27. siječnja 2010.

Daring Bakers Challenge, January 2010: Nanaimo 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.

I have a confession to make. When I first saw the Nanaimo bars recipe, I freaked out. It seemed like the type of dessert I would never make or enjoy eating. The amounts of butter and sugar in the recipe are ridiculously high by my standards. Don't get me wrong, I love sweets and would live off them if only I could. But I like them light and (preferably, but not necessarily) fluffy, not too rich or very sweet. For a person who reduces the amounts of butter and sugar whenever the recipe allows it, Nanaimo bars seemed like the Ninth Circle of Dante's Inferno - way too sinful and decadent. And since sugar and butter are basically the only two ingredients in the filling, there wasn't really much for me to reduce. Yeah, so now you see why i was freaking out.

For a moment there I was about to give up and not participate in this month's challenge. But then it occurred to me that the Daring Bakers are all about trying out new and different recipes and challenging yourself and your tastes. And boy am I glad I didn't give up! These bars turned out to be a very pleasant surprise indeed. I loved them! As long I didn't think about how high they were on butter and sugar, I was happy. And that's what counts, right?

As far as the recipes are concerned, I didn't have any difficulties. Everything went nice and smooth. I didn't go with the gluten-free version of the crackers though, mainly to cut the costs and save some time looking for the ingredients I might not find in the end. As for the Nanaimo bars, I made two different flavors and shapes. I made coconut vanilla bean cakes and cranberry bars. I chose these particular flavors mainly because I believed they would help cut the sweetness and richness of the bars themselves. I was right. The consistency of the shredded coconut allowed me to reduce the sugar by half and still get a creamy but firm filling. On the other hand, the sour cranberries really made a difference and cut the sweetness and richness of the bars considerably. I was really happy with the results. Instead of the almonds in the bottom layer I used toasted hazelnuts, and instead of the vanilla custard powder I used cornstarch.

To sum up, it was a fun challenge with surprisingly pleasant results. My special thanks goes to Lauren for choosing this recipe and making me try something completely different and new.

Gluten-Free Graham Wafers
1 cup (138 g) sweet rice flour (also known as glutinous rice flour)*
3/4 cup (100 g) tapioca starch/flour*
1/2 cup (65 g) sorghum flour*
1 cup (200 g) dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons (100 g) 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

*If making the graham crackers with wheat, replace the gluten-free flours (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, sometimes only 12 minutes.

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

Bottom Layer
1/2 cup (115 g) unsalted butter
1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
5 tablespoons (75 mL) unsweetened cocoa
1 large egg, beaten
1 1/4 cups (160 g) gluten free graham wafer crumbs (see previous recipe)
1/2 cup (55 g) almonds, finely chopped
1 cup (130 g) shredded coconut

Middle Layer
1/2 cup (115 g) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons (40 mL) heavy cream
2 tablespoons (30 mL) vanilla pudding mix (or cornstarch)
2 cups (254 g) icing Sugar

Top Layer
4 ounces (115 g) semi-sweet chocolate
2 tablespoons (28 g) 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.

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.

For the Nanaimo Bars, if making with wheat, replace the gluten-free graham wafer crumbs with equal parts wheat graham wafer crumbs!
Related Stories Widget by LinkWithin

Broj komentara: 50:

  1. Monika, I'm so glad that you ended up making them! Your bars are stunning and I love the idea of cranberries in the centre =D. Thank you for giving my challenge a shot, and I'm so glad you ended up enjoying it!

  2. Beautiful photos! Your cranberry bars look so delicious!

  3. Omg beautiful work and photos! Love the sound of coconut and vanilla!

  4. I love your Nanaimo Bars. I too felt like you and thought I'd opt out.But am soooo glad I made them. I 'd like to try your versions. Great work!

  5. Dva prekrasna primjerka masterpieca!
    Sviđaju mi se izmjene u receptu. I ja ustuknem kad recept za kremu sadrži gotovo samo maslac i šećer, iako imam recept i radim išlere s takvom kremom i :))) bijesno su dobri!
    Savršeno si ih napravila, a fotografije me ostavljaju širom otvorenih usta!

