Holiday Baking: Individual Apple-Cranberry Crisps

I absolutely love cranberries.  Each fall, when those clear plastic bags of berries start showing up in the produce section, my heart begins to race.  Finally.  Finally.  They are here.

The past few years, I’ve been trying to experiment more with these fresh berries, harnessing their tartness and bringing out their bright, robust flavor.  This Apple-Cranberry Crisp is my latest success.

Yes, I said “success.”

This dessert deserves some diva-attitude … not modesty.

Fresh, ruby-red cranberries.  Perfectly ripe honeycrisp apples.  Butter (don’t you roll your eyes at that butter … this is dessert).  And, Whisky.

Yup, whisky.

The result is a fantastic, perfectly balanced bite of rich and sweet … and bright tartness to keep the butter and apples from becoming cloying.

Since these desserts are baked in 4 oz jars, they are the perfect little, “guilt-free” taste after dinner.

Or, for breakfast the next day.  Whatever makes your Mama-Heart happy.

Apple-Cranberry Crisps (Baked in Jars)


Fruit Mixture

  1. 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter
  2. 2 Large Honeycrisp Aples, peeled and chopped
  3. 1 Cup Very Firmly Packed Light Brown Sugar
  4. 1/2 Cup Whiskey (or Bourbon)
  5. 2 Cups Fresh Cranberries


  1. 1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  2. 3/4 Cup Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
  3. 1/2 Cup Firmly Packed Light Brown Sugar
  4. 1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  5. 6 tablespoons cold butter, divided into a two 3-tablespoon portions

12 4-oz (cleaned and dried) canning jars, with lids


To Make the Fruit Mixture

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Remove the lids from the clean jars and place the jars on a baking sheet.
  3. In a heavy skillet, over medium heat, melt the butter and cook it until it just begins to brown (2 minutes).
  4. Add the chopped apples, cranberries, and brown sugar, stirring to combine the butter and ingredients.
  5. Next, pour in the whiskey and bring to a slow boil and simmer till the apples have softened and the cranberries have split, stirring occasionally.
  6. Allow the mixture to cool slightly and then divide the fruit evenly into the twelve jars, filling roughly 3/4 of the jar. (You will probably have liquid leftover; you can reserve it to make a syrup topping, if desired)**

To Make the Topping

  1. Combine the flour, rolled oats, brown sugar and cinnamon, stirring to mix.
  2. Cut in three tablespoons of the butter (or use a food processor to speed this step up) until the topping mixture is coarse and crumbly.
  3. Fill the tops of each jar with 2-3 tablespoons of the flour mixture.
  4. Cut the reserved three tablespoons of butter into twelve pieces and place each piece on top of the flour mixture within each jar.
  5. Place the baking sheet of jars into your oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and the fruit mixture is bubbly.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving — the dessert will “sink” into the jars as it cools and retracts.
  7. Top with ice cream and serve.


  1. While the desserts bake, reduce (over low heat) the reserved fruit liquid in the skillet to make a simple syrup.
  2. Spoon over the ice-cream.
The fruit component of this dessert can be made up to 24 hours ahead of time; after cooking and filling the jars, allow them to cool to the touch and then seal with the lids.  Store in the fridge (they are stackable to they take up very little room).
When ready to bake for serving, remove the lids, top with the flour mixture and butter pieces, and then bake as directed.  They will still get good and bubbly in the oven!

Copyright ©
Recipe by Rachel Lacy.