Nanaimo Bars

January 27, 2010

I’ve never been to Canada, but if they make these bars there, maybe it’s worth taking a trip.


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.

These were delicious.  True, you have to like coconut, but I hear you can replace that with Rice Crispies if you can’t stand it.  Making the bars themselves was pretty easy.  My only difficulties came in spreading on the chocolate.  The real challenge was the homemade graham crackers.  These were supposed to be gluten free, but as a young, high-school aged kid, I don’t have a ton of money (or time) to spend on finding rare and exotic types of flours.  One day, I’ll have all the time in the world to scour the shelves of whole foods with my inoordinate amounts of money buying chickpea flour and gluten-free mixes, but until then…. I have to stick with whole wheat.  =[

So, I made these graham crackers using whole wheat pastry flour.  First of all, I have a tiny little food processor which tends to make things very inconvenient.  I blended all the ingredients in two batches, ending up with flour all the floor.  I was cooking in my coat (it’s cold in my house!) and that was covered in white dust by the end of my endeavors as well.  Maybe I should start wearing aprons…

I also didn’t prick the crackers or give them nice straight edges.  Next time I would try cookie cutters.  Finally, I thought the large amount of butter in the recipe was strange.  Aren’t these supposed to be crispy?  Why would they need all that extra fat? I think I’m correct in thinking fat, especially butter, tends to make baked goods chewier.  Alton Brown’s recipe uses less than half the butter.  I’d like to try his recipe, or maybe just reduce the butter in the DB recipe.  Any thoughts?  Also (I was going to do this but forgot), cinnamon sugar would be delicious sprinkled on these.

Anyways, as I rarely make it through creating any baked good without mishap, my graham crackers were far from perfect.  They were ugly, misshapen, and probably a bit too chewy.  That would be why you see no picture of them.  However, they worked fine for the nanaimo bars and will be great for graham cracker crusts!  See, things don’t have to be perfect all the time.

I thought this challenge was a great one.  I really wish I had been able to make them gluten-free, but hopefully I’ll do some gluten-free baking in the near future.  Also, check out the rest of the DB’s completed challenges.  They are so amazingly creative!  Already I’ve seen cheesecake, peanut butter, and cappuccino variations.  I highly recommend this recipe for the nanaimo bars, just beware that they are super rich (in the best possible way)!  I’ll work on planning my trip to Canada…

*And just a thought: these bars would probably be really really good with a peppermint filling, or a cookie dough filling.  Yum.

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