Cranberry-Almond Crunch

I adore cranberries, and I hate to think we limit ourselves to only enjoying them during the month of November. I stock up like crazy every fall and freeze them so I can pull them out throughout the year when a craving strikes. Who can resist their gorgeous ruby red color? Plus, they lend the perfect tart bite to desserts and baked goods.

After making cranberry chutney, cranberry sauce, and brown butter cranberry streusel shortbread bars in the past few weeks, I found one more bag of cranberries hiding out in the back of my fridge the other day. I swear they must be multiplying in there, but you won’t hear me complain! It gave me the perfect excuse to try this cranberry-almond crunch I’ve had my eye on for a while.

Cranberry-Almond Crunch

I’ve already told you how much I love a good fruit crumble in the fall; it’s easily a top 3 dessert choice, especially if you throw a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. At the end of the day, despite its untraditional name, this cranberry-almond crunch is basically a cranberry crumble with a little bit of almond extract thrown in because I’m completely obsessed with the stuff. Humble and simple, this dessert packs a ton of flavor! I was nervous that it might be too tart with just the cranberries, but the buttery brown sugar topping added the necessary sweetness. It’s still tart, but not in a bad way ๐Ÿ™‚

Cranberry-Almond Crunch

In the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you this recipe originally called for raisins in the filling too. I know there are a lot of raisin haters out there (though I’m not one of them) and I didn’t want anyone to write this dessert off just because they saw raisins in the ingredient list, so I made this twice, omitting the raisins the second time to make sure the recipe would still work. I worried the raisins might be necessary to help thicken the filling as it baked, but it turned out perfectly. So, raisins or no raisins – the choice is yours!

This cranberry-almond crunch is just one recipe featured in Cooking Light’s new Lighten Up, America! cookbook. From shrimp and grits to the Philly cheesesteak, chicken parmesan, and red velvet cupcakes, the book is full of classic American dishes that have been made lighter and healthier with simple substitutions. Each recipe includes a gorgeous color photo as well as nutritional information. Sound good? Well, you’re in luck because I have a copy to give away to one of you ๐Ÿ™‚

To enter to win, just use the PromoSimple widget below. Good luck!

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The giveaway is only open to U.S. residents who are at least 18 years old. Please be sure a valid email address is included in your entry. Winner will be chosen randomly and announced on this post. Prize must be claimed by the winner within 48 hours or an alternate winner will be selected. This giveaway is not associated with Facebook or Pinterest.

Cranberry-Almond Crunch
adapted from Lighten Up, America! by Allison Fishman Task

{Note: if you’re a raisin fan, feel free to add 1/3 cup in with the cranberry mixture before cooking it on the stove top.}

2.25 oz all-purpose flour (about 1/2 cup)
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
pinch salt
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

12 oz fresh cranberries
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

vanilla ice cream, for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray an 8×8-inch baking pan (metal is best!) with nonstick cooking spray.

To make the topping: Whisk the flour, oats, brown sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the butter, and using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the largest pieces are no bigger than peas – it should be a coarse meal. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the filling: Combine the cranberries, sugar, water, and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Set the pan over medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. When it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 4-5 minutes, or until the cranberries start to pop and soften, and the mixture thickens slightly. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla and almond extracts.

Pour the filling into the prepared pan and sprinkle the topping in an even layer over it. Bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until the filling bubbles vigorously around the edges and the topping browns (the filling will likely start bubbling much sooner than 35 minutes, but keep cooking until the topping browns).

Transfer the pan to a wire rack, and cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. A scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of each serving is highly recommended!

Disclosure: Cooking Light sent me a copy of Lighten Up, America! and also provided the copy for this giveaway, but I was not compensated for this post.

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