  6. Prekrasni su ti. Iskreno i ja bih se dvoumila da li da pravim kolač sa toliko šećera. Viđala sam ja te Nanaimo bars na blogovima i bili su mi zanimljivi izgledom, ta buter krema, čokolada, taj bogati čokoladno keksasti biskvit, ali bi uvijek odustala misleći da su hiperkalorični. Ne mogu čak zamisliti kakvog je okusa.

  7. I'm so jealous of how perfect your bars (and circles haha) look!! What beautiful photography as well! I'm glad you went along with this challenge. The next time you encounter a dessert that you consider to be too sweet, you should just give them away to friends and relatives :)...or to me! haha

  8. these bars look amazing! and your cranberry idea just great! well done!!!

  9. absolutely stunning!!! perfect...cant look any better!

  10. Bravo, Monika! :) Prekrasni su ti, a vjerujem da su slasni!

  11. What gorgeous bars! Cranberries are such a fabulous idea- I'm going to have to keep that in mind. So glad you went ahead with the challenge, I was quite sceptical when I saw the words "custard powder" but like you said, they tasted fantastic in the end :)

  12. u novije vrijeme sve manje nailazim na recepte u koje ide puno šećera i maslaca i to mi se baš sviđa iako ne odbijam i ove stare dobre kalorične kreme :) oduševile su me ove male tortice, ma sve ;)

  13. Krasno izgledaju,bas bih volela da ih napravim bas zbog te njihove kaloričnosti..ja volim deserte tipa-sve je puno sećera...predivne fotkice.!

  14. jako lijepo monika.:) ja sam preskocila ovaj krug jer nanaimo bars su preteski cak i za ukus moje djece.:)

  15. your pictures look amazing! great job

  16. Ajme Monika kako su lijepi. Savršeno izgledaju. Slažem se s tobom po pitanju količine šećera i maslaca ali ipak me zanima jel ti ostao koji komad? ;) ;)
    Baš sam gledala na foodgawekeru još neke uratke i moram ti reći da si ih većinu nadmašila. :)
    Reci mi jesi i u ovom receptu koristila one kalupe od boce?
    Vidjela sam u Mulleru te metalne kalupe ali 4 komada koštaju blizu 200 kn?!

  17. this pictures are breathtaking, love the presentation.

  18. Zdravo, ucinila sam se slobodnom pa sam stavila tvoj blog u mojim linkovima, da li mozes da stvis moj sajt http://kulinarski-kutak.6te.net/index.php u tvojim linkovima!?

  19. Prelepo! Sad si mi dala bust da ih pravim :) Sad upravo krecem :)

  20. amazing!!
    this is absolutely sweet sensation
    i love you mini cakes and the beautiful presentation.

  21. @Lauren, I'm glad I gave them a chance because they turned out much better than I expected. Thanks for the great challenge. You were a wonderful host :)
    @chef_d, Karen, Marcellina, bcswerit, s...Thank you all for your lovely comments!
    @Memoria, I thought of giving them away, but they turned out sooo good that I just had to keep them all for myself :D
    @Tadeja, Vali, Josipa...hvala vam!
    @Cosmo, meni je ovo bio prvi susret sa ovom kanadskom poslasticom i nisam uopće znala što da očekujem. Jako su mi lijepo izgledali ovi kolačići ali bila sam uvjerena da mi se neće svidjeti. Kako sam se prevarila! :)
    @shaz, Food Lover, Wic...Thanks for your comments. I'm really glad you like the bars and the pictures.
    @Vera, svakako isprobaj ove kockice, sigurno će ti se svidjeti :)
    @Snježana, hvala!
    @Andrea, hvala ti! Ne pitaj me ništa, još su dva mala komadića ostala i mislim da neće dočekati sutra. Ako sad ne padnem u šećenu komu, neću nikad. :D Što se tiče kalupa, iskoristila sam ovaj put male boce od Jane (zapremnine 1/2L). Od svake boce sam napravila 2 kalupa visine 5 cm. Kupovni metalni kalupi su bezobrazno skupi. Četiri kalupa nisu dovoljno, znači morala bih potrošiti 400kn. Ma ne dolazi u obzir!
    @Jelana, nema problema, dapače :)
    @Marija, ajde...što čekaš, već debelo kasniš?! :D

