Saturday, January 30, 2010

January Daring Bakers: Nanaimo Bars

I'm a bit late this month, but I did manage to get January's challenge in before the start of February!  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 wasn't able to find the gluten free flours called for in Lauren's recipe for a reasonable price, so I used Martha Stewart's graham cracker recipe.  I've used it in the past, and it makes an extremely tasty, buttery, crispy graham cracker - yum!  It even uses real graham flour, which is a nice touch (and, happily, graham flour was super cheap at the store).  You can find the recipe for gluten free graham crackers and nanaimo bars at Lauren's site, and Martha's recipe is below.

I enjoyed the nanaimo bars, although they were a little too sweet even for my sweet tooth.  These are definitely best in small pieces, like a piece of candy rather than a bar cookie.  I was also really glad to make homemade graham crackers again - so yummy and so much better than store-bought!  I made s'mores with friends with some of them using our mini-blowtorch.  Yum!  Thanks to Lauren for an excellent challenge this month!

Graham Crackers (from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook)

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups graham flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 T honey

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter, brown sugar, and honey until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.  With the mixer on low, add the flour and beat until just combined.
2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Cut into four equal pieces.  Roll each piece out between two pieces of parchment paper until about 1/8th-inch thick.  Stack the dough (still between parchment) on a cookie sheet and pop in the freezer for about 20 minutes. 
3. Bake each sheet whole for about 15-18 minutes, until deep golden brown.  About 2 minutes before the cookies are ready to come out of the oven, pull them out and cut into rectangles with a pizza cutter, and then return to the oven. 
4.  Cool the cookies on a wire rack, and then break apart on the cut lines made earlier. 


  1. Your bars look amazing! Wonderful job on my challenge =D.

  2. Looks perfect. They were a bit sweet, so I reduced some of the sugar in the middle layer.

  3. Great job Sara! :D I found them very sweet so we served them in slender finger sizes which was just the right size for us!

  4. Here I didn't think I was attracted to this plain bar, but your pictures have me thinking otherwise! Looks like a perfect rendition, and highly tasty. :)

  5. Better late then ever Sara. I am glad that you made it.

  6. I agree about the candy-size pieces. Your bars look great though!

  7. Your bars look scrumptious!!

  8. Your bars look really delicious! And yes, smaller pieces are better--I agree. By the way, that plate is just beautiful!

  9. Your photograph is I am going to try these for Sunday's Super Bowl buffet...thank you.

  10. I agree, the graham crackers were the best part of this challenge. I didn't go gluten-free either, and really liked the vanilla in the basic recipe. Thank you for visiting and introducing me to your blog!

  11. Lovely bars! Yours look perfect! I agree about the graham crackers -- soo good and soo much better than store-bought!

  12. Your bars are absolutely perfect! I agree smaller pieces are better. Bravo!

  13. I agree, they were quite sweet, although I noticed they were not so noticably sweet when at room temperature. (I still need to post mine that I just got done, LOL.)

    Yours look delish!

  14. It looks so tasty! We are new followers, but have been reading your blog for a while. We gave you a bloggy award if you want to check it out.
    thanks for the yummy recipes!

  15. Hi everybody! I'm Simona and I've just discovered this food blog....You're great! I love cookies and sweet food... I will try this receipe because the image looks great!!
    bye simona