Our Paleo Family

Raspberry Almond Squares (gluten, dairy and egg free)

One thing I feel like needs to be said as I’m posting all these cookie recipes is that these are paleo recipes, not autoimmune protocol compliant recipes. I have been following the autoimmune protocol (AIP) on and off for a year and honestly, I feel very little difference when I am avoiding eggs, nuts, seeds and nightshades than when I’m not. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, it’s easier to be less restrictive in my cooking and eating. On the other hand, I’d rather see a clear difference in how I feel when I eat eggs, for example, compared to when I don’t. Whether these foods are affecting my level of inflammation is yet to be seen and that is frustrating.

So for this holiday season, I’m posting paleo cookie recipes. There are AIP friendly flours that I am experimenting with, such as cassava and water chestnut, but they are more expensive than most paleo flours and are not as easily available. It’s important to me that I post recipes that are within reach of everyone. If you read a list of ingredients in a recipe and see that over half of them are things you don’t have in your pantry or can’t find in your local store or have never even heard of, I think you’re less likely to try that recipe. And I want you to try these recipes!

Now, on to the cookies!

Way back when my kids were itty-bitty, I was in a meal exchange group with a bunch of women from my church. We all had young kids and were struggling to get good, healthy meals on the table. So once a month we would each cook up a storm, then get together to swap our meals. Everyone came away with 8-10 dinners ready to pop out of the freezer and into the oven. It was a true life saver during those busy days with very little ones.

One year, we all decided that for our December meal exchange, we would do a cookie swap as well. My dear friend, Meg, showed up with these raspberry almond bars and my family was over the moon for them at the very first taste. I was actually a little bitter that we only got a few of them at the exchange. Thankfully, Meg was very generous and gave me the recipe and I’ve been making it every Christmas since.

This recipe was at the top of the “must convert to paleo” list and I’m so thankful that they turned out really, really close to the original.

I sent a batch of these with my son to his youth group Christmas party last night. The reviews were mixed.

My husband was thrilled that more than half of them came home. That might seem like a failure, but he was thrilled they were not eaten. More for him. He’s kind of selfish. We’re working on that.

When my son’s friend got in the car and I commented that not many of the cookies were eaten, he said, “Yeah, kids don’t want that healthy stuff.” Ha! Gotta love the honesty of children. I suppose if I had not labeled them gluten free, dairy free and egg free, more would have been consumed. Oh well. Worked out great for us in the end!

So just ignore what the kids said and know these are amazing!

I hope you enjoy these as much as we do.

Raspberry Almond Bars
Print Recipe
A crisp, flaky shortbread type crust, smeared with raspberry jam and topped off with a delicious almond paste crumb.
Servings Prep Time
16 bars 20 minutes
Cook Time
35 minutes
Servings Prep Time
16 bars 20 minutes
Cook Time
35 minutes
Raspberry Almond Bars
Print Recipe
A crisp, flaky shortbread type crust, smeared with raspberry jam and topped off with a delicious almond paste crumb.
Servings Prep Time
16 bars 20 minutes
Cook Time
35 minutes
Servings Prep Time
16 bars 20 minutes
Cook Time
35 minutes
Ingredients
Crust
Topping
Additional Ingredient
Glaze
Servings: bars
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a 9x9 baking pan with coconut oil, palm shortening or butter if you can eat dairy. Set aside.
  3. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine all crust ingredients. You can use a fork, pastry blender or your hands (my preference) to mix all ingredients well. Spread into prepared pan. I find an offset spatula* works best for this.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes, just until beginning to brown around the edges.
  5. While the crust is baking, prepare the topping by mixing the topping ingredients well. You can use the same mixing bowl you used earlier. The almond paste is hard and I find it easiest to mix this by hand. If you have a small food processor* that would work well too.
  6. Prepare your jam to spread over the baked crust. I could not find a seedless jam in my local stores that did not contain corn syrup so I bought one with seeds and used a small, fine mesh strainer to get the seeds out. This was a pain, but I got a nice arm workout. If you're using your jam as is without straining, be sure to give it a stir to loosen it up a bit. Otherwise, when you go to spread it on your crust, you could tear the crust. Spread the jam evenly over the crust.
  7. Crumble the topping over the jam so that it is evenly distributed.
  8. Return to the 350 degree oven for 20 more minutes.
  9. If you want to gild the lily, you can prepare the glaze by simply mixing all ingredients together in a small bowl and drizzle that over the top of your cooled bars. It's really good both ways, with and without the glaze.
Recipe Notes

Tool and Ingredient Notes:

  • An offset spatula is a really handy kitchen tool. I use them for icing cakes, spreading batters and even serving cakes.
  • Mini Cuisinart Food Processor: useful for chopping nuts, blending small batches of soups and smoothies. This is another kitchen gadget I use at least 3 or 4 times a week.
  • Almond paste is an intensely almond flavored paste. Be careful when you buy this as some brands contain wheat. Solo Brand is gluten free. Technically this isn't paleo since it contains refined sugar. I suppose it is possible to make your own, but this is one place where I will make an exception and use the convenience product.
  • Coconut manna, also called coconut butter, is a thick coconut product that is great for making icings. It sort of tastes like icing right out of the jar. I use this one. 
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