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As I have mentioned before, I do not have a gluten intolerance, gluten-free is a preference for me when it comes to baked goods. I started eating gluten-free when I was having some stomach issues and was looking for relief. I do eat gluten, as in I keep regular bread in the house, I just prefer that my desserts are gluten-free as I find they digest better.

This recipe was adapted from Karina Allrich, otherly known as, the Gluten-Free Goddess. Her original recipe Gluten-Free Raspberry Coconut-Almond Bars are more than just tempting. It was Karina’s blog that I found when I first was learning to bake gluten-free. I learned an extreme amount as she has so many posts about how to go gluten-free and adapting for other allergies including dairy. Please check out her blog, you won’t regret it.

Strawberry-Squares-4

Part of what made this recipe so delicious is that I made the filling. I bought no sugar added strawberry jam and fresh strawberries to mix together. In the end I used the fresh strawberries only and made my own spread, I may never buy jam again! Since discovering tapioca pearls as a thickener the way I think about cooking and baking has changed, it has opened some doors for me.

PLEASE REMEMBER that the calories mentioned apply to the brands and quantities of the ingredients I use. Please alter the calories based on the brands and quantities of ingredients you use. Same brand items made in the United States, may have a different calorie content than same brand items made here in Canada, please always read the calories on the label. I calculate the calories in the recipe section of the “Lose It” app on my iPhone. Lose It is available for Android, iOS, Nook, Kindle and on the Web.

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Homemade Strawberry Jam
Ingredients:
– 699 g./25 oz. diced fresh strawberries, 210 calories
– 125 ml/~4 1/4 fl. oz. water, 0 calories
– 1/2 c. (metric)/(.53 c. U.S.)(.44 c. Imperial) Granulated Splenda, 48 calories
– 30 ml./~2 tbsp. small instant tapioca pearls, 68 calories

Directions:
Place the strawberries, water and Splenda in a medium pot and cook them on medium high until it comes to a boil. Lower the temperature to medium low, cover and let simmer 20-30 minutes until the liquid becomes a syrup.

Stir in the tapioca pearls and allow it to simmer uncovered, stirring frequently, for another 20-30 minutes or until the syrup thickens.

Allow the mixture to cool down in a bowl, it will thicken more as it cools.

Yield: 1 serving for the purpose of this recipe, the batch is 326 calories.

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Square Base:
Ingredients:
– 65 g./~ 2 1/4 oz. Nutter’s Sorghum Flour, 221 calories
– 28 g./1 oz. Nutter’s Tapioca Flour/Starch, 101 calories
– 1/4 c. (~.26 c. U.S.)(~.22 c. Imperial) ground almonds or almond meal or almond flour, 137 calories. I grind my own skinless almonds.
– 1/2 c. (metric)/(.53 c. U.S.)(.44 c. Imperial) ground GF Old Fashioned Oats or GF Oat Flour, 165 calories. I grind m own oats.
– 1/4 c. (~.26 c. U.S.)(~.22 c. Imperial) Bob’s Red Mill Coconut Flour, 120 calories
– 1/4 c. (~.26 c. U.S.)(~.22 c. Imperial) Bob’s Red Mill Corn Flour (not corn meal), 110 calories
– 3/4 c. (~.79 c. U.S.)(~.66 c. Imperial) Granulated Splenda, 72 calories
– 4 g./~.14 oz. El Peto GF Xanthan Gum, 10 calories
– 1 1/4 ml./1/4 tsp. El Peto GF Baking Powder, 1 calorie
– 0.63 ml./ 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg, 1 calorie
– 1 1/4 ml./ 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon, 2 calories
– 30 ml./2 tbsp. Earth Balance Organic Coconut Flavor Spread (melted after it’s measured), 210 calories
– 125 ml/~4 1/4 fl. oz. Mott’s Unsweetened Applesauce, 60 calories
– 5 ml./1 tsp. Pure Bourbon Vanilla Extract, 12 calories

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350ºF / 175ºC. Line a 9 x 13 baking pan with parchment paper, allowing the paper to go up the sides of the pan.

In a large mixing bowl combine all the dry ingredients. In a small bowl whisk together the wet ingredients: melted coconut spread, applesauce and vanilla extract.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until the mixture is crumbly, yet sticks together when pinched between your fingers.

Press the dough into the bottom of the lined baking pan. Bake for 7 minutes to set the dough.  Leave the oven on.

Allow the base to cool down so it’s warm and not hot. Spoon the jam onto the base, using the back of your spoon to even it out.

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Crumble Topping
Ingredients:
– 72 g./~2 1/2 oz. Nutter’s Sorghum Flour, 245 calories
– 14 g./ 1/2 oz.  Nutter’s Unsweetened Shredded Coconut, 92 calories
– 1/2 c. (metric)/(.53 c. U.S.)(.44 c. Imperial) Granulated Splenda, 48 calories
– 1 1/4 ml./ 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon, 2 calories
– 2.5 ml./ 1/2 tsp. sea salt, 0 calories
– 22.5 ml./ 1 1/2 tbsp. Mott’s Unsweetened Applesauce, 11 calories
– 30 ml./~2 tbsp. Earth Balance Organic Coconut Flavor Spread (NOT MELTED), 210 calories
– 1/4 c. (~.26 c. U.S.)(~.22 c. Imperial) Western Family Organic Sour Cream, 100 calories
– 2.5 ml./ 1/2 tsp. Pure Bourbon Vanilla Extract, 6 calories

Directions:
In a medium bowl combine all ingredients by hand until you have the crumble. Distribute the crumble evenly over the top of the jam.

Bake for 22 minutes and allow to cool. When mostly cooled grab the parchment paper on the ends and lift the square out of the pan. Once completely cooled, thus set, cut into 16 squares.

Yield: 16 squares, each square is 141 calories.

Strawberry-Squares

I have made these squares before, with apricot jam, and without doing any calorie counting, they were a favourite and a hit with guests then. Even now, with the adjustments for calories, they were still a hit with my family and friends at our Yom Kippur dinner the other night, these squares are full of flavour and a satisfying dessert or snack.

It’s my personal goal to make weight-loss and weight maintenance deliciously easy for you and me. May your journey be scrumptious and the company you keep inspiring and supportive.

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