Coconut Berry Bars (Gluten Free)

This week at home has been so relaxing and fun.  Lots of movies, ice cream, reading (in the beautiful weather outside!!!), and some bike riding.  I was really pleased today to find out that I can still bike hills without dying, even though I’ve grown accustomed to Buffalo’s flat terrain.  A nice little nod to the fact that I’ve apparently kept myself in pretty decent shape, although I’ve cut down my workout time to 20-30 minutes a day, if that.  Hooray for high interval circuits and kettle bells!

With all the relaxing and hanging out with family I’ve been doing, I actually haven’t gotten in the kitchen very much (my dad made muffins this morning, and my mom came down telling me how good it smelled, excited that I made something.. my poor daddo, not getting any credit), but I do have these delicious bars that I made as another treat for the gluten free eaters of the family for our Father’s Day picnic. 
These bars were the perfect way to get rid of the berries in my fridge before I left Buffalo, since there was pretty much a 3% chance that Alex would actually eat them.  I made a raspberry and strawberry chia jam by cooking down the berries with a little lemon juice and honey and then thickening it up with a tablespoon of chia seeds.  Quick way to use up berries for a delicious jam, and it went great on these bars.  Use your favorite jam or preserves – they’ll all taste delicious!

These bars have a light coconut flavor from the coconut flour and coconut oil, so I amped it up a bit by sprinkling unsweetened coconut flakes on top before baking, as well.  If coconut isn’t your thing, no big deal – just don’t sprinkle with coconut.  You probably won’t really notice the flavor from the flour, and you can use a more refined coconut oil that doesn’t have the coconut flavor (it’s still just as healthy).  I sweetened these with dates – I am really, really enjoying using them in everything – but you can easily sub honey.

These are lightly sweet and fruity – perfect for summer picnics.  My cousin, who has recently eliminated all processed foods from her diet, as well as eliminating meat and gluten, fell in love with these bars – they don’t often have desserts, since their options are limited.  She took a good chunk of them home with her – always a good sign! :)

Coconut Berry Bars (Gluten Free)

yields one 9x9 inch pan

Coconut Berry Bars (Gluten Free)

  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt (or sea salt)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup dates, ground into paste (or 1/2 cup date paste)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups berry preserves or jam (choose your favorite)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, for topping (optional)

Line a 9x9 inch pan with parchment paper, and preheat the oven to 350ºF.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flours, flax, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or with a hand held mixer), beat the coconut oil, date paste, eggs, and vanilla together, until creamy. Slowly stir in the flour mixture until well combined and a dough forms.

Divide the dough in half and press one half into the bottom of the parchment lined pan evenly. Spread the berry preserves evenly over top of the dough.

On a clean surface, roughly pat the second half of the dough into a square of about 9 inches. Carefully lift the dough and place on top of the berry preserves, pressing lightly (if it breaks apart, that's fine - just cover the preserves as best you can - you'll be covering it with coconut). Sprinkle the top of the dough with coconut flakes, and press lightly to hold them in place.

Bake at 350ºF for 20-25 minutes, until the coconut is golden and they spring back to the touch. Allow to cool in the pan completely before cutting into squares. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days at room temperature or up to 5 days in the fridge.