Monday, January 25, 2010

Nanaimo Bars

Happy New Year everybody! Its been a hectic couple of months around here-- with the holidays, our babysitter traveling, school, work, etc etc. Not that I'm whining...because I'm not...its my resolution not to whine... so I couldn't possibly be whining-- just stating facts :) . But I do have to keep this short. I will be back later and fill you in on what's been happening around here and also give you boat loads of new recipes, because, yes, the cooking never stops! Now down to business.

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

I did really try to go gluten free but hunting down the different flours proved too much of a hassle. So I settled for a mix of all purpose and whole wheat flour. The crackers are not only delicious and semi healthy, they are also terribly addictive.

As for the Nanaimo bars, they seem absolutely decadent. I just finished making them this evening and am too scared of coronaries to try a chunk so late at night. But I did taste the individual layers and they taste divine. Tomorrow though, with some company and a cup of black coffee, I will attempt it and let you know and you, for your part, call the ambulance when I'm down.

For the graham crackers I followed this recipe:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
4 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a food processor, mix together the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add the cold butter and process for about 30 seconds until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the honey, water, and vanilla. Mix for a few more seconds until the dough starts to come together in a ball. Scrape dough out of the mixer and onto one sheet of parchment paper. Place another sheet of parchment paper over the dough and roll to 1/8-inch thick (I'd never tried this before and my thickness was way off, so the crackers were slightly chewy but still yum). Chill for an hour or more.
Preheat oven to 350F. Get dough out of the fridge and with a pizza cutter cut into uniform squares. Nudge the squares apart on the same parchment paper (if uncut) and bake till you begin to smell the crackers and the edges are lightly brown (about 12 minutes). Cool and store in an airtight container for about 2 weeks.

For the 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)

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

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.


s said...

My first time here....Great dessert! Great job..
will be back for more.

Veena said...

Thanks! You're too kind :)

Aparna Balasubramanian said...

Happy New Year to you too. Great way to usher in 2010, with Nanaimos. :)

Lauren said...

Wonderful job on my challenge! Everything looks fantastic =D.

Veena said...

Aparna: No better way than with chocolate!
Lauren: I took them to my students and they vanished pretty quickly! Thanks for a little taste of Canada!