Gluten intolerance, celiac disease, allergic reactions to gluten… all of these phrases are a little bit scary/daunting to me. As a fervent bread-worshipper, I can’t imagine having to give up this far-reaching ingredient. It shows up in the obvious places (bread, pasta, crackers, cake) – but also in the not-so-obvious (sauces, salad dressings, and the like). I imagine that eliminating gluten from your diet completely would take some pretty major adjustments.
Gluten-free cooking is not something in which I am especially well-versed. Sure, some of the recipes I post here happen to be naturally gluten-free, but I typically don’t venture into the world of gluten-free breads, baked goods, or anything requiring a flour substitute or other foreign-to-me ingredient. These crumb bars represented a challenge – uncharted waters in the kitchen. I felt excited to give them a try, finding a basic recipe online and making due with the gluten-free flour varieties I have on hand (thanks to Aran’s giveaway – the only one I’ve ever won!).
The occasion? Our monthly book club meeting. As my gluten-free friend Marice was hosting, I thought it appropriate to dive head first into this complicated world of baking without gluten. The result? Delicious, fluffy crumb bars with a hefty layer of fresh strawberries in blueberries… the perfect dessert to foreshadow many summer evening meals ending with fruit-filled desserts and sticky fingers. I can see this recipe making future appearances in our house – with whatever fruit looks best at the market that day.
Peaches and raspberries would make a really nice version, I think. What types of fruit would you use?
Gluten-Free Berry Crumb Bars
Adapted from this recipe
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup salted butter, chilled (1 stick)
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon milk
1 pint fresh blueberries
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, stems removed and roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Grease an 8x8" baking pan.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the brown rice flour, cornstarch, tapioca flour, potato starch, white and brown sugar, and baking powder.
Using a pastry cutter or a fork, cut the butter and eggs into the flour mixture. The dough should be crumbly.
Divide the dough in half. Add the milk to one half and mix until the dough can be formed into a ball. Press this half into the bottom of the baking pan.
Cover the dough with the blueberries and strawberries. Sprinkle the remaining dough over the berries.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until the top has started to brown. Let cool completely, cut into 16 squares.