Gluten-Free Creamy Apple Custard Bars

Somewhere around 7:15 last night I was thinking “I really need to make a dessert for tomorrow” (Wednesday is “natural dessert day” for our family) … but on second thought, I really don’t want to wait up until it cools so maybe I’ll just make it tomorrow.

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So this morning when I finally got around to working on it I was thrilled 😉 to find out that my general idea really wasn’t going to work. Some key ingredients were lacking…

Moving on to plan B.

I have 2 brothers and a sister who are really trying to avoid gluten right now (due to some ongoing persistent health issues) and of course Wednesday is *natural* dessert day, which means replacing white sugar with substitutes like honey, maple syrup, agave, or coconut sugar… to be quite honest, sometimes I feel like I’m running out of great ideas (that fit into these categories) for what to make that’s new and *yummy*.

Does anyone else relate? 🙂

But hey – working with health problems and food restrictions is really a fun challenge that I seriously do enjoy! And I love it all the more if I can make something really happy come out of the oven in the end. Something that the people I love actually *enjoy* and talk about – and ask me to make again.

Quite honestly, I love gluten. I love white sugar and brown sugar. 🙂 But I also love healthier substitutions – when they taste incredible! And why shouldn’t the people who have dietary restrictions have really yummy great-tasting stuff too!?

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I was trying to recreate something that I made up for my brother’s bakery last year – Sour Cream Apple Pie Bars with a Spiced Brown Sugar Crumb Topping. The only problem is that I had to rule out white flour and wheat flour – and as we were missing some of the key gluten free flours needed to make my favorite gluten free flour blend, I had to resort to some leftover gluten free flour that most of us really don’t like that much. 😉

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When it came time to make the filling I didn’t really have any gluten free flour left (nor did I want to put that stuff in!) so I used a little Tapioca Starch for thickening and added an extra egg (I used liquid sweeteners instead of usual dry sugars too which made it a whole different consistency).

And a few other changes…

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Which is why I told the early dessert eaters (a few were heading out the door before the dessert was actually completely chilled through and through) “Go ahead and eat at your own risk… I really tried but I don’t know if it’s going to taste that good!” 😉 …

It. was. delicious. (It was one of those “oh yeah!!” moments 😉 )

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You never do know what will happen when you throw some things together. So have fun, make the most of opportunities like this one… and enjoy to the fullest! 😉

Since I don’t have the time or desire to post this one in the shop right this moment (sort of up to my ears in work projects here), it’s here for the taking! Grab it and save it if looks good to you – because I may take it off in the not-so-distant-future and add it to the shop.

Gluten Free Creamy Apple Custard Bars

1. To make the crust, combine the following ingredients in a medium mixing bowl, and blend until thoroughly combined (you will have thick moist crumbs):

1 stick butter, softened

1/2 cup coconut sugar (or white sugar)

1 cup quick oats

1 cup gluten free flour (I used this one that we had floating around…)

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 cup molasses (not blackstrap molasses)

2. Press the crumbs into the bottom of a greased 9 x 13″ pan and set aside while you mix up the filling (just a side note here – the crumbs really don’t taste that impressive raw 😉 … )

3. To make the filling, combine the following ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir until well mixed:

3/4 cup pure maple syrup (ours is organic)

1/2 cup honey

1 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 cup tapioca starch (also called tapioca flour)

5 eggs

3 large apples (very large ones! – I used Jonagold Apples) peeled and chopped into small pieces

4. Pour the filling over the crust, and bake in preheated 325 degree oven x 45 minutes (or until set). The edges will be golden brown and the top will look kind of foamy, but should not be wet when you jiggle it lightly.

5. Remove from oven and cool – when it is slightly warm still place in the refrigerator and chill completely.

Note: I chilled mine for several hours – it was creamy, fresh, and delicious! I have had some desserts get rather dried out from refrigerating overnight, so not sure what would happen with this one.

That’s about it… now dish it up and serve it out. Enjoy!! 🙂

And now… I’m off to finish up another gluten free recipe that I’ve been wanting to try for a while now – you know a “someday” project that gets pinned somewhere for a rainy sort of day? Well, today I made myself spend the majority of the morning in our kitchen (between Apple Bars, lunch, and this new recipe) so that I could tackle it. And my guess is that once my family has finished snitching samples fresh from the oven, I’ll be shipping the rest out the door – to some sweet person that comes to mind.

After all, we’ve already had dessert today. 🙂

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