This month Daring baker’s challenge was to make Nanaimo bar. It is a three layer Canadian dessert with lots of sugar and chocolate, but relatively simple to make. I read that it is a recipe won by a house wife for a competition and named after the city of Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada. Lauren of Celiac Teen had suggested this recipe as part of the celebration for 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. If you are a calorie conscious person, this dessert is not good for you, because it is dangerously loaded with sugar.
Lauren suggested using homemade gluten free graham crackers. I was not able to find the gluten free flours suggested by her to make the homemade graham cracker. I used whole wheat flour for my graham crackers. I was a bit upset about as I baked the crackers a couple of minutes longer than what would have ideal, so my cracker’s got slightly burned, but they still tasted good. So I used Nabisco graham cracker along with my homemade ones.
It was really easy to assemble the Nanaimo bar. I halved the recipe as sugar is deadly thing in our home, and I used less sugar than suggested in the recipe (½ cup sugar for the middle layer). The Nanaimo bar came out really good. I gave it to my friend as my hubby (who is diabetic) is scared of sugar. I followed this and this recipe for graham cracker and added a little more spice. Made Mango flavored Nanaimo bar like this.
What you need
For Graham Cracker
Whole Wheat flour: 1 cup
All purpose flour: ¼ cup
Brown sugar: ½ cup
Baking soda: ½ teaspoon
Salt: 1/3 teaspoon
Butter: 3.5 tablespoon
Honey: half of 1/3 cup
Whole milk: 2.5 tablespoon
Ground Cinnamon: 1 tablespoon
Vanilla extract: 1 tablespoon
How I made
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine the flours, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Pulse or mix to incorporate all the ingredients. Add the butter and pulse on and off, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal. If making by hand, combine the forementioned dry ingredients with a whisk, then cut in 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 flour onto the work surface and roll the dough into a long rectangle, about 1/8 inches thick. The dough will be quite sticky, so flour as necessary. Cut into 4 by 4 inch squares. I cut it 2 by 2 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.
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 15-25 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.
When cooled completely, place enough wafers in food processor to make 1/2 cups of crumbs. Another way to do this is to place in a large zip loc bag, force all air out and smash with a rolling pin until wafers are crumbs.
For Nanaimo Bars
For Nanaimo Bars — Bottom Layer
Unsalted Butter: 1/4 cup
Granulated Sugar: 1/8cup
Unsweetened Cocoa: 2.5 tablespoon
Flax seed meal: 1 tablespoon
Water: 3 tablespoon
Graham Wafer Crumbs: 1/2 cup
Blanched toasted Almonds (Finely chopped): 1/4cup
Coconut (Shredded, unsweetened):1/2cup
For Nanaimo Bars — Middle Layer
Unsalted Butter: 1/4 cup
Milk: ¼ cup
Mango Custard Powder: 11/2 tablespoon
Cornstarch: 2 tablespoon
Icing Sugar: ½ cup
For Nanaimo Bars — Top Layer
Semi-sweet chocolate: 2 ounce
Unsalted Butter: 1 tablespoon
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, custard powder, and icing sugar together well and keep aside. Boil the milk and add custard powder-butter and icing sugar mixture and stir until everything get thickened. Switch off the flame and once it cooled, spread over the bottom layer.
For Top Layer: Melt chocolate and unsalted butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, pour over middle layer and chill.
Graham Wafers: 30 to 45 minutes total active prep, 2 ½ hours to overnight and 45 minutes inactive prep.
Nanaimo Bars: 30 minutes
Yield: Graham Crackers: 25
Nanaimo Bars: 8 pieces
Verdict: Really good
Will you make it again: I don’t know afraid of sugar content