Guilt-less Desserts & Treats for your Family
The Tale of the Missing Pearl Necklace
When I had 5yo H my parents gave me a pearl and diamond pendant necklace. Dad and I had bought the pendant for Mum when we travelled to Europe many years before to visit my brother when he was working in Spain. It was coming up to their 30th Wedding Anniversary and Dad wanted to get something special for Mum marking their pearl event. We found this ultra-fancy jewellery store in Rome, the kind with a door bell and a body guard, and lowered their clientele standard when we walked in. We found a lovely white pearl pendant and brought it home for Mum.
A few years later I was given the necklace after having H and it has adorned by neck ever since… until 2 weeks ago. I was packing boxes the weekend of our big house move when I noticed that my beloved necklace was missing. We searched everywhere. I even emptied the vacuum and rubbish bin just in case, but it couldn’t be found anywhere. I was devastated. 2 days later we moved and I had given up all hope of seeing my necklace again.
Later that day, in our new house, 5yo H came to me with a giant grin on his face. In his hands was his lunch box, and in his lunch box my beloved pendant! Now, I have no idea how it came to be in my prep boys’ lunch box, how he didn’t accidentally eat it or how it didn’t end up on the floor of his classroom. I was just so thankful that he had found it; and so was he as he remembered the finder’s reward I had offered up on desperate Saturday afternoon as we all crawled around on the floor looking for it. Maybe it was fate or magic, or just sheer bloody good luck, but my necklace is back home and around my neck where it belongs!
This Raspberry and Coconut Magic Bar really is a simple magic trick that is sure to impress… just like my little Houdini did with his reappear necklace trick. I’d never heard of a magic bar before; my Aussie slang would have called this a slice, but I think the name is apt as it just all comes together… like magic. The original idea came from Averie Cooks (and her plethora of bars and slices) and I have broken down the elements to be Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Paleo Friendly and Refined Sugar Free. I choose to make my own Sweetened Condensed Milk, Jam and Chocolate (it’s all much easier than it seems so please try it one day) but if you can tolerate dairy you can use a commercial version for simplicity .
These Raspberry and Coconut Magic Bars (aka slice!) took many takes; such a sad tale of having to eat my way through the ‘not so perfect’ attempts. The drama came with what to do with the biscuit base; do I par cook it, fully bake it or do it all at once? The answer was all at once as otherwise the base was too crunchy and the coconut mixture didn’t stick to the base. Baking it all at once ensures that the sticky coconut bakes into and onto the biscuit base so you get a full flavour bite. Most of the sweetness in the Raspberry and Coconut Magic Bars comes from the fruit jam and coconut; there’s not much sweetener in it at all.
- 1 Biscuit Base
- 1 1/2 Cups Shredded Coconut
- 1 serve Sweetened Condensed Milk (Approximately 3/4 Cup)- see recipe below
- 1 Cup Sugar Free Jam (see recipe below)
- 1/2 Cup Pecan Pieces (other nuts can be substituted)
- 100 grams Chocolate (see recipe below)
- 2/3 cup Coconut Flour
- 1/2 cup Almond Meal
- 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
- 2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
- 2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup or Honey
- 2 Eggs
- 2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 400ml can Coconut Cream (or milk)
- 1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
- 2 Cups Raspberries, fresh or frozen (other berries can be used instead)
- 2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup/Honey (optional if berries are too tart)
- 2 Tablespoons Water
- 2 teaspoons Gelatine
- 1/4 Cup Coconut Oil
- 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
- 1/4 Cup Cocoa
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Preheat the oven to 170C/340F
- Line and grease a Medium sized baking tray (mine was 16cm (6 1/2 inch) by 25 cm (10 inch)) or 20cm (8 inch) square cake tin. Ensure baking paper is high on 2 edges to assist in removing the slice.
- Using your hands spread the base dough over the tin until it covers the surface and is even.
- Spread the coconut over the uncooked biscuit base in an even layer. Drizzle the sweetened condensed milk over the coconut layer and spread it with a knife until all the coconut is covered.
- Bake in oven for 35 minutes, or until the coconut is browned.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
- Spread the jam evenly over the slice and then top with chopped pecans.
- Drizzle the chocolate over the slice and place in the fridge to firm (approximately 30 minutes).
- Cut into slices and serve (the number of slices will depend on the size of the tin used).
- Place all the ingredients into a kitchen processor and blend for 30 seconds.
- Scrape down sides and pulse until a dough forms.
- Place the dough into a cake tin and press to form an even layer (I used a shot glass as a mini rolling pin)
- Bring the Coconut Cream to the boil in a heavy based saucepan
- Simmer over a low heat and add the maple syrup, stirring to combine.
- Simmer for approximately 30 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced by half.
- Store in the fridge
- Place the berries and maple syrup in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Bring to boil, stirring constantly.
- In a small bowl, add the gelatine to the water and allow to sit for 3 minutes.
- Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and add the gelatine mixture.
- Whisk to combine and allow to simmer for 8 minutes, or until the fruit has broken down.
- To make a smoother jam, use a masher or a food processer.
- The jam will thicken in the fridge (it can be freezed for a quicker result).
- Over a very low heat, melt the Coconut oil in a saucepan.
- Add the maple syrup and stir. Add the cocoa and whisk to combine.
- Allow to thicken slightly, but DO NOT boil or over heat (as this causes the coconut oil to separate).
- Place in lined dish and freeze until set (approximately 30 minutes).
- Store in the freezer.
- Feel free to substitute store bought chocolate, jam or sweetened condensed milk if you can tolerate dairy and sugar.