The more I do this, the more I notice that some of my better recipes are born out of complete chance. Take these bars for example, which were created out of a lack of almond flour. I set out to develop these bars as a gluten-free dessert option, which I have gotten a lot of requests for after releasing my Sour Cream & Cheddar Biscuits and Double Chocolate Scones, both of which are very much not gluten free.
I wanted to incorporate a mix of almond flour and a gluten free one-to-one baking blend, but realized halfway through adding ingredients to my bowl that I only had half the amount of almond flour I had planned on using. Insert: walnuts and a high-speed blender. I just eyeballed the amount of walnut halves I thought would make roughly ½ cup and pulsed them until they resembled coarse flour.
In retrospect, I think any nut flour would work in this recipe, with the exception of coconut flour. Coconut flour is a whole different beast, absorbs liquid at insane rates, and simply won’t work in this recipe. Other than that, feel free to get creative with your nuts in this crust. Macadamia, walnut, almond, maybe even pecan would all probably taste delicious and offer similar effects when combined with the gluten-free flour blend.
As far as fruit filling goes, I personally love the combination of fresh spring strawberries with the pineapple. I happened to have a ton of frozen pineapple and fresh berries that were on the verge of going bad, and the combination ended up being exactly what I was looking for. Sweet, with a hint of tropical, and a little vibrance from the freshly-squeezed lemon…. Yum! This recipe is versatile in that you can use whatever fruit you want, and it can be frozen, fresh, or a mixture of the two. Totally up to you, as long as the amounts remain the same (2.5 cups fruit, total).
In the realm of desserts, this one is pretty healthy, but definitely not shy in the flavor or satisfaction departments. I hope you enjoy this one, and don’t forget to share and tag me @theardentcook on Instagram!
For The Crust:
½ cup almond flour
½ cup ground walnuts (see recipe notes above)
1.5 cup gluten free flour blend (use a cup-for-cup option)
⅓ cup coconut sugar
1 tsp almond extract
11 TBSP butter, cold
½ tsp cinnamon
For The Filling:
1.5 cups strawberries, crushed or cut into smaller pieces
1 cup pineapple, crushed or cut into smaller pieces
¼ cup coconut sugar
4 TBSP fresh lemon juice (about ½ lemon)
1 TBSP gluten free flour blend
- Cube cold butter into ½ in cubes.
- Combine almond flour, ground walnuts, gluten free flour blend, coconut sugar, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. Whisk to combine.
- Using your fingers, work butter into the flour mixture until it is broken down and incorporated. The dough will look coarse and crumby.
- Add eggs and fold to combine, creating a moist dough. Gather dough into a ball and cover with a damp paper towel or dish towel. Chill for at least 30 minutes
- While the dough chills, make the filling. Combine fruit, coconut sugar, lemon juice, salt, and gluten free flour blend in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- Bring filling to a boil, then simmer for another 5-7 minutes, until thickened. Transfer to a bowl and cool in the fridge while you bake the bottom layer of crust.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Divide chilled dough in half. Using your fingertips, press the first ½ of the dough into the bottom of a 7×11 inch glass baking dish lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes.
- When the first layer of dough is finished baking, add the cooled fruit filling on top. Crumble the remaining ½ of the dough on top of the filling in an even layer. Bake the entire pan for an additional 25-30 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling and the top is golden brown.
- Let bars cool completely before slicing. Serve as is or with a side of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!