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.
I was looking forward to this challenge, as I want to go and visit Canada some day and was very happy to have an opportunity to try something Canadian :) Although it was quite time consuming - with making my own wafers, for the first time! - I enjoyed it a lot! The final result was delicious! Once everything was made the worst thing was waiting, waiting for the bars to chill and set properly. I made some Olympic rings to honour this years Winter Olympics. I was left with a lot of melted white chocolate and decided to add it to the middle layer. All in all - great challenge, delicious dessert perfect for parties, as you can make it in a big dish and just cut small individual portions. But... you need a strong coffee to go with it - as they are VERY sweet and filling dessert! If you want to know more about Nanaimo bars go here.
How to make it...
Gluten-Free Graham Wafers
- 1 cup sweet rice flour (also known as glutinous rice flour)
- 3/4 cup tapioca starch/flour
- 1/2 cup sorghum flour
- 1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 100 g unsalted butter (Cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen)
- 1/3 cup honey, mild-flavoured such as clover.
- 5 tablespoons whole milk
- 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
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.
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. 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.
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. Adjust the rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat oven to 180 C. 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.
- I didn't make gluten-free version, I used 2 1/2 cups plain unbleached flour
- Instead of adding 1 cup brown sugar I mixed 1/3 cup dark muscavado sugar and 2/3 brown sugar
- had to add 2 more tablespoons of milk, for the dough to stick together
For Nanaimo Bars — Bottom Layer
- 1/2 cup (115 g) unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
- 5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 1/4 cups (160 g) graham wafer crumbs
- 1/2 cup (55 g) almonds (any type, finely chopped)
- 1 cup (130 g) coconut (shredded, sweetened or unsweetened)
For Nanaimo Bars — Middle Layer
- 1/2 cup (115 g) unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons (40 ml) heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons vanilla custard powder (Such as Bird’s)
- 2 cups (254 g) icing sugar
- added 50 g melted white chocolate to this layer
For Nanaimo Bars — Top Layer
- 115 g semi-sweet chocolate
- 2 tablespoons (28 g) unsalted butter
- I omitted the butter completely and used milk chocolate
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.