After coming home from a birthday party late on Saturday night, I turned to Mr. Bean and told him that I wanted to bake something. Always practical, he convinced me to wait until Sunday as baking at midnight when you’re supposed to be at church the next morning is perhaps not the best idea. So, I started scheming. I knew that I wanted to make some kind of dessert bar (especially given that this month’s challenge at the Gluten-Free Homemaker is to make a dessert bar) but I also didn’t feel like going to the grocery store to get new ingredients, so it had to be made from ingredients in my pantry. I perused many of my cookbooks for a recipe to work off of, but it was this apple bar recipe by Ginger Lemon Girl that really inspired me – simple, vegan, chocolate* and refined sugar free and easily adaptable. Awesome.
When I finally got around to baking on Sunday night (while listening to my dad tell me about the ski trip he and my mum went on for an hour), I just started putting ingredients together. Similar to how Deanna from The Mommy Bowl bakes cookies with her son, I picked my ingredients based on what I wanted the result to be. I wanted a high protein and fibre bar without eggs and the least amount of sweetener as possible, but still sweet enough to be considered a “dessert” bar. I chose an almond/coconut/brown rice/tapioca flour blend and used quinoa flakes as well as oats. For the filling, I chose thawed frozen raspberries as that was what was in my freezer and spices that I thought would go well together. So, I threw these all together (figuratively speaking – I do a good enough job of making my kitchen a disaster area as is) and hoped that it would work out – luckily for me, it did! This bar is just sweet enough – feel free to add more sweetener to taste if that’s what you fancy – and the combination of flours, berries and spices gives it a pleasantly complex flavour.
Gluten Free Vegan Raspberry Squares.
1/2 c. almond flour
1/2 c. brown rice flour
1/4 c. tapioca starch
1/4 c. coconut flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. gluten free oats
1/2 c. quinoa flakes
3 tbsp. palm sugar
1/2 – 2/3 c. coconut oil
3 c. thawed raspberries, with as much of the liquid drained as you can.
3 – 4 tbsp. honey or agave nectar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cardamom
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Whisk together flours, baking powder and salt. Add oats, quinoa flakes and palm sugar and mix until evenly distributed.
- Add in unmelted coconut oil. Using your fingers, work the coconut oil into the flour mixture until there are no lumps remaining and the mixture is crumbly.
- In a separate bowl, stir together raspberries, honey and spices. Add more sweetener to reach desired sweetness.
- Press over half of the crumb mixture into a greased 8″ square pan. Scoop the raspberries onto the pressed bar mixture and distribute evenly. Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture on top of the raspberries and pat lightly.
- Bake in heated oven for 30 – 40 minutes or until topping is light brown.
- Cool completely before cutting into squares.
What is your favourite kind of dessert bar?
*I wanted a chocolate free bar as I’m not sure whether I should eat it as I react negatively to caffeine and potentially cocoa. It makes me a bit sad, but anything to make my body feel good and function properly is worth it in the end. Or at least that’s what I tell myself.