I know it’s a bit boring only reading the Daring Bakers challenges every month and nothing in between but I sort of can’t manage to do much else. I do make other stuff but usually not stuff that is particularly blogworthy or when it is, I’m to late to blog about it (who wants to read about Christmas cookies in January?) Anyway, I’m sure I’ll be posting more but when is the question 😉
Ok, on to the DB challenge this month: Nanaimo bars. Something I’ve heard of before but didn’t really know what it was exactly. Always nice to try your hand a typical recipe for a certain country, Canada in this case. The base contains graham crackers, also something I’ve heard of before but never tried or tried making it. So making the graham crackers was the first thing I had to make. We had the option of making a gluten-free of gluten-full version, I made the gluten-full version because a) it was easier ingredient-wise and b) wanted to experience what a ‘regular’ graham cracker would be like (but I did make it a bit differently by replacing 1 Â½ cup of wheat flour with 1 cup of rye flour and Â½ cup of whole wheat flour). The dough turned out dry-ish but I left it like that not knowing how exactly it should be. The dough wasn’t completely blended/smooth, it reminded me of last month’s ginger bread house dough. I could roll it out without using too much flour so that was good. It was an easy enough dough to work with. Baking time was about 25 minutes but after 18 minutes the crackers started to like dark brown. I was afraid I overbaked them but turned out they were just perfect (even though I don’t even know how ‘real’ graham crackers taste/look like 😉 I loved the crunch and taste, delicious! Will be making them again I’m sure. Maybe try with even more whole wheat flour (as I always thought graham crackers were made of).
So this was step 1. Step 2 was making the Nanaimo bars. The middle layer (buttercream) uses vanilla custard powder, something that could be substituted by vanilla pudding powder. So I was reading the label in the supermarkt and saw that the pudding powder (no custard in Austrian supermarkets) consisted of modified starch, colouring, flavouring and that was about it. So instead of buying a coloured and non-natural vanilla flavoured pudding mix I just used corn starch (corn flour) and vanilla bean (and no colouring). Worked just as well.
The base has slightly cooked egg inside, something I don’t like giving to my children. I cooked the butter, cocoa and egg mixture till 70Â°C to make it save. This didn’t cause any problems for the base.
Making the bars was easy. The layers looked pretty. Only the taste is not my cup of tea, even though I love sweet stuff (baklava, turkish delight, meringue etc) this was too sweet without much depth in taste. But I guess that’s just me as the whole of Canada loves this bar 😉 I did like the way the base was made with the egg. Nice base to use to make a dessert or small cake.
The January 2010 Daring Bakersâ€™ 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 http://www.nanaimo.ca.
You can find the recipe here.