Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Nanaimo Pops - Daring Bakers Jan 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 seem to be suffering from baker's block at the moment. Perhaps it's a hangover from all the crazy Christmas baking, but I've been feeling too tired to bake. And it's been hot enough in Sydney recently that the absolute last thing that I felt like doing was turning the oven on. So I was slightly relieved to hear what this month's challenge would be, especially after the insanity of last month. I hadn't really heard of Nanaimo bars before this, so I decided to keep it simple and try out the recipe without too much tampering.
It was quite a straight-forward recipe, unfortunately I left it to the last minute and had to use what was available so I did not make the gluten-free version of the Graham wafers. I was really looking forward to making them since I've seen them in so many of the slices and cheesecake recipes where I've had to replace it with Digestive biscuits. The Graham wafers were delicious, I loved the light flavour the honey gave them, and they tasted nothing like digestives.
I thought it might be fun to serve the Nanaimo bar on lollipop sticks, like a cake pop. I ended up settling for popsicle sticks, which was probably better since I made them quite large and they needed a thick stick to hold on to. I was a little disappointed with how my Nanaimo pops turned out, but I should have known I was headed for disaster, because anything that is chocolate covered is going to end up a big fat mess if I'm the one doing it. I forgot to chill my pops before taking photos, but they firmed up nicely in the fridge afterwards. I still wish they were a little bit neater, but they were fun to dip into warm milk.
While I adored the Graham wafers, I'm a little unsure if this is one of my favourite slices. The middle layer had a lot of custard powder in it, which has quite a strong flavour. I don't tend to use custard powder for anything other than biscuits, so I wasn't used to the flavour of it. It also seemed such a shame to crush up those lovely tasting biscuits into the base where you couldn't taste it anymore! I also replaced the almonds in the base with cornflakes, due to allergies, which worked quite nicely. It reminded me of afghan cookies, which I have had a major craving for recently.

For Gluten-Free Graham Wafers
1 cup (138 g) (4.9 ounces) Sweet rice flour (also known as glutinous rice flour)
3/4 cup (100 g) (3.5 ounces) Tapioca Starch/Flour
1/2 cup (65 g) (2.3 ounces) Sorghum Flour (I replaced all three flours with plain flour)
1 cup (200 g) (7.1 ounces) Dark Brown Sugar, Lightly packed
1 teaspoon (5 mL) Baking soda
3/4 teaspoon (4 mL ) Kosher Salt
7 tablespoons (100 g) (3 ½ ounces) 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
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.
Milk, honey & vanilla (The geek in me was reminded of physiology labs when I saw this)
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 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).
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 25 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, forceforce all air out and smash with a rolling pin until wafers are crumbs.
Nanaimo Bars
Bottom Layer
1/2 cup (115 g) (4 ounces) Unsalted Butter
1/4 cup (50 g) (1.8 ounces) Granulated Sugar
5 tablespoons (75 mL) Unsweetened Cocoa
1 Large Egg, Beaten
1 1/4 cups (300 mL) (160 g) (5.6 ounces) Gluten Free Graham Wafer Crumbs (See previous recipe)
1/2 cup (55 g) (1.9 ounces) Almonds (Any type, Finely chopped) (I replaced this with an equal amount of slightly crushed cornflakes
1 cup (130 g) (4.5 ounces) Coconut (Shredded, sweetened or unsweetened)
Middle Layer
1/2 cup (115 g) (4 ounces) 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) (8.9 ounces) Icing Sugar

Top Layer
4 ounces (115 g) Semi-sweet chocolate
2 tablespoons (28 g) (1 ounce) 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.
For the pops, I pressed them into heart shapes using a cookie cutter, and then pressed them firmly into the tops of the popsicle sticks.
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.
I placed my pops over a wire racks so any excess chocolate could drip off. After chilled, serve with hot tea or warm milk...or whatever you feel like! Thanks to Lauren for this month's challenge, I'm going to go munch on some Graham wafers now!
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  1. How adorable? What a great idea. I think they look lovely. I found the recipe so so sweet. It was great to do something that I hadn't heard of either. Great work on the cute pops! :)

  2. Love your variation on it - that size looks perfect.

  3. Great idea Steph!! Love the cake pops. It was quite a sweet slice, I would have liked custard in it :) Hehehe - Re: Milk, honey & vanilla photo - I know what you mean.

  4. So CUTE!! :D I love the pop idea! I didn't have time to experiment with the gluten free version either but was pleasantly surprised by the graham crackers too.

  5. How adorable do they look and I love the heart shape too! :)

  6. Love the bitesize cutesy nanaimo on a stick! You must did this very last minute cuz I remember you said you havent event started last weekend! Im impressed you can made something so impressive under peer pressure within 2 days! LOL

  7. Beyond adorable! Looking at what everyone has done with my challenge, I think I'm going to have a giant graham and Nanaimo bar baking party. I'm glad you loved the wafers and for the bars, you can always change up the centre and have an entirely new taste!

  8. Such a cute idea! Anything on a stick equals instant appeal :) And now I understand your tweet about being covered in butter and chocolate. lol

  9. They are very cute. It's a great treat and gluten free which is even better.

  10. Steph, they're adorable! And they're prob the perfect size seeing as they're really sweet. Nice last-minute job unlike a certain somebody...

  11. your nanaimo pops are so pretty! i'm sure they tasted yummy with the milk too :)

  12. hey Steph.. LOVE your original idea of serving it like a lollipop. Everyone mentioend that it was quite sweet and rich, I think serving it in small quantities like yours is perfect.

  13. What a fantastic idea!! I would have NEVER thought of doing that. Great job!!

  14. cute!!! such fun! beautiful pics!

