Wednesday, January 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
It's the 27th of the month again, yay! It's time to post the January 2010 challenge, the very first for the new year. And I'm happy to say I finished it on time, no rushing about! We were given the recipe for gluten-free graham cracker wafers, but I opted to make mine with wheat flour because it's not so easy to find the gluten-free ingredients where I live.
Making the bars was relatively easy and hassle-free, the main part of the work was making the graham crackers, mine turned out very tasty, although I could have rolled the dough thinner.
The yummy, super-rich bars which I flavored with matcha (green tea powder). For the bottom layer, I substituted cashew nuts (which is more practical for me), and instead of shredded coconut, I used oats instead.
Notes for gluten-free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars:
• Glutinous rice flour does not contain any gluten, as it is made from a type of rice called glutinous (or sweet) rice.
• The graham wafer dough is very sticky. Make sure you are flouring (with sweet rice flour) well, or the dough will be difficult to remove from the surface you roll it out on. Also be sure to keep it cold. You do not want the butter to melt.
• I chose these flours because of their availability. Tapioca starch/flour and sweet rice flour can often be found in Asian grocery stores, or in the Asian section of you grocery store. Sorghum can be slightly more difficult to find, but it can be replaced with brown rice flour, millet flour or other alternatives.
• In the Nanaimo Bars, it is very important that the chocolate be cool but still a liquid, otherwise the custard layer will melt, and it will mix with the chocolate, being difficult to spread. Allow the chocolate mixture to come to room temperature but not solidify before spreading the top layer on.
Variations allowed:
• Although I highly recommend using gluten-free flours, as the chemistry is very interesting and the end result can be amazing, you are allowed to use wheat.
• If making them gluten-free, no wheat, barley, rye, triticale, kamut, spelt, durum, semolina, or other gluten containing ingredients may be used. Removing those ingredients ensures it is safe for those with Celiac Disease and other health issues where gluten causes problems. If you do plan on serving this to someone on a gluten-free diet, also ensure no cross-contamination occurs.
Preparation time:
• Graham Wafers: 30 to 45 minutes total active prep, 2 ½ hours to overnight and 45 minutes inactive prep.
• Nanaimo Bars: 30 minutes.
Equipment required:
• Food Processor
• Bowls
• Parchment paper or silpats
• Cookie sheets
• Double boiler or pot and heatproof bowl
• 8 by 8 inch square pan
• Hand mixer or stand mixer (You may use a wooden spoon, but this makes it much easier!)
• Saucepan
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.

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.
Thank you Lauren for this challenge!


Tangled Noodle said...

I love your use of rice and tapioca flours for the graham crackers, as well as your subs of cashew and oats. This is really the first I've heard of Nanaimo Bars and I'm drooling for a piece now!

Lauren said...

Fantastic job! I love the matcha cashew combination! I'm glad you enjoyed my challenge!

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a really nice version of them and I'd love to try these one day! :D

Karen @ Citrus and Candy said...

Good choice of oats for the base and the use of matcha gree tea seems like an interesting choice. Great photos :)

Marcellina said...

Great variation! Sounds interesting. I really like the taste of the graham crackers.

Wic said...

the combination sounds and looks delicious. great work with this one.

anjelikuh said...

i love how yours came out so neat-looking (no broken pieces, smudged sides...etc). And the use of green tea sounds yummy!

Cathy @ ShowFoodChef said...

I LOVE using Green Tea in so much; great idea to use it here. I also think the oats sound like a terrific and crunchy way to go.

Mary said...

Matcha, cashews and oats - yum!

Monika said...

Your bars are sooo pretty. Great job!

s-j said...

Looking good!

I find it so exciting when I'm finished in advance - no stress is lovely.

Anonymous said...

I've made matcha icecream before... I bet, matcha is really good in the nanaimo bars, too ;o)

oonsky said...

Love the matcha filling and cashew and oats base too. Looks delish!!!

Sophie said...

Oh my gosh - seeing that gorgeous photo of your graham crackers just made me regret having finished off mine. I love your shots!

Great job with the challenge, it all looks so yummy

That hint of green tea must have been great - mmm.

Deeba PAB said...

Pretty and perfect as can be! Love the idea of cashew & oats...nom nom nom! If they weren't so calorie laden, I would gladly make them again with your subs!! Well done indeed!!

Kat said...

The matcha sounds so interesting and creative along with the addition of the oats!

Tia said...

the layers look wonderful!

irina_kogan said...

Great idea to add the matcha. I can see there are probably some great possibilities for the middle layer and the bottom layer, as far as making additions and substitutions.

Suzler said...

Mm, green tea Nanaimos sound delicious. The cashews too. Oh, it's all good! Your bars look fab. :)

Sarah said...

Your graham crackers look great to me; they are the perfect golden brown! I also love your variation on the ingredients of the bars.

Coco Bean said...

Yum, oats instead of coconut... what a great idea! I don't really like coconut so that would be a great substitution for me! Thanks

Audax said...

Lovely that you added green tea which would cut the sweetness so nicely. You really did a great job on this challenge. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

bake in paris said...

Oats might be a good substitute to the shredded coconut. I used desiccated coconut and the bottom layer is just too rich, can't eat too much......

Your bar looks simply delicious.... Great job!

Sawadee from Bangkok,

anchan said...

What a great idea, to subsitute the coconut with oats... looks like I'm going to have to make another batch! :-)

Lisa said...

I never thought about substituting oats for coconut, that gives me a few ideas about other things I could make that swap in. Lovely bars :)

Cheri said...

Sounds like a refreshing change. Great job breaking away from the norm!

nikki said...

Great flavor combination and your bars and grahams are beautifully captured!

msmeanie said...

Great job on the challenge. Macha and cashew sound like a great combination. (Anything and cashew is a great combination for me). Lovely photos too!

Barbara Bakes said...

I think I would like oats in the as well. Yours look great!

Jill @ Jillicious Discoveries said...

I love the idea of using cashew nuts and oats in the bottom layer--they look wonderful! :)

Anonymous said...

Wow I bet the matcha was great! Excellent idea! If I make these again I will definitely be playing with some different flavourings, so may just give yours a try!

Anonymous said...

How yum! This nanaimo crave all over the foodie blog world has got me in a tangle for some!

Natalie, aka "Sheltie Girl" said...

Fabulous job! I love your choice of cashew and oats. My kids don't like coconut, so I substituted corn flake cereal for it. Turned out really nice too.

Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

Karine said...

Great idea to add match to nanaimo bars! Thanks for sharing :)

Lisa Michelle said...

The matcha-cashew combo sounds fanastic and so creative! Your bars look awesome and I'd love to try one! Well done!

Anonymous said...

Very nice nanaimos, and clever substitute in the graham crackers!

Y said...

Great job on the Nanaimo bars - matcha and cashews sound fantastic :)