27 gennaio 2010

January DBs' Challenge - Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars

la ricetta in italiano qui

The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of
Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars , a popular Canadian cake to honor next Vancouver XXI Olympic Games, as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and www.nanaimo.ca
Thanks, Lauren, for this choice, I am very happy and satisfied because I learned how to make famous Graham crackers on my own! And they taste so good indeed, although I baked the non gluten-free version. I will bake them again and again, that's sure! And I also learned why the are named Graham, a quick research on Wikipedia gave me all info about: it will be a pleasure to translate the funny story in Italian for my blogger friends, I bet no one knows the truth!
Nanaimo bars were easy to make but came out too much sweet to our taste. Well, it's only the middle layer which is so rich and buttery, and also my cream was not that fluffy, I had no possibility to find Vanilla Custard Powder and did not know what to use as substitute, so just left it plain. I might have used mascarpone, but was not that sure. Any suggestion? Bottom layer is fantastic, I will surely try for other cakes (using just a little less coconut), and I put some shredded almonds on top layer as it was not smooth and nice (I would have liked to make a grilled design with white melted chocolate but ... I forgot to buy it!)

Graham Wafers

graham crackers


2 1/2 cups plus 2 tbsp of all-purpose wheat flour*
1 cup (200 g) Dark Brown Sugar, Lightly packed
1 teaspoon (5 mL) Baking soda
3/4 teaspoon (4 mL ) Kosher 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

* for gluten free version: 1 cup (138 g) Sweet rice flour + 3/4 cup (100 g) Tapioca Starch/Flour + 1/2 cup (65 g) Sorghum Flour, and bake about 25 minutes

graham crackers

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 180°.
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 about 15 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.

The graham wafers may be kept in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Nanaimo Bars

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 (300 mL) Gluten Free Graham Wafer Crumbs
1/2 cup (55 g) Almonds (Any type, Finely chopped)
1 cup (130 g) Coconut (Shredded, sweetened or unsweetened)

Middle Layer
1/2 cup (115 g) Unsalted Butter

2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons (40 ml) Heavy Cream
2 tablespoons (30 ml) Vanilla Custard Powder (Such as Bird’s. Vanilla pudding mix may be substituted.)
2 cups (254 g) Icing Sugar

Top Layer
4 ounces (115 g) Semi-sweet chocolate
2 tablespoons (28 g) Unsalted Butter

nanaimo bars

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.

11 commenti:

Sue ha detto...

Love the photography! Everything looks delicious!

Dewi ha detto...

Your graham crackers look absolutely fabulous Ci. Always amaze with your baking skill.

Rachel ha detto...

Drool! Drool! Drool!

Anonimo ha detto...

you've done really well - they look delicious!

Cindystar ha detto...

Thanks everybody, I was very impressed by the crackers, they are going to be a must on our table!

Anonimo ha detto...

Wow, your nanaimo bars look fantastic. I made mine gluten-free, too, and thought the Graham crackers were totally scrumptious!

Mary ha detto...

Mmm, I think a mascarpone filling would be wonderful in the centre! I found them a bit too sweet too, but love the graham crackers and will be making those again and again.

Sara ha detto...

Looks gorgeous! I agree these were too sweet...I think next time I might go for a thick custard or a caramel layer rather than basically a thick layer of frosting. Still...yum! :)

Jamie ha detto...

Yum they actually look delicious! The bottom layer I could actually see picking off and eating by itself! Your cookies are really perfect!

The Cooking Ninja ha detto...

I absolutely love graham crackers. They were still a wee bit sweet for us after I half the amount of sugar in the recipe.

As for the middle layer, I did thought of making my own custard instead of using custard powder but I have a can in my cupboard so I dropped the idea.

Cindystar ha detto...

Ap269, thank you and well said, graham crackers totally scrumptious!

Mary, if I would ever have another chance for nanaimo bars that will be definetely with mascarpone!

Sara, suppose most of us found them too sweet, but caramel would be sweet as well, wouldn'it? what about a fruit layer, strawberries or raspberries or lemon/orange?

Jamie, thank you.

Ninja, i should try with less sugar too, suppose the will be healthier! by the way, could you tell me how you make your own custard, please?

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