  22. I wasn't too sure about Nanaimo bars either, the ingredient list didn't really look that appealing to me, but I was also very pleasantly surprised and delighted with the end result. Absolutely delicious!
    You could always make a pastry cream or custard to replace the buttercream layer which will cut down on the butter content, but I love the variations you made, especially the cranberry. Yum!
    Great work on the challenge, beautifully done as always :)

  23. Monika, both your bars are stunning & both WINNERS! I love how beautifully you made them. Elegant like in a pastry shop. WOW!!

  24. I think the cranberry nanaimo bar looks really cool!

  25. The cranberry version sounds great!

  26. Monika, I know how you felt.. LOL.. I had the same reaction esp, I am not such a fan of chocolate either :)) I made mine totally fruit based in all layers.. so that cut through the richness..

    love your cranberry version.. gorgeous!! :))

  27. They look fantastic, and the cranberries are very Canadian too! I also find Nanaimo bars very sweet and rich, so I made a more custardy filling and ended up enjoying these a bit too much!

  28. Very pretty"the cranberry version is interesting and very tempting!



  29. Wow they look fantastic...i loved the round shaped ones....beautiful.The cranberry idea is awesome!

  30. Love your presentation! Gorgeous bars, graham crackers and photographs!

  31. What goregous and beautiful photos you have produced for this challenge. And the cranberries are an inspired idea and would be perfect in this rich Nanaimo recipe. Bravo and well done! Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  32. Great great pictures and they look so fabulous. Excellent!

  33. Ja ih pravim i sada vidim da imaju drugaciji naziv :),moji se zovu Kontinental snite !!
    Pravi si profesionalac!@!

  34. I too freaked out initially with the high content of butter but thank god i made them, these were sinfully good, though i reduced sugar in the middle layer as it found it to be extremely sweet! Your bars look gorgeous and so very elegant, love the vanilla bean and coconut filling, cranberry one looks very inviting with soft pink color!

  35. sve ti je stvarno preeedivno ispalo i svaka čast na uradku i malim izmjenama recepta, niti ja ne volim kolače i kreme na bazi maslaca...ove tortice od vanilije su me nekako najviše privukle..:D

  36. Prekrasno, ne mogu skinuti pogleda.

  37. Absolutely gorgeous! Both flavors are so creative and inspiring. Lovely.. lovely.

  38. Your Nanaino Bars are absolutely stunning! I especially like the photographs of the round ones.

  39. These are gorgeous! Beautifully done!

  40. Everything you did with this challenge is just FANTASTIC!! I love your photos and the cranberry flavor sounds so wonderful. Just beautiful! :)

  41. Gorgeous job and presentation!

    Natalie @ Gluten a Go Go

  42. I bet the cranberries added so much demension to these bars. I love all of your photographs!

  43. sad sam definitivno ostala bez rijeci...ne znam sto da napisem...ocarana sam :)

  44. Great job with your bars! They look delicious :)

  45. Beautiful creations and photographs you made. I bet the cranberry helped a lot with the sweetness.

  46. Your Nanaimo bars look so perfect. I especially love those cranberry bars! They remind me of a chocolate bar you get here. Great idea using them to cut the sweetness too. I reduced the amount of sugar in the rest of the recipe, after tasting the sweet graham crackers.

  47. Potpuno se slazem s tobom za secer i maslac. I ja uvijek smanjujem kolicinu.
    Predivno su ti ispali i slike fantasticne:))

  48. gorgeous bars.. and images.. :) I love the idea of cranberry Nanaimo bars.. sounds very refreshing..

  49. Nice brief and this enter helped me alot in my college assignement. Say thank you you as your information.

  50. Wow, Monika! All your bars look so beautiful and original. Nanaimo bars don't look anything like that here in Canada:) I'm so happy to have discovered your blog. Its beautifully presented and beautifully written. I look forward to spending more time here.