We have quite the little garden growing on our lanai here in Florida. Just like flowers were important to me in Michigan, they are here. A few potted plants that are already growing have really filled in the space nicely and made it feel like a little secret garden with more to come.
With the plants, also comes wildlife. Some of the creatures are like those in Michigan … squirrels, doves, cardinals, summer butterflies and giant bees. Others are not like in Michigan, mostly lizards. An ever growing population of lizards.
They are adorable when they bounce up and down and sit looking around for hours before scurrying off. Some are unreliably small, one of whom has recently taking a liking to hanging out on the screen of one of the kitchen windows.
My favorite lizard, though, is one of the first that took up residence in the garden. I can tell it’s the same one when he hangs out all day long. He lives in one of the potted plants, a hot pink hibiscus tree that has apparently caught some disease and doesn’t bloom.
But that is the lizard’s home, so it stays. To an outsider it might look like a fine green tree that refuses to bloom and so should be replaced, but to me it’s the lizard’s home. So the unassuming tree stays, bringing more happiness than anyone else could know.
These unassuming squares are more than worth making as well. They’d been stranded in my bookmarks for awhile, and I finally decided to make them. They have wonderful, rich, comforting gingerbread flavors and textures with plump raisins and crunchy walnuts.
I had actually been craving gingerbread, though when I made these squares I didn’t realize they were going to satisfy the craving so well. It might not be fall yet in any part of the country, but these shouldn’t be reserved for chilly days. Make them now!Print
Spiced squares of cake with crunchy walnuts and juicy raisins.
1 ¼ cups water
1 cup brewed coffee
1 ½ cups raisins
1 cup olive oil
3 cups paleo flour blend (2 cups almond flour, 1 ¼ cups tapioca starch, ¾ cup coconut flour)
1 cup coconut sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon vanilla bean powder
2 large eggs
¾ cup toasted walnuts
Juice of 1 orange
1/3 cup date syrup
1 teaspoon espresso powder
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F or 325 degrees F convection. Oil a 9 by 13 inch pan.
In a medium saucepan, stir together water, coffee, raisins, and oil. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook about 20 minutes. Remove the lid and allow to cool while you make the batter.
Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, and vanilla in a large bowl. Stir in the eggs and cooled raisin mixture, followed by the walnuts.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer. Bake about 30 minutes until puffed, golden brown, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few crumbs.
Make the glaze. In a small microwave safe bowl, stir together the orange juice, date syrup, and espresso. Pour over the hot bars as evenly as possible. Serve warm or cool in the pan before slicing and serving. Bars may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the microwave about 30 seconds.
Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour