Monday, March 17, 2008

Easter gluten-free blueberry-raspberry streusel bars

You don't have give up high-quality grains with fiber and protein just because you have stomach issues like IBS. For a number of years, I was afraid to try anything except rice because I feared what higher fiber would do to my system. Then I discovered Quinoa (pronounced Keen wa). This ancient grain is one of the best grains for someone with stomach issues like IBS because it's easily digestible and gluten-free but yet high in protein and soluble fiber.

I decided to incorporate quinoa into an Easter dessert which also has antioxidant-rich blueberries and raspberries. The bars are made with quinoa flakes but you also can use gluten-free rolled oats. I've never been able to tolerate oats that are added to a recipe raw but I can handle quinoa. The gluten-free blueberry-raspberry streusel bars were so delicious that they even got rave reviews from my gluten-eating, non-stomach issue family and friends.

Easter Gluten-free Blueberry-Raspberry Streusel Bars
(Makes 2 dozen bars)
Adapted from a recipe used by the Cooqi, a bakery in St. Paul, Minn.

Gluten-free flour mix: 2 cups rice flour, 1 cup tapioca starch, 1 1/2 tsp. xanthum gum

For the bars:

1 2/3 cup quinoa flakes (or 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats and 2/3 cup quinoa flakes)

1 - 1 1/4 cups organic sugar, divided (I'd like to try these next time with brown rice syrup or agave nectar. I would use less than the sugar.)

3/4 tsp. cinnamon, divided

1/4 tsp. salt

3/4 cup olive oil or safflower oil (or butter if you can handle dairy)

2 T. tapioca starch

3 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen blueberries, defrosted)

1 1/2 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen, defrosted)

1 T. orange juice concentrate

1-2 tsp. orange zest

Pan spray

egg replacer for 1 egg or 1 organic egg


Preheat over to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 X 13-inch baking pan with pan spray. In a medium bowl, combine 1 2/3 cups gluten-free flour mix, quinoa flakes (or quinoa/oats mixture), 3/4-1 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and salt.

Mix the vegetable oil into the mixture using a pastry blender or spoon. Divide the mixture in half. Reserve half and evenly press other half into the bottom of your prepared baking pan. Bake 13-15 minutes, until mixture has solidified but not started to turn brown. Remove from the oven to cool.

In a heavy pan, combine 1/4 cup sugar, tapioca starch and 1/4 tsp. cinnamon. Add the berries, orange juice and zest. Gently stir to coat berries with other ingredients. Cook for another 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until blueberries are soft and raspberries become saucelike.

Remove from the heat and pour over baked crust. Add egg replacer to remaining unbaked crumb mixture, mix until well blended and dough holds together.

Pick up the dough in your hands and crumble it all over the top of the fruit in the pan. Spead the streusel topping around evening with your hands or a fork.

Return pan to oven and bake 30-40 minutes, until fruit appears bubbly and streusel topping is slightly browned. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Place the pan in the refrigerator to continue the cooling process. The bars can be a bit crumbly so, if possible, allow the pan of streusel bars to stay in the refrigerator overnight before cutting.

Make the bars a real treat by serving on a plate with vanilla Rice Dream frozen dessert, topped with a spoon of raspberries and a smidge of Wax Orchards raspberry syrup, fruit-juice sweetened.

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