  15. Steff they are so absolutely cute! I dont know any other way to describe em!

  16. Such gorgeous little heart pops! Well done - they are so, so adorable.

  17. I was raised in Nanaimo BC Canada, and so have had many of these bars in my life. However, I have never seen them so sweetly presented. They are lovely.

  18. adorable and delicious looking pops. stunning version of this months challenge. great work.

  19. Wow! These are too cute for words! Love the idea. Hmmm... Will have to put these on the long list of 2010 baking projects. Now to research a way to substitute the coconut.

    Beks x

  20. These cake pops are just too cute!!!!

  21. These are so adorable! Such a good idea.

    I'm glad some other people weren't too sure about the bars, especially the middle layer.

  22. These are really cute - I don't think the chocolate looks messy at all! I've always wanted to try Graham crackers... I wonder if my cheesecakes would taste better with the proper Graham cracker base.

  23. Your heart pops are so cute! I quite liked the flavour of the custard powder in the buttercream, but I love custard anything, lol :)
    Lovely work on the challenge!

  24. I love your heart pops bars
    they are so cute
    amazing job!

  25. I love your pops. Great idea...well done on the challenge!!

  26. How cute the pops are!! whimsical:))

  27. Those are adorable! They seem like they took so much effort - I admire you for your creativity and hard work!

  28. Nanaimo pops? Brilliant idea! They don't look remotely like a disaster to me. I also love your blog's header picture. Raspberries & Cupcakes are delicious.

  29. WOW what a cute idea love love love it. And great that you have made Graham crackers yes they taste like weak honeyed ginger snaps. Lovely work on this challenge. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  30. Steph, sounds like you got over your baker's block really quickly, as these are such a clever idea! Considering the weather at the moment, highly appropriate too :)

  31. these are so adorable! Great job :)

  32. I love your little heart popsicles! I think the fact that they are not perfect adds a certain charm to it. Such a brilliant idea. Kudos!

  33. Great idea for the cake pops. I think they look fantastic. Also love your cup and saucer, I'm such a kitchen geek to notice things like that lol

  34. What a great idea!! Your Nanaimo pops are just too cute!! :)

  35. You are always so creative! I like the pops!! So cute with the blue polka-dots cup.

  36. these are adorable!! i know what you mean about it being a little warm to bake at the moment; I've tried to keep it up but keep getting quite flustered next to a hot oven :(

  37. Julia - :) Thanks! I totally agree, it was super sweet, I couldn't manage more than a few bites of it.

    Liz - Thank you! I think I could have made them even smaller!

    Anita - :) Thanks! Whee another geek :D

    Flirting with Flour - Aren't pops fun? The graham crackers were a bit of a revelation to me, loved them!

    Lorraine - Hehe need more heart shaped things, Valentines Day is coming up!

    billy@atablefortwo - Haha yup it was a bit of a rush job, hence why I didn't bother to chill them before taking the photos! thanks!

    Lauren - I think you chose a fabulous challenge, very perfect for the upcoming Olympics :)

    Helen - :) I agree! More food should come on a stick. Haha yeah, I probably shouldn't be so vague in my tweets

    A cupcake or two - I wish I had tried the gluten free version but it was too hard to get a hold of all the different flours in time!

    Karen - Aw thanks babe! Yeah they were uber sweet. :P next time, next time

    chef_d - Thank so much! Yep the milk combination was awesome! Offset the sweetness

    linda - Thank you! I'm glad you're back doing challenges!

    Memória - Hehe I had it brewing in my head for a while, thank you!

    s - Oh thank you! :)

    Trissa - :D Aww thanks! I'm glad you like them :) They were so messy to make!

    shaz - Thank you! They were fun to eat :)

    Gala - Thanks!

    Triannas Treasures - :) Yay! I'm so glad you like them! I would love to try one straight from the source :)

    Wic - Thanks so much!

    Beks - Oh I think that a lot of people substituted the coconut with rice bubbles :) Hope that helps!

    ap269 - Thank you muchly! :)

    Poires au Chocolat - Same here, I was scared I was the only one who wasn't a fan of it!

    Jacq - Haha you should have seen my kitchen, and me after! Chocolate EVERYWHERE!!! I think it would be so nice in a cheesecake with their light honey flavour.

    MandyM - Haha yeah, I think it's something you have to get used to! Thanks so much!

    Pontch - Thank you :)

    Deeba - Thanks!

    Asha - Heehee! I like whimsical :) Thanks!

    fulltimefoodie - Haha they weren't too much effort, just a little bit fiddly and a lot of time! Thank you!

    chocolatesuze - Haha thanks dude!

    Sarah - Oh yay! Glad you like the header, I was considering changing it cos it's so old and blurry!

    Audax - Yes, they did have the same sort of texture as ginger snaps, they were great! Cheers!

    Y - Haha maybe it was just fake baker's block :) Yes they were almost like popsicles when they came out of the fridge cold! Thanks!

    Karine - :) Thank you very much!

    Cheri - Aww thanks :) Haha I always go for the rustic look, not usually by choice!

    Chele - Haha it's okay I'm turning into a kitchen geek too, need to buy more plates!

    Jill - Thank you so much!

    Ellie - Aren't they the cutest cups? I got the whole set, including the teapot super cheap on sale at Myer. So great!

    panda - Yeah it's horrible baking on days like that! It takes all the fun out of it

  38. Love hearts?? On sticks??? Yay! Chocolate coating is surely a pain in the arse but these look so good. And dipping them in warm milk? You're too cute!

  39. :) Thanks! I really have to stop coating things in chocolate, I get more chocolate on myself than on the thing I'm trying to coat!


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