Yes. You read that right. This month’s Daring Baker’s Challenge, the first one in the new decade, was hosted by yours truly. There are no words to express how excited I was when Lis and Ivonne first asked me. My mind raced: it had to be gluten-free (or a straight forward way to do so), the Olympics were coming up, I wanted it to be Canadian, I wanted it to be something I loved, I wanted it to be something I missed.
After lots of searching, I thought of Nanaimo Bars. They are quintessentially Canadian. I hadn’t had one since being diagnosed with celiac disease. But, they are pretty straightforward. They also contain graham wafers. Those are something I miss immensely. They were always in our cupboard; a favourite snack, a not-too-sweet dessert, a filler in so many recipes. So, I decided that we should make those as well. After all, I would have to anyways =D.
Best of all, Nanaimo (pronounced Nah-nye-Moh) is in British Colombia! Vancouver, where the 2010 Winter Olympics are being held, is also in BC. They’re actually not too far apart! Speaking of the Olympics, I can’t wait to see them unfold and to watch the world as it comes to Canada.
Now, because the group is so large, it would be impossible for everyone to make them gluten-free, but the recipe was provided both ways to make it simple.
You have no idea how exciting (nerve-wracking, hunger-inducing, happy-making) this whole process was. Not only being asked, but finding the perfect recipe and watching the beautiful Daring Bakers make their creations. Thank you to Lis and Ivonne, and thank you to everyone who made the recipes. Even if you didn’t enjoy it, I am honoured that you tried =D. And now, to the awesomeness that is going to be across the blogosphere:
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.
Now, because you know me so well, it’s photo time. Then I’ll give you the uber-long recipe and possibly a shout-out to the Haiti ebook I am putting together (which should hopefully be for sale within the week =D).
Okay, so mine may not be the prettiest out there (and now, there are quite a few out there!!), but that doesn’t mean they aren’t great. Try ‘em. It couldn’t hurt. Just know that they are rich. A 2-inch square is plenty.
As promised, the recipes. Complete with tips and tricks!
Recipe Source: Graham Wafers — 101 Cookbooks (http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/000126.html) I adapted it to be gluten-free. The adapted recipe is below.
Nanaimo Bars — City of Nanaimo (http://www.nanaimo.ca/EN/main/visitors/NanaimoBars.html)
• Graham Wafers: 30 to 45 minutes total active prep, 2 ½ hours to overnight and 45 minutes inactive prep.
• Nanaimo Bars: 30 minutes.
• Food Processor
• Parchment paper or silpats
• Cookie sheets
• Double boiler or pot and heatproof bowl
• 8 by 8 inch square pan
• Hand mixer or stand mixer (You may use a wooden spoon, but this makes it much easier!)
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 much less time, 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.
Information on Celiac Disease: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/celiac-disease/DS00319
Information on Vancouver 2010: http://www.vancouver2010.com/
City of Nanaimo: http://www.nanaimo.ca/EN/index.html
Gluten Free Flour Information: http://glutenfreemommy.com/gluten-free-grains-101-the-best-flour-blend/
Video on making Nanaimo bars: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5aqa6R1jIM&feature=fvsr
Recipe and video for Vegan Nanaimo Bars (you didn’t think I’d leave you guys out?): http://www.everydaydish.tv/index.php?page=recipe&recipe=159
Recipe for gluten-free and vegan Graham Wafers: http://www.thesensitivepantry.com/the-sensitive-pantry/2009/8/3/grahams-plain-fancy.html
Just one more thing…
Welcome to Canada! I hope that these Olympics are some of the best yet!