Wednesday, 27 January 2010
Daring Bakers: Nanaimo Bars
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.
This month's Daring Bakers had me very excited as I love Canada and I love bars and I have actually been to (well, through) Nanaimo. I was also excited because the host, Lauren is a coeliac and she asked everyone to try the gluten-free baking path. I spent four years being a gluten-free home cook and it is so awesome to make coeliacs something that they haven't had for ages i.e. croissants.
In the end, I ended up making the glutenful version because I was running out of time and I didn't have enough gluten-free flour in the pantry so I feel a bit like I betrayed Lauren but I was so happy that gluten-free baking was in the spotlight this month.
We had to make the graham crackers first which was a bit thing for me. As an Australian who grew up reading the Babysitters Club, Sweet Valley High and various other trashy books that involved smores and other exotic food. All I gleaned from these books at the time is that graham crackers were involved in some way. When I made these the other day, I ended up making a smore by melting a marshmallow over my gas stove and mushing it the cracker and trying to melt the chocolate using the gas as well. It wasn't super successful but I totally dug the concept. Go, BSC!
Anyway, crackers! I kind of imagined these as being a Marie biscuit or a digestive biscuit but they were much more gingerbready than that. There was also something of a Tiny Teddy (honey, not chocolate) about them too. They were delicious and we still have a whole bunch left, waiting for me to think of something to do with them. I know a bunch of people had an issue with the dough being supersticky but I didn't have this issue at all.
Then I made them into Nanaimo Bars! The bottom layer is essentially like a hedgehog slice - I put graham crackers, chopped almonds, coconut and rice bubbles. Possibly too many additions but I couldn't help myself.
The middle layer is a sort of buttercream with custard powder added. It was super sweet so I added in some lemon juice and a little bit of cream cheese to cut through the sweet.
The top is melted chocolate - something I did too quickly and so it went lumpy. FAIL.
All in all, these were amazing but super-sweet. I enjoyed the challenge but I'm not sure I'd make them again because they were even a bit too much for this sweet tooth household.