A few weeks ago, my grandma and I went to our first baseball game of the season together. We arrived almost an hour before the first pitch, which gave us plenty of time to walk to our seats and watch the parade of dogs and their owners circling the warning track for Bark at the Park night.
As the dogs passed by, we pointed out the cutest costumes they were wearing: little bandanas, baseball caps, team themed jerseys, and even a hot dog suit on a Dachshund. Towards the end of the parade, as the last of the pets passed through the outfield wall gate, more fans began trickling in to fill our section.
Although Grandma and I typically keep our food simple with just drinks and soft pretzels, I still stared at the trays of concessions other people carried down into the stands. I spotted wood-fired Hawaiian pizza slices, Mexican street tacos, BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, tri tip nachos, acai bowls…
But I also saw a few women walk in with freshly made ice cream cookie sandwiches! A little stall along the left field foul line whipped those up for customers with different ice cream and cookie flavors… And each one was even bigger than my palm!
Although highly tempted, I can never seem to eat those fast enough before the ice cream starts to melt into a big milky mess… And at a slightly chilly night game, I’d much rather eat just the plain cookies instead!
But the rest of the evening, my mind occasionally wandered back to the topic of desserts (no surprises there!), and I started thinking about other desserts that paired well with ice cream.
Definitely ice cream sandwiches… Warm brownie sundaes… Almost any kind of pie… Fruit crumbles…
That last one sounded exceptionally good, especially with summer fruit season right around the corner, so as a result, I had developed a craving for both cookies and fruit crumbles by the following morning.
To satisfy those cravings, I baked a batch of these Healthy Raspberry Crumble Bars! They consist of a soft sugar cookie crust topped with fresh juicy raspberries and finished with a cinnamon oat streusel topping. They’re a perfect mash-up of cookies and fruit crumbles!
Yet unlike those ballpark treats, these healthy raspberry crumble bars contain no eggs, refined flour or sugar… And just 83 calories!
A scoop of ice cream is completely optional… But with how quickly I inhaled these delicious dessert bars, I didn’t even notice it was missing!
HOW TO MAKE HEALTHY RASPBERRY CRUMBLE BARS
Let’s go over how to make these healthy raspberry crumble bars!
You’ll start with the simple sugar cookie crust. And even better than regular sugar cookies… No rolling pin required here! You’ll just spread the cookie dough into your pan with your hands or a spatula.
But I’m getting ahead of myself…
You have to make it first! 😉
To do that, you’ll need white whole wheat flour and just a bit of baking powder and salt. Not too much baking powder! You don’t want your cookie dough crust to rise tall like a cake. You’ll add just enough baking powder to give it a lighter texture.
If you’ve browsed through my recipes before, then you probably know what white whole wheat flour is already! But if you don’t… It’s not a combination of white (aka all-purpose) flour and regular whole wheat flour!
Instead, white whole wheat flour is made by finely grinding a special type of soft white wheat (hence the name!), whereas regular whole wheat flour comes from a heartier variety of red wheat. They both have the same health benefits (like extra fiber!), but white whole wheat flour has a lighter taste and texture. This lets the sweet taste of your healthy raspberry crumble bars really shine!
Just remember, it’s extremely important to measure the flour (and oats—when you get there!) correctly, using this method or a kitchen scale. ← That’s the one I own and love! Too much flour will make your sugar cookie crust dry and crumbly, rather than soft and chewy.
Unlike traditional sugar cookie recipes that call for a full stick (or more!) of butter, you just need 1 ½ tablespoons of butter or coconut oil. That small amount really helps keep your healthy raspberry crumble bars low fat and low calorie!
You’ll also skip the eggs found in traditional sugar cookie recipes! Instead, you’ll use unsweetened cashew milk. Any milk will work, but unsweetened cashew milk is one of my favorite dairy-free options! (Unsweetened almond milk is my other favorite.) Unsweetened cashew milk is thick and creamy, with a consistency similar to whole milk, and it works perfectly in nearly all of my baking recipes.
Bonus: If you use coconut oil and cashew milk, then your healthy raspberry crumble bars will be egg free, dairy free, and vegan!
