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.

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