Gluten Free Nanaimo Bars - Daring Bakers January 2010

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 I loved this challenge! I have been missing graham crackers and since they are an ingredient in this recipe, I got to make them gluten free. They turned out pretty yummy and I was excited to have a graham cracker peanut butter sandwich for a snack today!!
The nanaimo bar (pronounced nah-nye-mo) are delicious blend of chocolate, coconut, almonds and pretty easy to make (especially if you have graham crackers on hand. We'll be making them again. Since we're trying to be a little more helthy this year, I cut the butter in half for the base and instead of the vanilla frosting layer I used some sugar-free vanilla pudding (shame on me) made with 1 cup of milk instead of two so that it was really thick. We were able to enjoy these without the guilt and they didn't seem overly sweet like some people have claimed.

Gluten Free Nanaimo Bars

For Nanaimo Bars — Bottom Layer
1/4 cup Unsalted Butter
1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
5 tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa
1 Large Egg, Beaten
1 1/4 cups Gluten Free Graham Wafer Crumbs (See below for recipe)
1/2 cup Almonds (Any type, Finely chopped)
1 cup Coconut (Shredded, sweetened or unsweetened)

For Nanaimo Bars — Middle Layer 1oz box sugar free vanilla pudding mix 1 cup skim milk

For Nanaimo Bars — Top Layer
1/2 cup Semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoons Unsalted Butter

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: Whisk pudding mix a milk for 2 minutes until pudding is nice and thick. Spread over bottom layer and refrigerate.
3. For Top Layer: Melt chocolate and unsalted butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, pour over middle layer and chill.

Gluten Free Graham Crackers
(adapted from Rebecca Reilly's recipe)

2/3 cup bean flour

2/3 cup tapioca starch

2/3 cup corn starch

¼ cups sweet rice flour plus more for dusting rolling pin

½ cup packed brown sugar

1 ¾ teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons butter or margarine, cut into pieces

3 tablespoons cold water

4 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Mix together gluten-free flour mix, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, xanthan gum, baking soda and salt.

2. Using your fingertips, work butter into dry ingredients.

3. Stir in 3 tablespoons cold water, honey and vanilla. If dough is too dry, add a little more cold water, a teaspoon at a time.

4. Gather dough into a soft ball. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.

5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet and line with parchment paper.

6. Roll out half the dough on a silicone mat to about 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 2 x 3-inch pieces and prick lightly all over with a fork. Place mat on a cookie sheet to bake.

7. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. If cookies spread and bake together, re-cut while still warm and loosen them. Let cookies cool slightly before transferring to cooling rack.

Pasta Rosa with Spinach - Gluten Free

Last night I was craving pasta with some kind of cheesey sauce. I also wanted something fast because we were hungry 30 minutes ago. Looking in my pantry I saw a jar of Classico brand Creamy Alfredo pasta sauce (I love that it says gluten free right on the jar). Not a bad start, but we're trying to eat more vegetables so I did a little experimenting and came up with this simple yet delicious rosa sauce with spinach that we are already planning to make again.

Pasta Rosa with Spinach
--serves 6-8
16 oz jar gluten free creamy Alfredo sauce (I used Classico brand)
14 oz can diced tomatoes
4 cups baby spinach, washed
16 oz gluten free pasta (I used Trader Joe's brown rice pasta fusilli)
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried basil

Prepare pasta as directed on package. While pasta is cooking, combine tomatoes and spinach in a sauce pan on medium heat with the lid on. Remove lid when spinach begins to wilt (about 3-4 minutes). Add jar of creamy Alfredo sauce, red pepper flakes and dried basil to you tomato spinach mixture. Stir well and cook until heated through. Place the heat on low until the pasta is ready. When the pasta is cooked to al dente, drain the water and place the pasta back into the pan. Add the Rosa Sauce and gently stir until the sauce is distributed evenly over the pasta. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired and serve immediately.

OOH LA LA! Gluten Free Crepes

We love crepes at our house! My husband served an LDS mission in Paris, France and brought this recipe home with him. When crepes are on the menu, we call it Crepe Fest and go all out! We love using all kinds of toppings from nutella to meat and cheese, fruit and pudding or lemon juice and powder sugar. Any way you top them, they are a fun change up to your menu and always delicious! It was pretty easy to make this recipe gluten free and I think the gluten free version tastes exactly the same as the original.

Shane's Famous Crepes

2 cups gluten free flour mix
6 eggs
4 cups milk
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon xanthum gum

Combine flour, eggs, sugar and xanthum gum in a mixing bowl. With the mixer on meduium, gradually add the milk. Continue mixing on medium high for 4 minutes. Allow batter to rest 5-10 minutes. While batter is resting, heat your crepe pans or skillet to medium heat. Give batter a stir before making each crepe. Place a small amout of crepe batter on a hot crepe pan that has been lightly greased or buttered and swirl to just coat the bottom of the pan. I use about 1/4 cup for my 10 inch pan. After about 1 minute, loosen the crepe and flip it over. Cook for another minute or until crepe is a light golden brown color. Remove from heat and top with your favorite toppings. Roll or fold into a triangle and enjoy! These refrigerate well. Reheat in the microwave or enjoy cold. Makes about 20 10 inch crepes.

Yum! Turkey and Cheese crepe!

We bought our crepe pans in France. The shallow rim makes for easy flipping. A skillet will work just as well if you don't own a crepe pan.