National Blogger Bake Sale! Gluten Free Cookie Bars!

by Irvin on April 18, 2010 · 14 comments

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Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

Dude. I am totally late to the game.

It’s been a crazy week, with traveling to Ohio and back, and so I decided this weekend was going to be a mellow weekend. I slept in this morning and leisurely lounged about in bed until about 10:30am where I grabbed my iPhone (because I was too lazy to actually get up and move to my computer) and stared at it’s tiny screen to see what was going on in the world.

Pulled up Facebook – browsed a bit, checked email (mostly spam – note to spammers, I really don’t need any help with losing weight. thanks), then twitter. Junk, junk, junk. Oh wait. Gluten Free Girl just retweeted something interesting – “RT @franticfoodie Seattle food blogger bake sale starts at 10 at Metropolitan Market uptown, be there or be square! (I’ll be there!)”

Hmm… I wonder if the blogger bake sale is only happening in Seattle (where Shauna of Gluten Free Girl is based). Google. google. google. NOPE. Happening ALL OVER THE NATION.

Why didn’t I know about this beforehand? Probably because I’m totally out of the loop in terms of things. Though I’ve been blogging on again, off again for about 4 years, (old defunct blog here) I’ve only really started food blogging for a month or so. *shrug*.

The San Francisco Blogger Bake Sale was located in front of the awesome Omnivore Bookstore, where the awesome Rose Levy Beranbaum was going to give a talk about her latest book “Rose’s Heavenly Cakes”. She also recently gave a talk to the baking club “The Baker’s Dozen” that I’m a member of, but sadly I haven’t had a chance to actually go to any of their talks as they usually happen during the day.

All proceeds of the bake sale were going to Share Our Strength. I went ahead and tweeted about going to the bake sale so all 12 of my followers could know about it (okay, I’ve only been tweeting for about a month as well – feel free to follow me). Luckily SanFranPlaces retweeted my post, and they have a larger list of followers.

So I jumped out of bed, and try to figure out what I can make in an hour to bring to the bake sale. Because if there is something I love to do, it’s to help with a bake sale! Anyone want to throw a bake sale, let me know, I’m great at math (hey, I’m Asian), can organize (use to plan events), sell things (used to work retail), really sell food (used to sample cookies at Neiman Marcus as a side gig), design signs and advertisements (I’m a designer and used to work as an art director at an Ad Agency) and of course bake things for the sale! Basically I’m a walking bake sale organizer/worker.

I took a look at my pantry and tried to figure out what I could whip up in an hour. I knew that my fail safe recipe of chocolate chip toffee congo bars was probably what I was going to make, as I can make it in under an hour from start to finish. I’m kinda bored with making it. But everyone I know seems to like them. I mean REALLY like them.

I once visited Chicago, and my friend Steve who I stayed with said that the highlight of the trip was me bringing the cookie bars. He eventually moved to San Francisco (I’d like to think that my cookie bars were a factor in that move. That and the fact that he got a job out here). I brought them to my friend Stephanie’s wedding rehearsal, and she came over to me with adoration in her eyes and profusely thanked me for the cookie bars with lust in her eyes – on her wedding rehearsal day. But the best one was when my friend Nina gave birth to her daughter, I visited her at the hospital and brought her these and she sat up in the bed when I handed her husband the box of cookie bars and told him what they were. She took one look at them and proclaimed “OK. Today REALLY IS the best day of my life.” True stories. All of them.

But you keep making the same thing over and over again, it gets a little tedious.

Oh well. It was fast and people rave over them. So I whipped it up, and to make it a little more interesting for me (and as a nod to Shauna over at Gluten Free Girl who tipped me off on the bake sale) I went ahead and made it gluten free. I figure a bake sale could always use more gluten free goods (I was right, there was only one other gluten free baked thing there, which were some awesome looking mint brownies).

I showed up around 1pm, handed over my gluten free cookie bars and tried to offer my services, but Anita at Dessert First who organized it told me they had more than plenty volunteers, so I hung out a little, took some photos with AJ’s fancy camera and met some fellow San Francisco food bloggers like Shauna at Piece of Cake, Lisa at Lisa is Bossy and Allison at Bake Your Heart Out as well as some other fab bakers and customers. All super great people.

The baked goods looked amazing. Lisa at Lisa is Bossy made these fantastic looking macarons and Allison had made these adorable banana cake pops and of course, there were sorts of awesome baked goods like a multigrain bread, a mango bundt cake, red velvet whoopie pies, a gorgeous lavender orange tea cake, caramel popcorn and all sorts of cupcakes. It was a ridiculous the amount of deliciousness that was at one table.

And then I decided I was feeling a little bit like the creepy guy who was just hanging out not doing much other than oogling the baked goods. So I took off. Hopefully they did well, and raised a lot of money though! There seemed to be a lot of leftover goods, but you can still donate to the cause even though the bake sale is over by going over here.

