>> 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 www.nanaimo.ca. , 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.
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.