If I’m being honest, I am not a desserts/sweets person. I am not a skilled baker (or at least don’t consider myself one), and I don’t crave sugar. I barely enjoy chocolate. The exception to this, of course, is Easter, when I will actually eat an entire bag or two of Robin Egg malt-balls. This is followed by whining, bellyaching, swearing I’ll never do it again, and then doing it the following year. Remember that one time when I said I liked consistency? Yeah, that’s it.
This little number is a collaboration with my favorite little baker, Bri. Bri, my sassy sous chef/kitchen associate/future legal representation is, in fact, quite a skilled baker… which is why she can be so sassy. This girl knocked out HUNDREDS of homemade macaroons for a New Year’s Party (“It’ll only take a few days to make! No big deal, I swear!”), is the queen of a good chocolate cake, and has this inexplicable connection with her KitchenAid mixer… move over, Jesus; this girl may not turn water into wine, but she might turn it into some cream puffs. Those two would throw a great afternoon tea.
And so – with her taking the lead on dessert, these delicious little squares came about. They are Paleo, Vegan, and a perfect treat that’s not too sweet. We were feeling really granola and farm-to-table this day, so we used raspberries from the garden outside. Some were black, some yellow, but the majority of which were red, giving it this really nice color. Adding chia seeds made up for the lack of volume in berries we had on hand, since the jam thickened and increased the volume once the chia seeds absorbed some moisture.
This recipe, while it has no true cultural ties to celebrate and lacks an inherent spiritual message within the food itself, is about having help when you need it. There’s always extra helping hands in the kitchen on Sundays, but sometimes it’s good to just let Bri (or Jesus) take the wheel and make the dessert. Let people shine where they will and share the responsibilities – it makes it easier on everyone 🙂 This recipe is broken up into 3 parts – the crust, filling and topping. Since most of this needs to cool, separately, I try to do whatever I can while each is set aside.
Vegan/Paleo Raspberry Crumb Squares
- 2 cups fresh raspberries – can use frozen if you want
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp raw honey or maple syrup
- ~1/2 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 2 cups almond flour
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp water
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 1 cup pecans
- ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 2 tbsp coconut sugar
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- ¼ tsp salt
- You can start with the filling, since this needs to cool the most. In a medium sized pan, mix raspberries, lemon juice, zest and honey. Heat over medium high heat until it starts to simmer/bubble. Let cook for 2-3 minutes, then turn heat to low. With a wooden spoon, break up the berries into a mash. Continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes, then remove from heat.
- Stir in the chia seeds, and continue to let cool. If you want to do this step ahead of time, you can allow the raspberry mixture to cool overnight – we let it cool for about an hour while we made everything else.
- Once you’ve done your jam filling, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a small square pan (We had a 9x9in – anything bigger and your crust will be too thin!).
- Mix together almond flour, coconut oil, vanilla, maple syrup, water and salt in a food processor. Pulse on high power until texture is crumbly. Press mixture evenly to the bottom of the pan, making sure there are no air bubbles. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Set aside.
- Now, for the crumb mixture on top, add the pecans, coconut, coconut sugar, coconut oil, maple syrup and salt to the food processor and pulse until crumbly…. for about 10-15 seconds.
- Get your jam filling back out, and spread it over the crust. Add the crumb mixture on top.
- Place back in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until the crumble turns golden brown.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool. Slice into squares and enjoy!