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A Birthday Surprise

I was invited to a birthday lunch surprise... and I managed to keep a secret! Boo-yah!
Yeah, everyone was actually surprised that I kept a secret - but I can keep secrets when they are important like that :)

My friend and her family often eat gluten free - and they try to eat as organically as they can afford to because not only is it good for you, they also do it for her young son that is overcoming autism.

So I asked if I could bake something and bring it to the party and they said Yes! Yippee.

This comes from "At Tiffany's Table" by Tiffany Perez. Tiffany suffered from Crohn's Disease and healed her illness with food! Ultimately, she gave up refined sugar completely. She does eat desserts though - made with honey or maple syrup. She mainly uses raw honey and raw milk. She also bakes with her own freshly ground wheat. I'm looking forward to trying many recipes in this book (I'll just have to adapt them to my circumstances - i.e. regular milk, regular honey, etc.)

Well, I didn't use raw honey in my bars because I don't really know what that is and it's probably very expensive. I actually used the cheapest honey I could find because it's kind of expensive already.

My Mom sent me this book for my birthday because ultimately I'd like to be in control of my own sugar addiction. I figure, if I bake with honey, I probably won't bake as much because it's so costly.

These bars were pretty good - when I cut the bars into even pieces, I trimmed the sides, and I put the extras into a bowl with vanilla vla (pudding) and it was like my own little mock trifle - ready to eat like that. Cuz, you know, I love a good trifle, even when I'm in a hurry.

Blackberry Coconut Macaroon Bars
slightly adapted from original recipe

6 egg whites (best at room temp.)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
4 cups finely grated, unsweetened coconut
2 teaspoons arrowroot or cornstarch
1 cup finely-chopped almonds
1 jar naturally-sweetened blackberry jam (St. Dalfour makes a good one)

Whip egg whites with salt until soft peaks form. Pour in arrowroot then add honey a little at a time mixing in between each addition. Fold in extracts, coconut, and almonds.

Spread into a greased 9x13 inch pan (actually I used parchment paper in my casserole dish because this make for easier clean-up - and taking them out and cutting them, etc.) Spread layer of jam on top of the coconut batter (I like to microwave the jam in a bowl first and mix it around good before I spread over batter - spread easily and evenly this way.)

Bake in a pre-heated oven 300-F or 150-C for 35 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan then cut into bars. (I baked them in the evening, then let them cool over-night before cutting them).


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