To sweeten your cookie dough, you’ll actually use a combination of pure maple syrup and liquid stevia. I know it isn’t all that fun to track down extra ingredients… But I promise there’s a reason for this!
If you just used pure maple syrup and added enough to make your healthy sugar cookie dough taste just as sweet as traditional recipes, that would add way too much liquid to the cookie dough… It would have the same consistency as muffin batter. So your cookie dough “crust” would turn out more like a cake! Not good.
But if you just added enough maple syrup to give your sugar cookie dough the correct consistency, it wouldn’t taste nearly sweet enough… It would taste more like bread. Also not good.
So that’s where the liquid stevia comes in! Stevia is a plant-based, zero-calorie sweetener that contains nothing refined or artificial (aka it’s clean eating friendly). It’s also really concentrated. By adding just 1 ½ teaspoons, you add the sweetness equivalent of nearly ¾ cup of maple syrup!
By using the combination of pure maple syrup and liquid stevia, your sugar cookie crust is soft, chewy, and perfectly sweet. The best of both worlds!
Tip: I buy my liquid stevia online here because that’s the best price I’ve found, and you’ll use it in all of these other recipes of mine, too!
One last ingredient for your cookie dough! It’s one of my favorites… Almond extract! Almond extract makes your healthy raspberry crumble bars taste a little fancier. (It’s also shelf-stable and keeps for ages, so it’s definitely worth having in your pantry!)
Let’s move on to the filling! That’s the easiest part… Just stir together chopped fresh raspberries and cornstarch. Seriously. That’s it!
And yes, the cornstarch is necessary. Raspberries contain a lot of juice and moisture, which they release while baking. Once heated, the cornstarch thickens that juice and moisture, especially while your healthy raspberry crumble bars cool. That cornstarch is what enables the filling to stick together and not squirt out all over the place!
Next comes the topping! This part is also really easy to make. You’ll whisk together oats, a bit more white whole wheat flour, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Make a well in the center. Then pour in pure maple syrup and teensy bit of melted butter.
Yes, melted butter! I love using melted butter (or coconut oil!) in my streusel toppings instead of cold butter because it’s so much easier to mix together. I spent my entire childhood, from kindergarten through high school, working really hard to cut cold butter into my oat streusel toppings for fruit crumbles… And it took a lot of effort. But with melted butter, it takes all of 10 seconds to stir together.
Such a great time and energy saving baking hack, right?
Tip: I buy my favorite cinnamon online here! It tastes stronger, richer, and a bit sweeter than regular cinnamon. It’s the only kind I use in my baking now!
Time to assemble your crumble bars! I line my baking pan with parchment paper first, which makes it much easier to remove your healthy raspberry crumble bars. If you clamp it in place with binder clips (like these!), that makes the bars even easier to assemble!
First, you’ll press your sugar cookie dough into a thin even layer in the bottom of the pan. I typically use my hands to do this, but you can use a spatula if it sticks to your hands. It does require a bit of gentle massaging, but I promise there’s enough cookie dough to completely cover the bottom of your pan!
Next, spread your raspberry filling on top. Easy as pie! (Or… Easy as crumble bars?)
Finally, sprinkle the oat streusel topping over the filling. The streusel clumps a lot, so break up those big clumps into tiny pieces before you sprinkle! I just rub it between my fingers to break it up. Just like with the cookie dough, I promise there’s enough streusel to cover the raspberry filling in a thin even layer. (But if you prefer more streusel, you can certainly double the topping!)
Once your pan has finished baking, you must let your healthy raspberry crumble bars rest for at least 3 hours once they’ve reached room temperature. This is mandatory! Remember how we talked about the cornstarch earlier? It continues to work its thickening magic as the crumble bars cool and rest. If you cut into them earlier, the filling will squirt all over the place. But if you let them rest long enough (or put your pan in the fridge to speed up the process!), the filling will be nice and firm.
