by Kate from Cookie and Kate

Rhubarb Custard Crumble by Erin from Naturally Ella

Blueberry Almond Tart by Courtney from The Fig Tree

Cornmeal Blueberry pancakes (vegan + gf) by Christy from The Blissful Chef

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Christy April 25, 2012 at 12:16 am

These look delish! Thanks for the shout-out :)

I can’t wait for peaches and apricots!

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Kris April 26, 2012 at 10:30 am

No problem Christy! Oh peaches and apricots… I’ll be making a special drive to hill country just for them! Can’t wait!

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Jeanine April 25, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Yum! I’m going to make this later with some raspberries that I was wondering what to do with.

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Kris April 26, 2012 at 10:19 am

Oh good! Don’t you love it when that happens. By the way, your lemon risotto is right up my alley, Jeanine. Once I get my hands on some asparagus I’ll be whipping some up. Can’t wait to try it, sounds so fresh and seasonal.

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Amy @ FragrantVanillaCake April 25, 2012 at 6:36 pm

These are so beautiful and they sound so delicious! I am loving everything about them, especially the crust. I wish I could enjoy a few for dessert right now!

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Kris April 26, 2012 at 10:17 am

Thanks Amy! (and thanks for the fb share!)

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Natalie April 25, 2012 at 9:16 pm

I love that these look like an indulgent dessert but are actually healthy enough for breakfast – they look so good! They’re right up my sister’s alley too so maybe I’ll just get her to make them so I can help her eat them all :)

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Kris April 26, 2012 at 10:15 am

Thanks Natalie! I’m a huge fan of dessert for breakfast. If I didn’t make it healthy I’d probably be 500 pounds. lol. Hope you and your sister enjoy them!

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Courtney Rae Jones April 25, 2012 at 10:14 pm

Berry crumble is my favourite treat :) These bars look ah-maz-ing! Yum! :) The crust sounds perfect. Cannot wait to pick up some berries this weekend and give this recipe a try. Thank you so very much for including the link to my blueberry almond tart. You made my week! hugs :)

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Kris April 26, 2012 at 10:10 am

No problem Courtney! I really want to try your blueberry almond tart and figured I’d share the love with my readers. Glad I could make your week!! :)

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Crystal @ A Lovin' Forkful April 26, 2012 at 1:12 am

These bars are super yummy looking. Your photos are absolutely beautiful!

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Kris April 26, 2012 at 10:09 am

Thanks Crystal. My fiance thinks that the fruit crumble bar in the main photo looks like an ewok. Now I can’t look at it without picturing a fuzzy little creature. haha

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Ali Seiter April 26, 2012 at 5:31 am

Oh man, it’s as if you concocted this recipe especially for me! Honestly, I love no dessert more than a fruity, oaty, nutty crumble bar. Kudos for a very low sugar, low oil version, too!

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Kris April 26, 2012 at 10:07 am

Thanks Ali! I love fresh fruit with oats and nuts so I thought it would be even better in a portable bar version. I also like dessert for breakfast, maybe a little too much ;)

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Nique April 26, 2012 at 5:37 pm

I made these today, and while they are yummy! (Very) They do not look at all like yours. :(
They crumble too much. What did I do wrong.

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Kris April 26, 2012 at 5:57 pm

I’m glad you like them, but sorry they didn’t turn out the same! Did you use coconut oil or margarine? If you didn’t press the dough firmly into the pan, that could result in a more crumbly bar. Hopefully we can figure out the root of the problem!

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Javelin Warrior April 26, 2012 at 11:48 pm

Well count me in for any blueberry bars – these look fantastic, so moist and crispy at the same time. I am featuring this post in today’s Friday Food Fetish roundup (with a link-back and attribution), but please let me know if you have any objections. It’s a pleasure to be following your creations…

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Kris April 27, 2012 at 12:16 am

Thanks again for the feature!

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Fattopotamus April 29, 2012 at 10:19 am

Yum! Found this courtesy of Finding Vegan on Facebook. Can’t wait to make these! Although I’m not sure where I will find preserved figs.

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Kris April 29, 2012 at 10:41 am

I’ve always referred to them as preserved figs, but people also call them dried figs. You should be able to find them at any grocery store.

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Fattopotamus May 1, 2012 at 5:26 pm

Thankyou, found the figs :) Made this last night, and although I over-cooked it a bit, it was still delicious. Thankyou for the recipe :)

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Dress and Dish May 15, 2012 at 6:30 pm

This looks so delicious!! I will have to try out the recipe! :) Thx.

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Kris May 16, 2012 at 8:44 am

Thanks!

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Anne May 17, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Made these last night. Didn’t turn out quite as wonderful as yours :’( but I will not give up. I’m eating them with a spoon right now. They taste delicious so I’m not sharing at this point. I’m wondering if my figs were too dry or if using frozen fruit was the issue and maybe I need to let the fruit thaw first. I will get to the bottom of it because this is what I have been looking for and I’m sooooo close.

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Kris May 17, 2012 at 2:14 pm

That’s really odd, Anne! I used fresh fruit, so maybe that was the problem? Too much liquid from the frozen fruit could make the crust mushy. As for the sandy crust on top, I’m guessing it was the figs? Were they black mission dried figs or Calimyrna dried figs? Did you press the crust down firmly before baking? That helps them form together. I hope we can get to the bottom of this!

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Anne May 17, 2012 at 9:15 pm

They were mission figs. Personally I thought they were a little small, so maybe I needed to use more. I will make this again this weekend and experiment a little. This is the exact flavor I am looking for, I just need to get it to hold together.

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Kris May 17, 2012 at 10:18 pm

I used Calimyrna dried figs. They’re the lighter colored ones. Maybe they contain more moisture than mission figs? That should also help the color of the bars. If your figs do look on the smaller side add a few extra, one at a time, until the dough comes together. You don’t want it to look too crumbly after it’s processed. Make sure to press down on both layers of crust. You want it to be really compacted on the bottom layer. For the top layer press down firmly enough to compact it without the fruit gushing out. Good luck with this next batch. I really hope it works out for you Anne! Really glad you enjoy the flavor of the bars! :)

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Anne May 18, 2012 at 8:17 am

I will try more figs and maybe use the bottom of a glass to help press down the layers. Thanks for your input.

Alec June 26, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Tried making these the other day. Used coconut oil… They look NOTHING like yours. Turned out flat (looks like about a third of yours!) and tasted really bitter. Not sure what I did wrong but I really want to get this right so I’ll take another whack at it!

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Alec June 26, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Okay hold on… I think the issue was using coconut shavings/powder instead of coconut FLOUR. Does that sound like it might be the issue? When I made them I was under the impression that coconut flour was just highly ground coconut shavings… false?

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Kris June 26, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Coconut flour is different from coconut shavings. That would have been the problem with your bars. Try it again with coconut flour. You can buy it at most health food stores and many grocery stores. I use Coconut Secret Brand raw coconut flour.

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Alec June 26, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Thanks Kris! I’ll try it again.

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Tally July 25, 2012 at 2:16 pm

I was wondering if there’s a reason for figs in the recipe? Is it to replace the eggs or what? What other suggestions can be used to replace figs. The recipe looks so good and perfect if it weren’t for the figs. (Allergy reason)

Thank you for your time! :)

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