Nanaimo BarsJanuary 27, 2010
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 http://www.nanaimo.ca.
Daring Kitchen instalment!
I have been wanting to make these since I originally heard of them, but knowing that they sounded exactly like something I would have very limited will power or control over whether or not I ate them, had given me pause. For a number of months actually, however when I saw this challenge I knew it was time!
On a little side note, it amused me that the reveal date for something that is “quintessentially” Canadian was the day after we Australian’s celebrate being Australian. Australia Day! Where I might add, I spent the day in the company of 11 South Africans, and the closest thing to “aussie” food I had was some beetroot (which yes I was looked at oddly when I added this too my salad – the only thing that would’ve made it better was if it was in a burger!)
Anyway, after that little side note – I made these in batches. I started with the Graham Cookies, which were interesting to make to say the least. The dough was incredibly sticky and like some others have said, I used two layers of floured parchment paper to roll them out. I however could not get them too slice into appropriate square/rectangular shapes (or perhaps I just did not persevere enough) and ended up popping them in my Avanti Cookie Press and making delightful round crackers. I could not have been happier with the taste! I was nibbling away happily on them once baked, and I immediately bagged some up to take to work for my GF colleague, provided her with the recipe, whilst emailing on the recipe to my grandmother and a dear friend who are also GF. I then quickly ground up the amount I needed for the bars and sealed away the rest of them before I could eat anymore!
I then started the rest of the process a few days later, I was looking for a cooler day. Alas, Brisbane was not forthcoming in this and I had to rely on a few hours of chilling between each step as well as air-conditioning at full blast (ok…24 degrees, but that’s full!) I was taking this with me to the aforementioned Australia Day gathering of the Clan. In light of this I could not use coconut in the base (though for me this would’ve just made the bar that little bit more divine) as coconut and my SIL do not mix and whilst I was making another dessert to take as well, I wanted the option to eat this to be there for her. So, like a few others I used Rice Bubbles as a substitute – having read some other entries, I think my SIL would’ve been in eating heaven if I’d made the middle layer PB! Though I did happily have some Birds Custard on hand which I used instead and since this is her favourite (and I think actually the only custard she’ll eat) I still did ok I think. Also, because I had gone all out with the base and middle catering to my SIL, I figured I had to go the whole hog, and the chocolate that I used was Fair Trade Dark Chocolate, it actually is one of my favourite chocolates to melts so that worked out well.
I had some leftovers that I shared with some friends, who enjoyed it and the Clan were quite receptive (starting out with just one little piece before having just another little piece) so all in all I think it was a great challenge. It did melt rather quickly when left out to its own devices but I think that just encouraged us all to get into it that bit quicker! I think next time I would make it all a bit thicker though, so smaller size, fatter bar perhaps? And I also need to thank the Husband who was my avid photographer for the day (excuse the cling wrap) my knee was pushed to its limits doing this and I had to sit down and rest after!
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.
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.