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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Nanaimo Bars - Daring Bakers

The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and

For the graham crackers part of the challenge, I did not use any gluten free flours but chose pastry flour and unbleached flour. I also used Lyle's Golden Syrup instead of honey as I am not very fond of honey in baked goods. The cracker dough came together nicely and it sat in the freezer for a few days. Yes, it certainly is sticky when doing the rolling out - I did plenty of flour sprinkling. It was also quite sticky to get off the pastry board and onto the baking sheet; I used an offset spatula to coax it off. I also used a triangular serrated cake decorating comb 4 inches on each side to measure; this was really handy as it made nice clean-cut pastry edges.

I like these crackers, much better than store bought grahams, in fact I can't stand store bought grahams. What is more one gets to munch on a 4-inch square cracker instead of the usual mini size. There is almost a gingersnap tang about them. Now all I need is a parrot to share them with.

I'm also thinking cheesecake base. I usually use Animal Crackers or Nilla Wafers but these seem like a nice change. Umm! Now I'm wondering about chocolate ganache coating for an special treat munch. Not bad for somebody who didn't like graham crackers. Thank you Daring Bakers for changing my taste.

Tuesday night and getting ready for Reveal Date. I took the Nanaimo Bars to work today; they were a great success, together with some delicious wholewheat sables and chocolate biscotti I received as a gift. We munched the whole day. Everything was a real treat.

Making the 2nd and top layers of the bars was easy and most enjoyable; I finished them on Sunday, after a delightful trip to Soho in Manhattan to check out Sur La Table on Spring Street,(now a newly discovered earthly paradise for me). The chocolate ganache quantity was a bit short so I doubled it and got a nice, firm layer on the top. I had never tasted a Nanaimo Bar before; they are really very sweet but that's just fine with me. I might try other flavors next time, such as pistachio or caramel.

I'm posting the recipe below. Now I can't wait to see what February Daring Bakers brings.

Nanaimo Bars


For Nanaimo Bars — Bottom Layer
1/2 cup (115 g) (4 ounces) Unsalted Butter
1/4 cup (50 g) (1.8 ounces) Granulated Sugar
5 tablespoons (75 mL) Unsweetened Cocoa
1 Large Egg, Beaten
1 1/4 cups (300 mL) (160 g) (5.6 ounces) Graham Wafer Crumbs (from 101 Cookbooks)
1/2 cup (55 g) (1.9 ounces) Almonds (Any type, Finely chopped)
1 cup (130 g) (4.5 ounces) Coconut (Shredded, sweetened or unsweetened)

For Nanaimo Bars — Middle Layer
1/2 cup (115 g) (4 ounces) Unsalted Butter
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons (40 mL) Heavy Cream
2 tablespoons (30 mL) Vanilla Custard Powder (Such as Bird’s. Vanilla pudding mix may be substituted.)
2 cups (254 g) (8.9 ounces) Icing Sugar

For Nanaimo Bars — Top Layer
4 ounces (115 g) Semi-sweet chocolate (I used 8 ozs.)
2 tablespoons (28 g) (1 ounce) Unsalted Butter plus I used 2 tablespoons Crisco

1. For bottom Layer: Melt unsalted butter, sugar and cocoa in top of a double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, nuts and coconut. Press firmly into an ungreased 8 by 8 inch pan.
2. For Middle Layer: Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light in colour. Spread over bottom layer.
3. For Top Layer: Melt chocolate and unsalted butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, pour over middle layer and chill.

Note: To get a nice, smooth chocolate top, use 1-1/2 times choc. in recipe and twice the fat (between 5-6 oz. of butter/crisco mix).