Let's be honest. I am here today to tempt you. To coax you. To seduce you with a gluten-free dessert worthy of every single luscious calorie. In full transparency, I am admitting up front these are not fat-free. Or sugar-free. These aren't diet food. They're not proper for breakfast (unless you serve them with Champagne).
And you won't be able to sigh ever-so-wistfully at parties and mention, off hand, how hard it is to eat gluten-free at family gatherings and parties. Because, Darling Reader, you'll score zero sympathy points once people sink their teeth into the luscious raspberry jam filling nestled between buttery toasted coconut-almond crunch topping and tender hazelnut cookie crust. Nope.
In fact, these decadent raspberry coconut-almond bars should come with a warning: Be careful who you share these with. Because they are sure to fall madly in love with you.
Karina's Raspberry Coconut-Almond Cookie Bar Recipe
By Karina Allrich December 2010.These luscious little vegan beauties are sticky sweet, buttery and decadent. A truly tempting dessert treat. Go ahead and indulge. Bake up a batch. Make friends.
1 cup ground hazelnut or almond flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch/flour
1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup Earth Balance stick, or butter if you prefer dairy
1 teaspoon bourbon vanilla
14 oz. really good raspberry jam or preserves
For the crumble topping:
1/2 cup sorghum or brown rice flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon bourbon vanilla
5 tablespoons Earth Balance
For the coconut-almond topping:
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
2/3 cup sliced almonds
4 tablespoons Earth Balance
1/2 teaspoon bourbon vanilla extract
Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF.
Prepare a 9x13-inch baking pan by lining it with parchment paper. Cut a piece large enough to extend up both long sides of the pan- so you can grip it later, after baking, and lift the cookie bars out in one piece.
First, make the bottom cookie crust. In a large mixing bowl, whisk to combine the flours, sugar, xanthan gum, salt and spices. Cut in the shortening and vanilla- I use the whisk attachment on my Kitchen Aid stand mixer to cut the shortening into the flour blend. You could also use an old fashioned pastry cutter. The dough should be crumbly, a bit sandy, but moist enough that it sticks together when you pinch it.
Scoop the dough into the prepared baking pan and press it out evenly to form a cookie crust.
Bake the crust in the center of a preheated oven for 7 minutes- just to "set" it.
Remove from the oven and set aside. Keep the oven heated.
In a bowl, combine the sorghum flour and brown sugar. Drizzle with the vanilla extract and dabs of the shortening. Rub together with the palms of your hands to create crumbles. Set aside.
To make the coconut-almond mixture- gently melt the vegan butter in a saucepan. Add the flaked coconut, sliced almonds and vanilla and stir to coat. Remove from heat and set aside.
While the crust is still a bit warm, spoon on the raspberry jam and using the back of a spoon spread it evenly over the crust, up to the edges- leaving about 1/4-inch bare crust on all sides.
Sprinkle on the crumble topping.
Spoon on the coconut-almond mixture and spread it evenly all over the top.
Bake in the center of the preheated oven for 22 minutes. The raspberry jam will be bubbling and the crumble topping will be golden and the coconut toasted. The center of the top may still feel a bit soft- that's okay; it will set as as it cools.
Remove the pan to a wire rack to cool. When the cookie bars are completely cool, gently loosen any stuck edges around the sides of the pan. Place a sturdy cutting board next to the pan (at least the same size as the pan). Lift the bars from the pan using the parchment paper as a grip on each side and move the whole big piece to the cutting board. Place the board in the freezer to chill the bars. Say, twenty minutes or so. Remove the bars and slice with a large sharp knife.
Makes 18 generous bars. You could skimp on size to squeeze more serving pieces out of the recipe. But. Then you'll probably end up eating two, anyway.
Wrap leftover bars, bag and freeze.
Cook time: 22 min
Yield: 24 bars - These babies are sugary and rich.
Cool before cutting (if you can resist!) to keep them from crumbling.
Store chilled for best texture.
If you prefer using dairy, butter will work.
Coconut oil can be slightly oily, so when I use it in this recipe, I use a little less.
Enjoy sugary treats in moderation. Gluten-Free Goddess advises consuming no more than 2 tablespoons of sugar a day.
More gluten-free cookie recipes from food bloggers:Ginger Lemon Girl's Gluten-Free Snickerdoodle Cookie Recipe
Elana's Pantry bakes up Pecan Shortbread Cookies