Last Monday of March, a month that makes me happy for several reasons. I was born in March, Phil and I got married 15 years ago in March, and the month also welcomes the beginning of Spring.  Can you fully grasp the unmeasurable joy associated with it? It means I survived another winter, and here I am, alive and kicking to share with you one more adventure as part of The Secret Recipe Club.   You know, that event that pairs two food bloggers in secret, and then the whole group posts about their chosen dish at exactly the same time. My assignment this month was the blog Without Adornment, hosted by Bean. She has a degree in Chemical Engineering, and her hobbies are cooking/baking, and photography, so of course her blog is a perfect venue to showcase her talent.  I was thrilled by this assignment, because Bean is a very accomplished baker who must make exclusively gluten-free recipes. Those of you who have gluten allergies know how tricky it can be to try and mimic the delicious cookies, breads, pies, and muffins that rely on gluten for perfect texture and taste. Browsing her blog really opened my horizons and the list of goodies I wanted to try was extensive.  To name a few, I was inclined to bake a batch of her White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies with Cranberries,  then almost chose her Gluten-Free Pear Clafoutis, Another amazing option that I will bake soon: Dairy Free Creme Brulée (using coconut milk, how sweet is that?). As usual, savory stuff appeals a lot to me, so I also saved her Vegan Walnut Zucchini Crackers for final consideration. After a little bit of a mental struggle,  I went with her Raspberry Bars, in part because they use quinoa flakes and I had a box sitting in my pantry begging to come out and play.  I could not miss the opportunity…


(from Without Adornment)

1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup oats
1/2 cup quinoa flakes
3 tbsp. palm sugar
1/2 – 2/3 c. coconut oil
3 cup thawed raspberries, with as much of the liquid drained as you can.
3 – 4 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cardamom
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350F.

Whisk together flours, baking powder and salt. Add oats, quinoa flakes and palm sugar and mix until evenly distributed. Add in unmelted coconut oil. Using your fingers, work the coconut oil into the flour mixture until there are no lumps remaining and the mixture is crumbly.

In a separate bowl, stir together raspberries, honey and spices. Add more sweetener to reach desired sweetness. Press over half of the crumb mixture into a greased 8″ square pan. Scoop the raspberries onto the pressed bar mixture and distribute evenly. Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture on top of the raspberries and pat lightly.

Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until topping is light brown.

Cool completely before cutting into squares.


to print the recipe, click here


Comments:  I changed the recipe slightly by using a mixture of raspberries and blueberries, as the price tag on the raspberries was a little high. I don’t think it hurt anything, it just made the color of the filling darker than Bean’s concoction, and also a bit more chunky, as the blueberries retain their shape. The cute box of quinoa flakes was one of those classic impulse buys that I am often a victim of. But I knew the flakes would come in handy, and was glad to be able to use them in this recipe.


Gluten-free baking is really a huge challenge, because without gluten to provide that nice, elastic structure, baked goods tend to be dry, and much less pleasant to eat. However, using the right mixture of flours and grains, one can get close enough to the “real thing” and these bars are a perfect success story.  I took the squares to the department and did not mention they were gluten-free. Nobody seemed to notice, and they were inhaled in a little over one hour.  I call it a success story indeed.

Bean, I hope you had as much fun with your assignment as I had with mine!  And for those reading my blog, make sure to click on the blue amphibian smiling at you at the very end.  She (or he, who knows?) will take you to a new page showing all the tasty concoctions made by my virtual friends of The Secret Recipe Club.  Enjoy the collection!

ONE YEAR AGO: Lasserre, a French Classic

TWO YEARS AGO: Sourdough Bread with Walnuts and Dates

THREE YEARS AGO: Braised Brisket with Bourbon-Apricot Glaze

FOUR YEARS AGO: The Real Vodka Sauce

FIVE YEARS AGO: Pork Tenderloin and Blue Cheese


  1. I have a good friend who can’t be friends with gluten and I struggle finding new things to cook when she comes over for dinner. Thanks for introducing me and I’m sure my friend will be grateful too.


    • I am friendly with all food items, but love a little challenge and cook different stuff, as you know… 😉 these were nice and well-received by the departmental crowd… *just like your brownies today, they were INHALED!)


  2. The challenges for those who cannot eat gluten makes me feel fortunate not to have any food allergies or restrictions.Kudos on sharing this delicious looking dessert on your blog.


  3. March ending means that April is coming…which means that spring is one step closer!! #silverlining 🙂 These berry bars sound so tasty! The perfect way to woo the warm weather into returning.


  4. Yay! I’m glad that you liked them! These bars are one of my favourites!

    It’s good to know I’m not the only one who falls victim to “on a whim” purchases. But your quinoa flakes were totally justifiable. 😉

    Thanks for all your kind words! Take care! 🙂


    • OH, the purchase on a whim is a serious problem with me… sometimes I do have a recipe in mind, but then I forget where I read it. It is an ordeal… self-inflicted ordeal… but fun, right?


  5. Quinoa flakes? Never heard of that and now I’m intrigued. Gluten free baking is still a challenge for me but I love having easy recipes like this to try!!


    • THanks for stopping by! I now have to find more uses to get to the rest of the box… I know Kelly from Inspired Edibles has some recipes using it, just have to stop by her site and do my homework. Or pantrywork.. 😉


  6. That is a whole lot of March joy going on 😉 — happy celebrating on all fronts :D. These bars sound so yummy and what a diverse and interesting mix of plants and grains all coming together with the gorgeous raspberry (my fave berry – there’s just no denying it)…. yum! I can taste them from here. What a lovely treat and you could easily sub maple syrup — you know, that Canadian pure stuff lol — for vegans who don’t eat honey.


    • great tip on the maple syrup – BTW we bought a fantastic bottle of maple syrup in Maryland a week ago… Phil bought it, actually. He is acting quite protective of it, but since he raided my stash of dried figs (leaving TWO inside to tease me), I might just grab the bottle and run away with it. Marital bliss at its best!


  7. I have a whole bag of quinoa flakes that I bought and never used. I’m totally making this!!! Thanks for sharing such a great recipe with us, Sally! Glad to hear you survived another winter! And a very happy Anniversary!


  8. I’m so intrigued about this recipe. I have never baked anything like this before, using gf flours and whatnot. We have been eating gluten free for several weeks now. Not because we are gluten intolerant but just as an experiment. Can’t believe how light and energetic we feel. It really is quite easy to go gluten free, well, especially if you don’t really have a sweet tooth. But, every now and then a nice baked treat is nice. These raspberry bars looks fantastic!


  9. Pingback: Prawn Masala - Tara's Multicultural Table

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