Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Nanaimo Bars + Homemade Graham Crackers!

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

There hasn't been a month yet, where I wasn't excited about the Daring Bakers' Challenge. This month was no exception. This Canadian treat...the Nanaimo Bar...was much easier to make than previous challenges, and they taste amazing. I especially LOVED the bottom layer, with the coconut, homemade graham crackers, and almonds....So good!

The hardest part of this recipe was making the graham crackers from scratch. Yes, the dough is a little fussy and not the easiest to work with (because it's a very wet dough), but they are totally doable. I did not make the gluten free version, so I used regular ole' all purpose flour instead. Once the graham crackers are finished, this recipe is easy peasy! However, if you wanted to make these even easier, you could use store-bought graham crackers. By doing that, this recipe would be a cinch!

I didn't really have any major problems to report on this month. I found this recipe to be easy to follow and make. You'll really enjoy these!

Recipe Source: Graham Wafers — 101 Cookbooks ( I adapted it to be gluten-free. The adapted recipe is below.

For Gluten-Free Graham Wafers:
1 cup (138 g) (4.9 ounces) Sweet rice flour (also known as glutinous rice flour)
3/4 cup (100 g) (3.5 ounces) Tapioca Starch/Flour
1/2 cup (65 g) (2.3 ounces) Sorghum Flour
1 cup (200 g) (7.1 ounces) Dark Brown Sugar, Lightly packed
1 teaspoon (5 mL) Baking soda
3/4 teaspoon (4 mL ) Kosher Salt
7 tablespoons (100 g) (3 ½ ounces) Unsalted Butter (Cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen)
1/3 cup (80 mL) Honey, Mild-flavoured such as clover
5 tablespoons (75 mL) Whole Milk
2 tablespoons (30 mL) Pure Vanilla Extract

1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine the flours, brown sugar, baking soda, 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.
2. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the honey, milk and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture until the dough barely comes together. It will be very soft and sticky.
3. Turn the dough onto a surface well-floured with sweet rice flour and pat the dough into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 2 hours, or overnight.
4. Divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator. Sift an even layer of sweet rice 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.
5. Adjust the rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).
6. 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.
7. Prick the wafers with toothpick or fork, not all the way through, in two or more rows.
8. 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.
9. 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.

Bottom Layer...
Middle Layer...
Top Layer...
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)
Gluten Free Graham Wafer Crumbs (See previous recipe)
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
2 tablespoons (28 g) (1 ounce) Unsalted Butter

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.

Additional Information:
- 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.
- If making the graham crackers with wheat, replace the gluten-free flours (tapioca starch, sweet rice flour, and sorghum flour) with 2 ½ cups plus 2 tbsp of all-purpose wheat flour, or wheat pastry flour. Watch the wheat-based graham wafers very closely in the oven, as they bake faster than the gluten-free ones, sometimes only 12 minutes.
- For the Nanaimo Bars, if making with wheat, replace the gluten-free graham wafer crumbs with equal parts wheat graham wafer crumbs!


Memória said...

Your bars look perfect!!! Beautiful layers and graham crackers. The bottom layer was my favorite too!

Zia Elle said...

They look soooo good!!!

Deeba PAB said...

NICE...I love how luscious your nanaimos are looking. Beauitul picture of them all lined up. Very YUM!!
Well done on the challenge!!

Tia said...

what camera do you have? i love your phtos . good job with this DB!!!

Anonymous said...

These look soooo good. I want one ;o). Well, I have some in the freezer, I guess I have to get one now ;o).

Simona said...

Your wafers look beautiful! Very elegant.

Megan said...

Your bars look awesome! I loved the bottom layer too. I could have just eaten that!

Jenni said...

Both your crackers and bars look great!!

Heather said...

Lovely bars and crackers! I love the pics too.

fairy_mi said...

yummmm, your nanaimo bars version looks really great!
Love the presentation
and the making of pictures are fabulous.
Great job!
(also a DB)

LittleRed said...

Everything looks delicious.....your graham crackers look absolutely perfect!

Anonymous said...

Oooh, your graham crackers look so perfect!!! Really lovely work!!

Anonymous said...

Oooh, your graham crackers look so perfect!!! Really lovely work!!

Jill @ Jillicious Discoveries said...

Your bars look delicious--good job! :)

Nadia said...

looking at them make me want to make these bars again!

jidgede said...

just watched "julie and julia".....THAT could be know i LOVE your blog......keep blogging!!! it is wonderful.....jennie in tn <><

chefany said...

These look fantastic! but I am wondering if there would be a way to make the second layer without a pudding mix...can you use a pastry cream? Or would a creme anglaise work better? Thanks for your feedback...