Nanaimo Bars

>> Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My favorite part of joining The Daring Bakers is the excitement every month that comes from exploring new recipes.
This month our chalange was from our neighbors to the north and the host of the 2010 winter Olympic games, Canada.

The opportunity to create the Canadian chocolate bars, Nanaimo Bars was a refreshing change from my usual baking.
I kept the original recipe in order to create the most authentic foreign delight.
My family and I thank Lauren for exposing us to this yummy 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 , and gave us the option to use a regular flour as well, so I choose the Graham wafers recipes from the Smitten Kitchen

Graham Wafers - Smitten Kitchen

Makes 10 4 x 4.5-inch graham crackers or 48 2-inch squares

2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (375 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup (176 grams) dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon (6 grams) baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt (4 grams)
7 tablespoons (3 1/2 ounces or 100 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen
1/3 cup (114 grams) mild-flavored honey, such as clover
5 tablespoons (77 grams) milk, full-fat is best
2 tablespoons (27 grams) pure vanilla extract

Make the dough:

Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade or in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Pulse or mix on low to incorporate.
Add the butter and pulse on and off on and off, or mix on low, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal.

In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, milk, and vanilla extract.
Add to the flour mixture and pulse on and off a few times or mix on low until the dough barely comes together.
It will be very soft and sticky.
Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap and dust it lightly with flour, then turn the dough out onto it and pat it into a rectangle about 1-inch thick.
Wrap it, then chill it until firm, about 2 hours or overnight.

Roll out the crackers:
Divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator.
Sift an even layer of flour onto the work surface and roll the dough into a long rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. The dough will be sticky, so flour as necessary. Trim the edges of the rectangle to 4 inches wide.
Working with the shorter side of the rectangle parallel to the work surface, cut the strip every 4 1/2 inches to make 4 crackers.
Place the crackers on one or two parchment-lined baking sheets and sprinkle with the topping. Chill until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes in the fridge or 15 to 20 minutes in the freezer.
Repeat with the second batch of dough.
Finally, gather any scraps together into a ball, chill until firm, and re-roll.

Adjust the oven rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat the oven to 350°F.

Bake for 15 to 25 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the touch, rotating the sheets halfway through to ensure even baking.

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

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 color.
Spread over bottom layer.
For Top Layer:
Melt chocolate and unsalted butter over low heat.
Cool. Once cool, pour over middle layer and chill.

Additional Information:

These bars freeze very well, so don’t be afraid to pop some into the freezer.

The graham wafers may be kept in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.


Pizza night

>> Saturday, January 16, 2010

Every one has his own recipe for the best pizza
In my life I tried so many versions, so many recipes, but never I had the one that was our favorite...
So, I kept looking for the one that everybody would love and that would be our.

This recipe for the dough will defiantly be used again for pizza, the dough was so great to deal with, elastic and smooth so good, and the best part with this pizza is that there is no need for rising - you make it and eat it in one hour - isn't it great?

Pizza - from chef Oren Giron


3 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
50 m"l (1/4 cup) olive oil
300 m"l (1 1/4 cup) like warm water

Pizza sauce
1 small tomato paste can
1/2 teaspoon oragno
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoon water
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon ketchup

Mix all the ingredients together to smooth paste.


In a mixer bowl, mix the flours, salt and sugar.
Add the yeast, water and olive oil and mix it for 10 minutes, until a soft dough forms into a ball.
take the ball and ut dough into 2 pieces.
Take one, flatten with your hand then roll out on a pizza peel or upside-down cookie sheet.
Roll out dough until very thin.

Prepare dough with sauce and toppings of your choice.
Bake in 400 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

pizza with roasted eggplant and feta cheese


No-Knead Bread

>> Thursday, January 7, 2010

I did it at last !

I think that there is no food blogger out there that didn't bake this no-knead bread.
Seeing pictures of this bread and reading comments, made me want to make it.
The youtube clip also made me a promise that any 6 years old can do it, so I gave it a shot.

The only hard part in this bread is having the patience, 12 to 18 hours to let it rise.
That's why I decided to postpone it every time.
Though yesterday straight after work I made the dough and let it rise for the 18 hours
today I just took it out from the bowl, fold it, let it rise another 2 hours and ta-dam!
I have this boutique style Italian bread
The kind that no one will ever believe that it's no work at all to make
Beautiful shape, great taste, and the smell is just irresistible.
(if you still haven't or just for the fun and the taste (: )

No-knead bread - Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt.
Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap.
Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature,
about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles.
Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball.
Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal;
put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal.
Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours.
When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees.
Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven.
Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K.
Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.
Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned.

Cool on a rack.


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