By the way, if you want to see more images from the bake sale, check out my flickr album of the event here.

In the meanwhile here’s the gluten free version of these cookie bars. Super easy to make. Your friends will love you if you make it for them.

Oh yeah, and after I made them today (the gluten free version that is) AJ ate a stack of them, and then told me he thought they were better than the regular wheat free versions. He was ever so pleased that I took the rest to the bake sale because he said he would have just eaten them all if there were any left here. So there.

Note: Whilst baking I listened to Firefox AK’s If I Were a Melody. A sort of updated 80’s electronica album. I was obsessed with it a couple of years ago when it came out, and I’m still listening to it.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Shauna April 18, 2010 at 5:26 pm

Awesome post, Irvin! It was so fun meeting you. I just love your photos! Hope to see you again soon. 🙂


Lisa is Bossy April 18, 2010 at 6:16 pm

Love your writing Irvin! It was fun meeting you and chatting for all of that perhaps 2 minutes. 🙂

Hope to see you again sometime soon!


Mr. Jackhonky April 19, 2010 at 12:06 am

Shauna and Lisa – It was SUPER fun to meet you guys! Even it if we only had a chance to chat for two or three minutes.

Hope to see/hang with you guys sometime soon as well! Thanks for checking out my post!


bakeyourheartout April 19, 2010 at 2:35 am

Irvin, it was great meeting you yesterday! Your post is wonderful and I love your photos. I just wish I had tried your cookies! But thanks for sharing your recipe. I look forward to seeing you again soon!


petoke April 19, 2010 at 6:01 am

mm, toffee bars. what does the conga refer to?

I am intrigued by the tapioca flour. Does that make them chewier?


Tara April 20, 2010 at 4:32 am

Another gf recipe! Yay!

And I (of course!) love that the only other gf item at the bake sale was mint brownies. Proof once again that you can be gluten-free and still eat the best foods out there. 🙂

You weren't the only one late to the game – I only found out about the bake sale via you, and a day late, at that. But sadly my whole state is out of the loop – there wasn't ONE sale listed in all of Maine! Must work to change that . . .


Mr. Jackhonky April 21, 2010 at 2:35 am

@Bakeyourheartout. Your banana cake pops looks SO adorable and professional! I think I was totally dazzled by everyone's baked goods and I didn't even think to buy anything or try anything! Ridiculous!

I hope we see each soon as well!

@Petoke. Actually I think the tapioca flour is a pretty neutral flavor and doesn't really impart that much more chewiness. However the almond flour adds a really nice richness (without greasiness) and slight nuttiness in both flavor and texture. Next time I make them, I'm totally going to use the almond flour, regardless of making them gluten free or not.

@Tara. The mint brownies looks great, but I actually didn't have a chance to taste it (see my response to bakeyourheartout). I think they were soy, nut, peanut free as well! Next time I'm totally buying one of everything.

And next time YOU should organize a bake sale! Though it seems like a huge amount of work. Anita over at dessert first did such a great job though! And so much fun!


Sara {CaffeIna} April 21, 2010 at 4:57 pm

Irvin, I totally understand you about being out of things 🙂 I have just started food blogging too and I still feel out of the many things going on…but it's fun. I was at the bake sale. I also dropped off my bread and did not stay long because there were already many people available. Too bad I didn't have a chance to meet you. Next time! The bake sale was indeed amazing. I hope there will be other chances to get together for food bloggers.


Mr. Jackhonky April 22, 2010 at 6:22 am

@Sara. I saw your bread and it looked so great! I'm sorry we didn't have a chance to meet and talk, but next time!

We'll just have to make sure that we figure out a way for the San Francisco food bloggers to get together somehow!


Rita April 24, 2010 at 9:55 am


And I heard Nina say that, on the day she gave birth! She clapped her hands at the cookie bars and said, "[omG!] This is the best day ever!" With a hiccupy laugh, because she wasn't kidding.


Lindsay March 6, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Would you be so kind to send me the non-gluten version of this recipe? I don’t have all the ingredients to make it gluten this time and I have a bake sale this weekend. Thanks in advance!


Irvin March 6, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Leave out the xanthan gum and just replace the gluten free flours & starches (rice, sorghum, tapioca and potato) with 2 3/4 cups of all purpose flour. The almond flour is optional but I think it adds a great texture, moistness and flavor to the final product. If you don’t have it though, the congo bars will still be great!


Lindsay March 6, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Wow! Thanks for getting back so quick, I really appreciate that! Excited to make them.
Thank you!!!


siobhan July 26, 2013 at 9:36 am

This was a great post! That recipe looks really interesting, ill be sure to check it out 🙂 I also have a baking blog, would love if you checked it out! Thanks 🙂


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