Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Daring Bakers: Nanaimo Bars

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

Living close to Nanaimo, British Columbia, but never having tried Nanaimo Bars, I was looking forward to trying these. I’d seen them at the bakery, so I bought a few before attempting the challenge just to get an idea what to expect. They were good, but very sweet. Not really my thing. However, a friend visiting from out of town told me she loved them, so I timed my challenge for her visit.

For those unfamiliar with Nanaimo Bars, they consist of a wafer crumb-based layer with coconut and nuts, topped by a layer of vanilla or custard butter icing, which is then covered in chocolate.

Making graham crackers...

Flour, sugar, baking soda, salt…

The magic ingredients -- honey, milk, and vanilla…

Adding the butter…

Forming crackers…

Crumbling for the first layer…

The middle layer is where I lost interest -- a half cup of butter, heavy cream, vanilla pudding mix (I was unable to find custard powder), and two cups of powdered sugar.

Then a layer of chocolate and butter, which for some reason didn’t prove to be enough for me. Because we’d made brownies the night before, I didn’t have any “extra” chocolate, so I just made do with what I had.

I sent the majority home with my house guest, then stuck the rest in the refrigerator and forgot about them.

Eventually I pulled them out for their photo shoot, but by then they’d seen better days.

So while I wasn't at all impressed with the Nanaimo bars, I did discover the beauty of a homemade graham cracker.

With the leftover crackers from the Nanaimo Bars we made S'mores, and since this challenge I've made the crackers two more times. While I still have some perfecting to do (mainly dealing with dough thickness and length of cooking time), they will definitely be a regular snack in my home, the perfect accompaniment to my afternoon espresso, or as a snack with a late-night bowl of yogurt.

The next batch will be dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with salt.


  1. I skipped the middle layer and used Marscapone with a little powdered sugar. Little less scary for me =) Your grahams look great though!

  2. They look fantastic.Very well done:) U have a great blog out here:)


  3. these homemade graham crackers are way better than store-bought ones!

  4. these homemade graham crackers are way better than store-bought ones!

  5. I have s'mores in mind for my leftover crackers too. I liked the recipe, but agree with you on the middle layer. Seems weird to have "frosting" as a layer in a bar cookie.

  6. I agree - these Graham crackers will be made again soon!