Healthier raspberry crumble bars bring the tang of fresh berries and a crispy crust together in a dessert that’s not too sweet but oh so delicious. Get lots of details for making them gluten free or with regular wheat flour, less refined sugar and even dairy free if ya need that!
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On a scale of 1 to 10, how torn do you feel about dessert? Honestly, sugar and chocolate have never been my lure–but bread has–and your body breaks down most white floury carbs in the same way.
So yes, I was a sugar addict too at one point.
That’s why I want you to always have dessert options, but keep them fair to your body.
I create every dessert recipe on this site with the intention of sharing with others and to be eaten only occasionally. It makes me feel like I’m not ruining your health.
Make these raspberry crumble bars as healthy or unhealthy as you like
You can make these raspberry crumble bars with full-on white sugar, white flour and Country Crock fake butter for all I care.
Or you can make them just gluten free, or just dairy free, or dairy and gluten free, or cut most of the white sugar with coconut sugar…do what suits you. It will all work.
These particular ones were tested and photographed with a blend of coconut and refined sugar, and gluten free.
Tips for saving money and choosing ingredients
Frozen raspberries–Fresh raspberries have the growing season the size of a gnat. After that they are either super expensive or flavorless. I buy frozen organic ones instead and just thaw them to use in these raspberry bars.
Coconut sugar–Coconut sugar is nectar from blooms on the coconut boiled down. It subs 1:1 for white sugar but tastes more like brown. It’s certainly not as sweet as refined white sugar but doesn’t carry the inflammatory triggers white sugar does. This coconut sugar is a good choice.
Raspberry jam--I recommend a good quality one and of course most will have refined sugar in them. If you want to just cook down more raspberries until thick and sweeten with honey, I think you’d get by with a slightly runnier fruit layer but be able to skip the sugar. You could try this honey version.
I used Smucker’s Natural Raspberry jam. I’m not a fan of sugar free jams because of the chemicals they swap in, and if you eat too much you can get a majorly upset stomach. Pick your battles.
How to make healthier raspberry crumble bars step by step
Step 1: Mix the dry ingredients and softened butter. If your butter isn’t soft enough, it will make a crumble or “chunks” of butter instead of a soft dough. (I know this because I did it.) If this happens, add a little cold water–a few tablespoons at a time–until the dough smooths out and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Step 2: Press the dough into the pan and bake. Remember to reserve 1/3 cup of your dough for adding to the crumble mix. Bake until the edges are golden and the center is firm and set.
Step 3: Mash the berries and make the crumble. Set these aside so they are ready to add to the hot base layer when it comes out of the oven.
Step 4: Spread the berries over the base and add chunks of the crumble on top. Bake until bubbly, thickened and golden brown. Cool in the pan then lift out the parchment and cool completely before serving.
Want more raspberries? Try these recipes!
Healthier Raspberry Crumble Bars
For the shortbread base:
For the jam:
- 3/4 cup raspberry jam
- 3/4 cup frozen raspberries, thawed
- 2 1/4 teaspoons lemon juice fresh
For the crumble:
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/3 cup chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup rolled oats use gluten free oats if needed
- 1/3 cup reserved shortbread dough base
- Preheat the oven to 375. Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper so it hangs over the edges (so you can lift out your bars). Set aside.
- In a medium bowl or stand mixer, blend the flour, sugar, salt if using; stir to combine. Add the butter and blend until a soft dough forms. If your butter is too cold it will only crumble into the dough. If this happens, add the water a tablespoon or two at a time until the dough comes together. Set aside 1/3 cup of this dough for your crumble topping.
- Press the remaining dough into your pan in an even layer. I find it easier to drop big spoonfuls in the pan and the press them into an even layer.
- Bake untill the edges brown lightly and the base is firm and set in the center. 14-16 minutes maybe; mine took closer to 20.
Make the jam layer and the crumble
- While the base bakes, mix the jam, berries and lemon and mash with a fork. Leave a few pieces of raspberries in chunks. Set aside.
- In a small bowl blend the remaining sugar, pecans, oats and cookie base to make a chunky crumble. Set aside.
Put it together
- Pour the berry mixture over the hot base. Spread evenly. Break the crumble in to pieces, leaving some berries showing through and bake 25-28 minutes until the berries thicken and bubble and the crumble is golden brown.
- Cool in the pan 10 minutes then lift out and cut in to squares when cool. Store at room temperature 1-2 days.