Then all that’s left to decide is how many bars you’ll keep for yourself… And how many you’ll actually share! 😉 And when you make your own, remember to snap a picture and share it on Instagram using #amyshealthybaking and tagging @amyshealthybaking IN the photo itself! (That guarantees I’ll see your picture! 🙂 ) I’d love to see your healthy raspberry crumble bars!
Healthy Raspberry Crumble Bars
FOR THE TOPPING
- ½ cup (50g) instant oats (gluten free if necessary and measured like this)
- 2 tbsp (15g) white whole wheat flour or millet flour (measured like this)
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 4 tsp pure maple syrup, room temperature
- 2 tsp coconut oil or unsalted butter, melted
FOR THE FILLING
- generous 2 ½ cups (360g) fresh raspberries, quartered (see Notes!)
- 1 ½ tbsp (12g) cornstarch
FOR THE CRUST
- 1 ¼ cups (150g) white whole wheat flour or gluten-free* flour (measured like this)
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 ½ tbsp (21g) coconut oil or unsalted butter, melted
- 3 tbsp (45mL) unsweetened cashew milk, room temperature
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1 ½ tsp liquid stevia (see Notes!)
- 2 tbsp (30mL) pure maple syrup, room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 350°F, and line an 8”-square pan with parchment paper (or coat an 8”-square pan with nonstick cooking spray).
- To prepare the topping, stir together the oats, flour, and cinnamon. Make a well in the center. Pour in the maple syrup and coconut oil or butter, and stir until all ingredients are completely incorporated.
- To prepare the filling, gently toss together the raspberries and cornstarch.
- To prepare the crust, whisk together the flour, baking power, and salt in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut oil or butter, milk, almond extract, and liquid stevia. Stir in the maple syrup. Add in the flour mixture, stirring just until incorporated.
- Press the crust into the bottom of the prepared pan into a thin, even layer using your hands. (If it sticks to your fingers, then moisten your fingers with a tiny bit of water, and continue as needed.) Spread the filling evenly across the crust. Sprinkle the oat mixture on top of the raspberries. (It tends to clump, so break it into tiny pieces as you go!) Bake at 350°F for 28-34 minutes or until the topping feels firm and the crust appears to be done. Cool completely to room temperature in the pan, and let the bars rest for at least 3 hours once at room temperature before slicing and serving.
View Nutrition Information + Weight Watchers Points
You may also like Amy’s other recipes…
♡ Healthy Peach Crumble Bars
♡ Healthy Small Batch Apple Crumble Bars
♡ Healthy Small Batch Blueberry Crumble Bars
♡ Healthy Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble
♡ Healthy Peach Crumble
♡ The Ultimate Healthy Apple Crumble
♡ The Ultimate Healthy Blueberry Crumble
♡ …and the rest of Amy’s healthy raspberry recipes!
Gretchen Williamson says...
What about monk fruit as a sugar substitute?
I really appreciate your interest in my recipe, Gretchen! What’s the exact monk fruit sweetener that you’d like to substitute? Some brands and product vary, so I’ll have a much better idea once I know the exact brand + product name of the monk fruit sweetener you have on hand!
I’m so sorry for my delayed response too. I’ve been out of the office and with my family a lot more than I anticipated since the end of May, and I fell behind on replying to comments as a result. But I’m still happy to help you with this recipe, if you’d like! 🙂
Kathy Jamerson says...
Hi! This sounds wonderful! I am just wondering how I can use brown sugar or coconut sugar in place of the maple syrup and liquid stevia if the recipe depends on precise wet to dry ingredient ratios? Thanks so much!
I really appreciate your interest in my recipe, Kathy! I’m so sorry for my delayed response. I’ve been out of the office and with my family a lot more than I anticipated since the end of May, and I fell behind on replying to comments as a result.
I’ve actually answered this exact question in the Notes section of the recipe (located directly underneath the Instructions!). I know it can be really easy to miss though! 😉
If you end up making these crumble bars, I’d love to hear what you think of them!
I made these yesterday and they are wonderful!
I’m so glad you enjoyed these raspberry crumble bras, Lois! Thank you for taking the time to let me know and rate the recipe. That truly means a lot! 🙂