Last night my sweet tooth struck hard, leaving no option but emergency baking. I know, I know. It’s resolution season and sugar is apparently the new tobacco. Someday I’ll quit, I promise. Maybe when life is less stressful. Or if we have kids.
But seriously, does anyone else hit 9pm and realize that if they don’t eat a cookie, they’ll go insane?
Like cravings for a cigarette, I’d imagine, my needs-sugar-now panic had a trigger: the sight of a coconut layer cake.
Every time we visit our favorite barbecue place, this cake taunts me with its fluffy coconut garnish from under a glass dome. Every time I order our food, I address the coconut cake instead of the cashier. It’s captivating.
Naturally, even ribs, brisket, and three kinds of sauce didn’t put the sugar demon to rest. (And let me stress something: this barbecue is mind-blowing. I usually don’t even eat meat, but there are exceptions.) I schemed over how to get some gluten-free coconut cake while shaking Texas Pete vinegar over my greens. J agreed to drive me to the Food Lion for some flaked coconut after dinner, probably just to shut me up.
After acquiring said coconut, I raced to my computer when we got home, and browsed recipes while munching coconut straight from the bag. Aha! Karina has a recipe for coconut layer cake! Success!
Reading through the ingredients, though, a speck of reason spoke up in the back of my head. But Amy, it cautioned, you’ll have to go back to the store for more ingredients. Also, you can’t eat a whole layer cake by yourself.
I pondered for a second. Damn it. The voice was right.
Fortunately, there’s no shortage of recipe inspiration from the Gluten Free Goddess. I found this recipe for Raspberry Coconut-Almond Bars, and went to work. No jam? We’ve got marmalade and half a bag of chocolate chips. No almond slices? Oats will do. Wait, there are two toppings? Ain’t nobody got time for that! I’ll use half the crust mixture as topping and put it in a smaller pan.
Long story short, I never got my coconut cake, but some surprisingly nice gluten free shortbread crumble bars resulted. Both to eke out rations for the sugar wolves and to keep my inner fat kid from eating the whole pan at once, I wrapped the bars individually and froze all but a few.
Now at least I’ll burn a few calories walking to and from the freezer.
- 1 c. ground hazelnut or almond flour
- 1/2 c. brown rice flour
- 1/4 c. coconut flour
- 1/4 c. tapioca starch
- 1/2 c. light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1/3 c. sugar
- 1 tsp. xanthan gum
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. baking powder
- 3/4 c. butter, vegan buttery substance, or coconut oil
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1-2 Tbsp. water
- 5 oz. semisweet chocolate chips (slightly less than half a bag)
- about a cup of orange marmalade
- 1/2 c. oats
- Preheat oven to 350F and line an 8"x8" pan with parchment. Set aside.
- Whisk together dry ingredients for base. Cut fat in with a pastry blender or two knives. When you've got it down to smallish lumps, rub between your fingers until mixture resembles coarse sand. Add vanilla and 1 Tbsp. of water at a time, mixing just until dough can be pressed into a loose ball.
- Crumble half of dough over the bottom of prepared pan. Use the heel of your hand to press into an even 1/2" layer. Spread marmalade thickly over the surface (about 3/8" thick; more than you would use for toast). Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top.
- Mix oats with remaining dough and crumble over the top of chocolate layer. Press lightly with your palm to create a more or less solid bar.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes until edges begin to brown. Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting in. If you can stand it, freeze before slicing for the prettiest and least crumbly results.