Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Dare to Bake - Challenge #1!


Hey all! This is my first Daring Baker's Challenge, and it was super exciting! I decided that instead of just admiring all the wonderful baked goods posted (at least) once a month on my favorite food blogs, I would finally jump on the band-wagon. In honor of the winter Olympics, and our cool northern neighbor in general, this month's challenge was Nanaimo Bars...yeah, I hadn't heard of them, either, but they are uber-decadent.


Anywho, the challenge was presented as gluten-free, but I had to take it a step further ... this is officially the allergen-sensitive Nanaimo Bar! I brought these to a little get-together of friends, one of whom cannot eat gluten or soy. Her boyfriend was a possible presence, so nuts were out of the mix, as well. And, I'm basically vegan. Sweet! Here are my recipes, after much trial and tribulation:
Mmm...gluten-free graham crackers are my new favorite!

Gluten-Free Vegan Graham-Style Crackers:
1 cup White Rice flour
3/4 cup Tapioca Flour
2/3 cup Brown Rice Flour (sorghum or millet flour also good options)
1 cup Dark Brown Sugar
1 tsp Baking Soda
3/4 tsp Kosher or Sea Salt
5 tbsp Vegetable Oil (I think I already mentioned I don't like using butter knock-offs...)
1/3 cup Clover Honey (used about half honey and half maple syrup)
5 tbsp Unsweetened Coconut Milk (I used So Delicious; soy or almond would also work)
2 tbsp Pure Vanilla Extract

Note: Dough is REALLY sticky!!! Use plenty of white rice flour to dust and parchment or a silpat is HIGHLY recommended for both rolling out and baking.

1. I am super low maintenance (and pretty free-form) about mixing ... all the wet ingredients first. Dump the dry ones on top. Mix until form a dough (yay for not worrying about over-developing the gluten!). Wrap in plastic. Refrigerate overnight.
2. Next day: roll out half the dough on parchment to about 1/8" thickness.
3. Bake about 12-15 minutes at 350f or until firm. Cut while still warm. Let cool.

Half coconut, half vanilla tofu-creme...coconut wins in my book.

Nanaimo Bars - Allergen Sensitive Version:
Bottom Layer:
1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
5 tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa
2-3 tbsp ground flax seeds + 2-3 tbsp warm water (mix and let stand until gummy for egg)
1 2/3 cup Gluten Free Graham Wafer Crumbs (pulse previous products in a food processor)
1 cup Coconut (shredded, sweetened or unsweetened)

1. Mix crumbs, sugar, coconut, and cocoa first. Add wet ingredients. Press into the bottom of an 8x8" pan (I lined mine with wax paper for easy depanning).

Middle Layer (soy-free):
1 cup Unsweetened Coconut Milk
1 tbsp Corn Starch
1/2 tbsp Tapioca Starch
1 tsp Coconut Extract
1/2 - 2/3 cup Granulated Sugar (feel free to sub agave nectar for some or all - to taste)
1 tbsp Agar Flakes (I used 1 tbs of vegan jello powder)

Middle Layer (tofu base):
16 oz Silken Firm Tofu
1 tbsp Tahini
2 tsp Coconut Extract (or vanilla, or other flavoring)
1 tbsp Tapioca Starch
1/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp Lemon Juice
1/2 - 2/3 cup Granulated, Powdered, or Brown Sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)

Top Layer:
8 oz Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (was it just me, or was the 4oz of the original recipe just not even close to enough...maybe I like chocolate too much)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Sweetened Flake Coconut for garnish

Ack! Disaster! Not enough oil = brittle chocolate topping! Nooo...

Important lesson in chocolate melting: you need to add enough fat. There is no getting around it. If you don't, the chocolate will become impossible to spread and be brittle when you chill. Otherwise, it will pour smoothly over the top and have a creamy, semi-solid texture when frozen.

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 www.nanaimo.ca.

1 comment:

Lauren said...

Wonderful job on my challenge! Your bars look amazing =D. Welcome to the Daring Bakers - you did such an amazing job adapting the recipe!