Wednesday, January 27, 2010

January Daring Bakers Challenge ~ Nanaimo Bars and Graham Wafers!

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

Graham Wafers. I do like Graham crackers and usually buy them from the store. Never again, no more. I was down to the wire with this challenge. I started late…2 days before it was due. But so glad I did it.

First of all the recipe was for gluten free and I didn’t have the funds nor the time to search for the 4 different types of flours to produce a gluten free wafer. I also had been in the kitchen a lot this month and didn’t have time to research this challenge. After telling hubby that I was going to skip this challenge I felt major guilt. Anyway, I looked at my co-daring bakers and saw that many of them didn’t do a gluten free wafer either. I saw the ingredients and they were everything that I had in my cabinets! Oh my gosh, this is the easier recipe ever!!! After reading this post, you all should make your own wafers from here on in. Seriously.

I will say that I had trouble with my dough as I don’t think I crumbed up my butter and flour mixture correctly. My dough was very brittle ~see…


Many complained that it was sticky…well mine wasn’t. It kept falling apart. Thus leading me to believe that my recipe was doomed for failure.

Despite that thought… I continued on. My results????


These things almost didn’t make it to the bar. These things were so good that I was upset that I halved the recipe. Wow, I made a graham cracker.


Now on to more deliciousness. The bottom layer of the Nanaimo bar. This layer consist of those wonderful graham crackers that I worked so hard on (yeah right). A mixture of butter, cocoa powder and coconut and nuts as well. Oh, I don’t have nuts. Hmmmmm, I know, I have peppermint candy cane. Great substitution! I grounded up the wafers and grounded up some peppermint candy cane. Added some coconut and the result was so crunchy minty. Nice. This was added to the butter and cocoa and placed in the pan as a chewy base with some crunch! I was excited.

So on to the next step. The Nanaimo recipe required a middle layer. This layer had vanilla pudding or you could use a Bird’s Custard as a substitute. Well, with hubby being a pescatarian and all, I knew that anything with gelatin in it would not be eaten by him. So as I read, I noted that some other bakers used a substitution. The recipe for the middle custard was similar to a buttercream. I had buttercream…and I had strawberries. Why not mix the two??! Result…creamy deliciousness.

Now on to the top. Chocolate. That is it. Chocolate. The recipe called for chocolate melted with butter. Well, I have chocolate ganache in the fridge and by George that was what I was going to use! I reheated and poured this chocolate on top of the creamy strawberry buttercream middle which laid on top of the crunchy minty coconuty chocolaty base. Heavenly.

This Nanaimo bar is apparently favored in Canada. Well, count it as a favorite in my house. Now I am so glad I halved the recipe because this stuff is deadly decadent and delicious. I wanted to wait until it “set up” in the fridge before I took pictures but I was too excited. My buttercream and chocolate are still a bit soft but taste wise…hey, it all goes down the same way.


Ohhh, my minty, crunchy yet chewy, chocolaty, coconuty, strawberry, creamy, dreamy thingy. How I adore thee.

Thank you Lauren for this great recipe. It was fun…now I must say that you owe me a months worth of gym membership fees because I have to be there everyday after eating one of these bars.

UPDATE: The morning after. Just wanted to show that bottom layer…the bars have set up a bit firmer!


Please note…my chocolate layer was laid on a bit thicker then it should. Silly mistake…or was it????


  1. Hehe candy canes in the bases? I like the way you think! Yummo

  2. Karin you never cease to amaze me! You make me wish I had the time to bake... but it is probably a good thing I don't, cause I HATE the gym!!!

  3. love this post. thee crackers look divine and the bar cute.
    great work

  4. And to think you almost didn't do this one! Terrific work.

  5. There can never be too much ganache! Lovely job.

  6. Those look really yummy! Good work.

  7. Nice touch to the bars and beautiful cakes! I have to agree, the challenge was a great one ;)

  8. Strawberries and custard in the centre sound fantastic. And I wish I had thought of ganache topping, because I don't even like melted and hardened chocolate very much. I think the graham crackers were very forgiving, and they were my favourite part!

  9. I love your butterfly graham crackers! The last photo of your strawberry buttercream looks so festive and delicious! :)

  10. great take on crackers, butterflies :)