A Bakery Owner Teaches Us How To Make Homemade Gluten-Free Guava Coconut Bars
I'm a lover of all things tropical, so the combination of guava and coconut is a favorite pairing of mine. This recipe is a twist on Ovenly's Montego Bay Bars (date chocolate jam bars). It's especially delicious because it is the perfect balance of sweet and salty and is gluten- and dairy-free.
Guava is full of good nutrients and also happens to taste great in desserts. The coconut adds some texture and crunch while complementing the nutty almond flour and oats. As a bakery owner, I never really believed in "healthy desserts," but this one takes the cake (!).
Gluten-Free Guava Coconut Bars
- Vegan butter or olive oil for greasing the baking pan
- 10 tablespoons (142 grams) vegan butter, at room temperature (My go-to is Miyoko's cashew cream butter, but you can substitute any vegan or unsalted butter.)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup (100 grams) light brown sugar
- ½ cup (100 grams) dark brown sugar
- 1½ cups (204 grams) almond flour
- 1¾ cups (175 grams) gluten-free rolled oats
- ¾ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 595 grams (21 ounces) guava paste, approximately 1½ packages
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with vegan butter or oil.
- Whisk the almond flour, oats, ½ cup of the coconut, salt, and baking soda together in a large bowl. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer), cream the butter and olive oil with the light and dark brown sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Turn the mixer off, add the flour and coconut mixture, and mix on low speed until just combined.
- Firmly press ¾ of the dough mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking pan (reserve ¼ of the mixture for the topping). Press down to make a solid bottom crust.
- Cut guava paste into ¼-inch-thick slices and cover entire bottom crust evenly.
- Crumble the remaining ¼ cup dough mixture on top of the guava paste. Sprinkle the reserved ¼ cup coconut evenly over the crumble. Press down slightly so it sticks.
- Bake for 33 to 35 minutes. The crumble should be lightly golden brown when ready. Cool and cut into 15 bars, approximately 3-by-2½-inch rectangles.
Agatha Kulaga is the CEO & Co-founder of Ovenly. A lifelong baker turned entrepreneur, with a background in social work research and advocacy, she firmly believes in the power of business for social change. It’s no surprise she’s been recognized as one of New York’s most “badass” leaders in food by Zagat and as one of the Cherry Bombe 100. You can find her in Food & Wine, New York Magazine, Food 52, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Forbes, and Vogue, to name a few. She also co-authored Ovenly: Sweet & Salty Recipes from New York’s Most Creative Bakery. Agatha is an avid speaker for ethical entrepreneurship, mentor, consultant, and advisory member for Women in Hospitality United and The Center for Employment Opportunities. Find Agatha on Instagram: @ovenly @agathakulaga.