I started this blog about twenty times in the last few days. I started to write down all the ideas that are noodling around in my head about the relationship between food and creativity, about fucked up relationships with food, about loving to cook and cooking to love, about pleasure and how we associate dietary restrictions with joylessness, and about a hundred other things.
This is not that entry.
I’m meeting a friend for drinks this evening. She’s consistently delightful, and she’s a good sport about eating my kitchen experiments, even when they end up looking really horrible; so, I want to bring her something, an experiment of sorts.
I’ve also been wanting to try my hand at gluten-free baking, and a few weeks ago, while I was flipping through the Rebar: Modern Food cookbook, I found a recipe for gluten-free Apple Pecan Bars.
Only one problem — no apples, and no pecans. But we have loads of frozen mango.
Have I mentioned that my friend loves mango.
So here it is, an experiment in gluten-free baking, adapted, not to the point of unrecognizability, from the Rebar cookbook.
Vegan, Gluten-free Mango Bars
1/4 cup vegan margarine or coconut oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 flax egg (1 Tbsp ground flax seed mixed vigorously into just over 1/4 cup tepid water)
1.5 tsp vanilla
1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 cup oat flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
generous pinch of salt
1.5 cups frozen mango chunks, thawed (seriously, thaw them — yes it takes more time, and yes, you will regret not doing so.)
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup oat flour
1/2 cup vegan margerine
1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup chopped almonds
(Important lesson: Never, never, never use the spice grinder to chop nuts. Just don’t do it.)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 9 by 9 baking pan.
Cream together margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in flax egg until thoroughly combined. Then add applesauce and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, mix together everything else except the nuts and fruit. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones, mix to combine. Fold in mango and almonds.
Combine all the ingredients for the streusel topping and mix until coarse and crumbly.
Pour the batter into the prepared dish. Top with streusel. Bake for 48 minutes.