Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Raspberry Bars Supreme

Today has been a good day for me.  I spent time preparing for a Bible study that my husband and I do, then I baked these delicious raspberry bars that received rave reviews!  Before I share my recipe, let me say that I have been reading 1,000 Gluten Free Recipes by Carol Fenster.  I haven't tried very many of her recipes, yet, but I do plan on trying some.  I did, however, make her Raspberry Bars, which were good, but very rich and sweet for my taste.  Everyone loved them, but you know me.  I have made it my goal to cut down on the starches and carbs in my life for several reasons:
     1.  They make me gain weight.
     2.  Too many simple carbs and starches in your diet may lead to Diabetes.
     3.  I have lots of friends and relatives who have Diabetes and can't eat my GF Recipes unless they are 
     4.  I know there are a lot of people out there who have both Celiac Disease/Gluten Intolerance and
          Diabetes.  They are discouraged because they can't eat most of the GF recipes and goodies out there.
     5.  I want to train my children to eat healthy and set them up for a healthy adult life.
I want to create recipes that everyone can enjoy!  Tasty treats that make people want to come back for more, that are still healthy.

Anyway, so I tried Carol's Raspberry Bars.  They tasted good, but it seems that most of her recipes call for her flour blend, which is more starch than it is flour, and this recipe is no exception.  I decided to make my own version, and I think I've finally arrived at a delicious bar that everyone loves.  In fact, one of my toughest critics came back asking for more!

On a side note, sadly the pomegranates I posted about the other day did not make it to another salad that I could document and photograph a recipe of to share.  We ate up all the pomegranate seeds plain and have decided that we simply must make another trip to Wegmans to purchase more!  I'm sure I will post a recipe at some time in the future, perhaps when the initial novelty of eating them straight wears off, and we have the patience to wait for me to actually make something with them!

Please bear with my picture taking skills.  I know that the picture below doesn't do these bars justice, but until I am able to take a photography class or something...

Without further ado, here is my latest recipe:

Raspberry Bars Supreme
2 c. blanched almond flour--or try almond meal or even just processing almonds in your processor with the
       dates--if you try processing them, let us know how it works out for you by posting a comment
8 pitted Deglet dates
1/2 c. melted coconut oil
1/4 c. honey or agave nectar--agave nectar is lower on the glycemic index
1 t. vanilla--make sure it's GF
2 1/2 c. GF whole rolled oats--I use Bob's Red Mill
3/4 t. dried lemon zest/peel--or zest a lemon yourself, not sure how much fresh zest to use
1/2 t. sea salt

1 1/3 c. raspberry preserves (I like the Polaner All Fruit, or Crofter's)
3/4 c. chopped walnuts
1/2 c. unsweetened shredded dried coconut
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips* (Ghirardelli makes DF semi-sweet chips, or use Enjoy Life DF, GF, SF
      semi-sweet chocolate chips)

Preheat the oven to 375 F.  Grease a 9x13 pan, line with parchment paper (leaving a little paper overlapping the ends of the pan), and lightly grease the parchment paper.  Process the almond flour and dates in your food processor until the dates are finely chopped and processed into the flour, making sure not to process long enough to turn the flour into almond butter.  In a small bowl, whisk the oil, honey, and vanilla.  In the bowl of your stand mixer, pour your oats, lemon zest, and salt and start mixing.  As they are mixing, add the almond flour mixture and the oil mixture.  Mix until everything is well incorporated.

Gently press half, or slightly more than half, of the mixture into the bottom of your prepared baking pan.  Then evenly spread the raspberry preserves on top of the bottom layer.

Add the chopped walnuts and shredded coconut to the remaining mixture that is still in your mixing bowl.  Mix until it is well incorporated.  Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the raspberry preserves layer in your baking dish and gently pat it down.  Sprinkle on the chocolate chips and pat down into the topping.

Bake at 375 F for 30-35 minutes, or until the topping is golden.  Remove pan from oven and place on a cooling rack.  Cool in pan.  Remove from the pan after cooled or mostly cooled by gently lifting on the parchment paper at either end of the pan.  Place back on cooling rack if not completely cooled.  Cut into bars after completely cooled.  OR, if you're like my family, you can eat this warm.  It is harder to cut and crumbles a little more, but it's very yummy!

*This got rave reviews.  Everyone loved the bars with the chocolate, though a few commented that the chocolate was unnecessary--the bars would be just as good without!

Final Notes and Giveaways:
One of my favorite GF recipe site is www.thespunkycoconut.com  I love looking at Kelly's recipes and photos.  Everything looks so good, and she uses very little refined sugars and mostly high-protein flours, like almond flour and coconut flour, which I love to use myself.  Kelly recently published her second cookbook, The Spunky Coconut Grain-Free Baked Goods and Desserts.  While I have not personally looked at this book or tried very many of her recipes, rather just drooling over them and gathering ideas (I'm too busy to spend a whole lot of time baking right now), I think this cookbook would be really great for someone who has to eat GF and low-carb.

That said, Shirley, over at Gluten Free Easily, another great recipe site, is hosting a free giveaway for this very cookbook.  Click here to learn how to enter the giveaway!

Hope you all have a wonderful week!


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