Saturday, January 30, 2010

Daring Bakers...and SNOW

Well, better late than never right? The first challenge I am able to do in months and I can't get it in time!

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 didn't get this made until the weekend due to stupid sick over the week. I did attempt the homemade graham crackers, but was unable to do the gluten-free version b/c I'm trying to save money and just cannot spend that much on special flours that I will not use more than once! well, the instructions for the graham crackers say to bake them for 25 minutes. At 12 minutes there was smoke coming from the oven and my bottom rack of grahams were burnt to a crisp! I ran them outside to the snow to cool them off (smart right?) and then by the time I got back in the top rack was burnt too! I am going to try them again today...just for 11 minutes! Not sure if the special flour have something to do with the bake time, but it seems that some of the other bakers had the same issue using AP flour. Lesson learned--next time read the message boards before baking!

extra-toasty grahams

Being from Kentucky I had never heard of or tried these little Canadian treats--they are quite simple to make though (sadly i had to use store-bought grahams b/c I didn't want to go through the process of making homemade again for this--i will make them this afternoon though for my hubs!). Other than using homemade grahams, the only substitutions I made were to use vanilla pudding mix instead of "Bird's custard powder" (not to be found in these here parts) and using pecans in the base instead of almonds (i had pecans in the freezer and we're in the middle of a snowstorm! I was not going out for almonds!).

putting some filling on the bottom layer

Like some other bakers have said, these are SUPER sweet. I didn't know what to do with them all (I did make a full recipe) and then I remembered my sweet neighbor across the street. We trade baked goods a lot and he came by yesterday afternoon and offered to salt our walks and driveway for us! So nice. Later when updating hubs on the snowfall (he had to drive out of town for a wedding...very sad about it) I looked out front and was confused that the road to the left of our house was getting a tiny bit of accumulation (this is at the very beginning of the storm) but in front of our driveway it was just wet! I looked the other way and noticed the same thing and it cracked me up--our neighbor had salted the road directly in front of our houses but nothing else!
not sure if you can tell in these pictures, but if you look at the road you can see where it becomes white w/snow. heehee.
Well, i figured that was deserving of another treat, so the rest of these bars will be heading over to his family this afternoon!
As I mentioned, we got a LOT of snow this weekend! I'm just sad that hubs is out of town and can't enjoy it with us (not to mention worried about his plans to make a 3 hour drive home tonight after 10 pm when the roads will probably re-freeze!)

last night butchy loved it and jumped for joy! heehee

today..well, it touches her belly and she is not happy about that.

kitty hates it--he keeps meowing to go outside but then won't move. it's like he expects it to be gone when he goes back out. he hasn't made it more than 3 feet out the door without turning right back around and coming in.

around 6 inches i think...which is a ton for Bowling Green Kentucky!

Nanaimo Bars & Graham wafers
Makes 8 x 8-inch square slab, about 24 reasonably-sized bars (or as many as you manage to slice into)

For the gluten-free graham wafers:
1 cup (138 g; 4.9 oz) sweet rice flour (also known as glutinous rice flour)
3/4 cup (100 g; 3.5 oz) tapioca starch/flour
1/2 cup (65 g; 2.3 oz) sorghum Flour
1 cup (200 g) (7.1 oz) packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp kosher salt
7 tbsp (100 g; 3 ½ oz) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen
1/3 cup honey, mild-flavored such as clover.
5 tablespoons whole milk
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

Make the gluten-free graham wafers:
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 the butter until you have a coarse meal. No chunks of butter should be visible.
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.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.
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.
Adjust the rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).
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.
Prick the wafers with toothpick or fork, not all the way through, in two or more rows.
Bake for 25 minutes (12 if using all purpose flour), until browned and slightly firm to the touch, switching the shelves and rotating the 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 brown faster.
When cooled completely, place enough wafers in food processor to make 1 ¼ cups of crumbs. Another way to do this is to place the crackers in a large ziplock bag, force all air out and smash

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.

You can make the graham crackers with wheat, in this case replace the gluten-free flours (the tapioca starch, sweet rice flour, and sorghum flour) with 2 ½ cups plus 2 tbsp of all-purpose wheat flour, or wheat pastry flour. Watch the wheat-based graham wafers very closely in the oven, as they bake faster than the gluten-free ones, about only 12 minutes.

For the Nanaimo bars (adapted from

For the bottom layer:
1/2 cup (115 g; 4 oz) unsalted butter
1/4 cup (50 g; 1.8 oz) granulated sugar
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1/8 tsp salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups (160 g; 5.6 oz) gluten free graham wafer crumbs (or just regular graham crumbs)
1/2 cup (55 g; 1.9 ounces) sliced almonds, lightly toasted (or ½ cup rice crispies for nut-free version)
1 cup (130 g; 4.5 ounces) unsweetened dry coconut, lightly toasted

For the middle layer:
1/2 cup (115 g; 4 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons whipping cream
2 tablespoons vanilla custard powder (such as Bird’s, or vanilla pudding mix)
2 cups (254 g; 8.9 oz) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/8 tsp salt

For the top layer:
4 ounces (115 g) semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 tablespoons (28 g; 1 oz) unsalted butter

Make the bottom layer:
Line an 8 X 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, don’t grease the paper. Set aside.
Place the unsalted butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a large heatproof bowl set in a wide skillet of barely simmering water and stir frequently until the butter is melted; do not overheat. Gradually whisk in the egg and continue whisking until the mixture is thickened and reaches 160F (to remove a raw-egg issue). Remove from the heat. Stir in the crumbs, nuts (or rice crispies) and coconut. Press firmly into the prepared 8 x 8-inch square pan. Refrigerate while making the middle layer.

Make the middle layer:
In a large bowl, beat the butter, cream, custard powder (if using), icing sugar, pure vanilla extract, and salt together well until light in color. Spread over the bottom layer. Refrigerate while making the chocolate glaze.

Make the top layer:
Place all the ingredients in a small heatproof bowl set in a wide skillet of barely simmering water and stir frequently until the chocolate and butter are almost completely melted; do not overheat. Remove the glaze from the water bath and set aside to finish melting, stirring once or twice until perfectly smooth. Cool the glaze to 88-90 F. Once cool, pour over the middle layer, tilt the pan to spread the glaze. Chill thoroughly before slicing.


  1. I hope your husband can make it back! The side roads here are not great, but if he is going mostly highways, he should be okay.

  2. These look delicious!! I love your photographs and the dog is such a cutie!!