It’s hard to believe that fall is upon us and that next week will be October already. I don’t know about you guys, but I feel like we barely had a summer this year! The last few weeks of summer in particular felt like a blur to me, especially with all the studying for my nutrition courses. And while I always have a tough time letting go of summer, there are a few things I absolutely love about the fall. The first is that it’s the start of football season! Which means I get to geek out and obsess waaaaay too much over my fantasy football teams and get to watch my beloved Broncos play on a weekly basis (which might not necessarily be a good thing based on the past couple seasons). The second thing I love most about fall is that it’s a season filled with warm, cozy desserts. Think cinnamon spiked coffee cakes, hot apple fritters, and, if you’re like me, basically anything with Italian plums like these gluten-free/vegan Italian Plum Streusel Bars.
The season for Italian plums is relatively short, so I always try to make the most of it and bake up a storm of plum desserts. This year I wanted to create something that highlighted the tart flavor and beautiful jammy texture of the plums. I also really wanted something that I could eat as an afternoon snack or even for breakfast……because baked goods make the best breakfasts. The other thing it had to do was check off all my fall baking must haves. Aka full of comforting spices, pair well with a steaming hot cup of ginger tea, and easily eaten while snuggled up in a blanket on the couch. And I have to say these Italian Plum Streusel Bars fit that description perfectly.
The star of this recipe is the Italian plum filling. With over 2 cups of quartered plums, it’s lightly sweetened with maple syrup and just a couple drops of almond extract to enhance those cozy fall vibes. Once baked, the filling becomes the MOST gorgeous magenta purple color. It’s seriously one of my favorite things about Italian plums.
To balance out the tart plum filling, I made a cinnamon laced oat flour/almond flour crust and streusel topping. And because I always need a little crunch and texture in my baked goods, I added a handful of toasted walnuts to the streusel. When making this recipe, be sure to note the directions for the oat flour. Two cups of it go into the crust while the extra teaspoon is reserved for the streusel. This helps the topping crumble and crisp up better.
Like a lot of my baked goods these days, this recipe is gluten-free, vegan, naturally sweetened and all that good stuff. It’s full of delicious, nourishing ingredients and makes the absolute best snack or breakfast for the start of this fall season!Print
Italian Plum Streusel Bars (Gluten-free and Vegan)
- Yield: 9 - 12 squares
For the crust and streusel topping:
• 2 cups almond flour
• 2 cups + 1 teaspoon oat flour, divided
• ½ teaspoon kosher salt
• ½ teaspoon cinnamon
• ⅓ cup pure maple syrup
• ⅓ cup melted coconut oil
• 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
• ¼ cup toasted and roughly chopped walnuts
For the plum filling:
• 2 ½ cups pitted and quartered Italian plums
• ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
• ⅛ teaspoon almond extract
• 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
• 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8-x-8 pan with a foil sling and lightly grease with coconut oil.
In a medium sized bowl, toss together the pitted and quartered Italian plums, kosher salt, almond extract, maple syrup, and tapioca flour. Make sure the plums are evenly coated with the mixture and then set aside while you make the crust and streusel.
In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, 2 cups of oat flour, kosher salt, and cinnamon. Add in the maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla extract and stir until everything is well combined. If necessary, get your hands in there to really mix it together! You want to make sure the maple syrup and coconut oil are evenly distributed and there are no dry pockets of flour.
Take roughly ⅔ of the dough and evenly press it into the bottom of your prepared 8-x-8 pan. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until the crust looks just set and the edges are ever so slightly starting to brown.
To make the streusel topping, add the extra teaspoon of oat flour into the remaining ⅓ of dough. The extra flour helps the streusel crumble better and makes for a crisper topping. Then add in the chopped walnuts and, using your hands, gently toss and press the dough together to create a clumpy mixture.
Pour the Italian plums over the hot crust and spread them into an even layer. Then sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the plums. I like a variety of crumb sizes in my streusel topping, so I tend to crumble some of the dough a bit more and then leave a few larger clumps as well.
Bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until the plum filling is bubbling and the streusel topping is golden brown. Place the pan on a cooling rack to cool completely. I know it’s hard to wait, but you really need to let these bars cool for at least an hour before cutting. This gives the filling time to properly set.
These bars are best the day they’re made, but can be stored in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Keywords: gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar free