Daring Bakers: Graham Crackers and Nanaimo Bars7:39 PM
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 www.nanaimo.ca.
Lauren says, Nanaimo Bars are a classic Canadian dessert created in none other than Nanaimo, British Colombia. In case you were wondering, it’s pronounced Nah-nye-Moh. They are extremely rich and available almost everywhere across the country.
The Challenge was to make graham crackers from scratch and lauren insisted on using the gluten free version. I made mine with whole wheat flour and All-Purpose flour. The result was amazing and the crackers were a big hit!
Nanaimo Bars have three layers : a base containing graham crackers, cocoa, coconut and nuts, a middle custard layer, and a topping of chocolate.
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup butter
2 tbs honey
2 tbs molasses
1/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
- In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine the flours, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Pulse on low to incorporate. Add the butter and pulse on and off, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal. If making by hand, combine aforementioned dry ingredients with a whisk, then cut in butter until you have a coarse meal. No chunks of butter should be visible.
- In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the honey, milk , molasses , water and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture until the dough barely comes together. It will be very soft and sticky.
- Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface and pat the dough into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 2 hours, or overnight.
- Divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator. Sift an even layer of flour onto the work surface and roll the dough into a long rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick. The dough will be quite sticky, so flour as necessary. Cut into 4 by 4 inch squares. Gather the scraps together and set aside. Place wafers on one or two parchment-lined baking sheets. Chill until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes. Repeat with the second batch of dough.
- Adjust the rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).
- Gather the scraps together into a ball, chill until firm, and reroll. Dust the surface with more sweet rice flour and roll out the dough to get a couple more wafers.
- Prick the wafers with toothpick or fork, not all the way through, in two or more rows.
- Bake for 25 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the touch, rotating sheets halfway through to ensure even baking. Might take less, and the starting location of each sheet may determine its required time. The ones that started on the bottom browned faster.
- When cooled completely, place enough wafers in food processor to make 1 ¼ cups (300 mL) of crumbs. Another way to do this is to place in a large ziplock bag, force all air out and smash with a rolling pin until wafers are crumbs.
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter
1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
5 tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa
1 Large Egg, Beaten
1 1/4 cups Graham Wafer Crumbs (See previous recipe)
1/2 cup Almonds
1 cup Coconut (Shredded, sweetened or unsweetened)
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons Heavy Cream
2 tablespoons Vanilla Custard Powder
2 cups Icing Sugar
4 ounces Semi-sweet chocolate
2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
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.
For Middle Layer:
Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light in colour. Spread over bottom layer.
For Top Layer:
Melt chocolate and unsalted butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, pour over middle layer and chill.
These bars freeze very well, so don’t be afraid to pop some into the freezer.
The graham wafers may be kept in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.