Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Daring Bakers do Nanaimo Bars

And lucky me…I grew up eating these!!!

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

I almost missed making these.  Something about them having to be posted on the 27th of the month just messes me up bad but with bold determination and severely lacking eyesight I forged ahead and got these done!!!

I knew I had to make the graham crackers first.  I had already decided that as interesting as it would be to do them gluten free I really didn’t have the time or the money to be hunting down ingredients I would only be using once so I cheated and made them with Whole Wheat Graham Flour and they really are delicious!!!  I made these this morning and it went off without a hitch.  Had them out of the oven and I was on my way to the eye doctor.  Well. by the time I got home I couldn’t see a thing.  He had tricked me a dilated my eyes.  I was virtually blind, but the DB Challenge must go on!!!  I cut the recipe and copied it and then made it REALLY, REALLY BIG so that I could at least make out the measures.  The whole time I am kicking myself for leaving it til the very last minute…:-(

Anyway…these turned out beautifully despite all of my self inflicted challenges and it brought back a lot of great childhood memories for me!!!

P1020442 These were taken after my eyes were dilated by the stupid eye doctor.  I was lucky to find the camera!!!

Graham Cracker Recipe (that I used) by Cupcake Project


4 T (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1 egg
6 T sugar
4 T honey (Some graham crackers use half honey and half molasses. You might consider trying that as a variation.)
1/2 t baking soda
2 t water
3/4 t salt
1 1/2 C graham flour (If you can't get a hold of graham flour, there are plenty of graham cracker recipes that use regular whole wheat flour such as this graham cracker recipe from Baking Bites. You may also be able to directly substitute whole wheat flour in this recipe, but I haven't tested it and I make no promises.)
3/4 C all-purpose flour


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Combine the butter, egg and sugar in a bowl and beat until smooth and creamy.
  3. Stir in the honey and blend.
  4. Dissolve the baking soda in the water and add to the butter mixture.
  5. Add the salt, graham flour, and all-purpose flour to the mixture and blend thoroughly. The dough should hold together and be manageable. If it is too "tacky" add a little more graham flour.
  6. Liberally dust a surface with graham flour and roll the dough to a thickness of about 1/8 inch. For convenience in handling, cut the rolled dough into three or four sections that will fit on your cookie sheet. (I am not good at rolling things out. It doesn't come up too often since I mostly make cupcakes. To make my life easier, I lined my cookie sheets with parchment paper and rolled the dough directly on the cookie sheets. That way I didn't need to worry about the dough breaking when I lifted it onto a cookie sheet.)
  7. With a knife, score the dough, without cutting through, into 2 1/2 inch squares. (Boring! Since your graham crackers are not store-bought, they don't have to be square. Use your cookie cutters to make them any shape you want!)
  8. Prick each square a few times with the tines of a fork. (I did this because those little pricks do make them look like graham crackers, whatever shape they are.)
  9. Using a spatula, place the sections of scored cracker dough on an ungreased cookie sheet. (I didn't have to do this since I rolled right on the cookie sheet.)
  10. Bake on the first side for 8 minutes, then turn the cracker over and bake for another 6 or 7 minutes. (Cheryl of Free Range Living said that she found that flipping wasn't necessary. I agree. I left out the flip step.)
  11. Remove from the oven and cool on racks. (They weren't quite crispy when I removed them. However, they hardened up as soon as they cooled.)

Here how is the recipe as it should have been done for gluten free:

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.

Okay, I really loved these and despite all of my self inflicted trouble with them I would make them again and again!  Almost every family special occasion that we had we had the on the dessert table.  Such a treat to be able to make these myself.  Thanks Lauren for the opportunity and the reminder!



Dragon said...

You poor thing...what a struggle but you did it and they look amazing!

Heather said...

Home made graham crackers rule! I ave been making them for years and they make EVERYTHING taste better. Even dilated eyeballs.

Wait... How do dilated eyeballs taste? Hmm...

Peter M said...

Judy, you're grace under pressure. Flustered but the Nanaimo bars made it through.

I could eat six in a sitting.

Lauren said...

Even without being able to see it, you made these beautiful wafers and bars! Fantastic job on my challenge, I'm so glad I could bring back memories =D.

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Nanaimo bars and I go way back:D

Deeba PAB said...

You did great could he trick you...HORROR!! Love the Nanaimos and am hiding your blog from my hub. He loved them!
Well you better steer clear of the eye doctor next month darling, coz I'm gonna be hot on your heels!

Elle said...

Judy, you crack me up, hehehe! You did a great job, even with your temporary blindness--they look so good!

Anonymous said...

Really enjoyed reading your post - your eye story cracked me up!

Thistlemoon said...

These look amazing -I bet they did even with dilated pupils! You really are determined Judy!

Megan said...

Your a trooper! :) And they turned out beautiful!

Bob said...

They look fantastic, even better considering your difficulties! I've been dying to try nanaimo bars for ages, I really need to get on the bus.

Inspired by eRecipeCards said...

Your picture looks great. Been seeing these a lot today, looks yummy!

Jo said...

YOu did a great job no matter what! The bars look delicious.

Kimberly said...

The last picture sold me. Looks absolutely delicious and I would love to give these a try!