Daring Bakers Jan 2010: The “No, no more bars, oh well, just a teeny, tiny piece” bars

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The title sums up how I feel about my introduction to the Nanaimo Bar and this month’s Daring Bakers challenge. They are waaaay too tempting to have within easy reach.

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.

Lauren chose the Nanaimo as a tribute to the 2010 Winter Olympics, to be held in Vancouver. 
Can we say "Go for Gold"  ?

The Nanaimo Bar (pronounced Nah-nye-Moh) looks very much like an Aussie caramel slice but tastes quite different. I don’t much care for caramel slice (sacrilege!), but found the Nanaimos irresistible. For the uninitiated, the bar is made up of a chocolatey graham cracker base studded with nuts and coconut, then a middle layer very akin to simple buttercream (with added custard powder), then a rich melted chocolate topping to finish it off. Even reading about it is enough to induce drooling…no?

Surprisingly, a few DB’ers weren't on the same page. There were a few judgemental comments about this poor little bar. Just my opinion, but I think a little bit of food snobbery was involved – is it because this was a no-bake bar? Or was it the use of custard powder in the filling layer?

To be honest, I was quite sceptical at first about the addition of custard powder. Still not quite sure what role it plays (a stabilizer perhaps?), but the taste was unexpectedly good. I actually didn’t muck about with the recipe as I usually do- the only minor tweak was adding about 1 tbsp of maple syrup to the filling, in honour of this being a Canadian dessert.

I also really enjoyed the first part of this challenge – the gluten free graham crackers. Having seen so many recipes calling for graham cracker crumbs, it was pretty exciting to finally make some - gluten free ones to boot! They smelt absolutely amazing when baking and tasted great.

Gluten-free Graham Cracker Moose 

Again, there were a few mutterings about how under whelming some folks found this cracker. I think the secret is in the honey – good honey = good result. The cracker dough also needs to be rolled out quite thin to get crisp crackers. Some of the thicker cookies I made ended up being a bit chewy, but hey, I still have all my own teeth* and I’m not afraid to use them.

Okay, so I mucked around a little bit: Graham Cracker moose with buttercream layer and chocolate topping served with vanilla ice-cream topped with toasted almonds and coconut. 

So thanks for a fun challenge Lauren and good luck with the e-book ( Hand for Haiti)

Challenge recipe can be found here, and do check out what the other Daring Bakers did for their challenge.

*well, almost all my own - had an accident over 10 years ago and knocked out a front tooth, but I can still chew ok? 


Esther said...

Hadn't occurred to me they are like a caramel shortbread (which I'm guessing is like your caramel slice) till you mentioned it. Yours look lovely and the moose is great fun :)

Barbara Bakes said...

I had mixed feeling the day I made them, but after a night in the fridge I am having the same problem with a nibble here and a nibble there. I think the grahams were better the day after too. Your moose graham is so cute!

Lauren said...

LOL! I love your moose. It's a true Canadian figure, and the moose-nanaimo bar is just plain awesome.

I do the same when Nanaimo bars are in the house, they never last long, or at least all of a sudden we're down to one (which is then fought over or cut into much too small pieces) =D. I'm so glad you enjoyed my challenge and thanks for the shout-out to the ebook, it's very close to my heart.

Hungry Dog said...

I've never even heard of custard powder--very curious! I'd try these for sure. Your graham cracker moose is adorable!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Aww how cute is that moose? I missed the negative comments but having hosted a DB, I realise it's almost impossible to please everyone. I was pleased to see this as I've never tried them before! :)

Karen @ Citrus and Candy said...

I guess we are all food snobs over something. I admit I'm one of them people who are anti-custard powder because I'm one MASSIVE custard girl! But too bad I didn't get to try Nanaimos properly because as I said in my post - I ran out of time! But the wafers were fabulous.

I love your work and gorgeous photos!

Marcellina said...

I keep my Nanaimo Bars safely tucked away in the freezer. Way to tempting otherwise! I loved them way more than I thought. So did everyone who tried them. Love your moose, Shaz!!

3 hungry tummies said...

This is a must try for me, love the no bake part! haha

s said...

MOOlicious! Delicious pics...lovely presentation.

trissa said...

Lovely how you decorated your bars! I know what you mean about being a food snob - that's too bad especially when it looks like such a yummy treat!

shaz said...

Thanks Esther, I can't really remember what goes in a caramel slice, but I think the base is a bit shortbready.

Thanks Barbara - I made the mistake of making this on the eve of a long weekend so I couldn't just send them off to hubby's workplace like I usually do when faced with tempation.

Thanks Lauren for such a fun challenge, and I look forward to purchasing the e-book.

Hi Hungry Dog - custard powder is probably available in Asian grocery stores (I think). I loved this bar (which surprised me)

Thanks Lorraine - it was so yummy!

Thanks Karen - I am actually not a fan of custard powder either, I just have it for some Malaysian desserts. But I was so surprised at how wonderful they tasted!

Thanks Marcellina - freezer is not too safe I think, the cold doesn't faze me.

Definitely worth a try 3 Hungry Tummies - very easy and very tasty!

shaz said...

Thanks S!

Cheers Trissa - I can be a great food snob too, but I'll try most things once. So glad I gave this one a chance - will definitely make again.

Oh by the way - funny story about the moose - my aunty sent a package about a month before Christmas, it somehow got lost and ended up arriving last week. She said it was Christmas themed cookie cutters with a "Reindeer". Luckily I looked closer and realised it was actually the moose! :) Perfect timing.

Gala said...

For the bars I can't speak because I didn't manage to make them but I did really like the crackers!
And that dessert at the end is calling my name!

Monika said...

I just love your graham cracker moose! It's sooo cute :) Your bars look lovely as well, and yes, I agree that they are too dangerous to have around.

Poires au Chocolat said...

Love the moose - especially those carefully orchestrated cracks that make it look like there's another moose hiding in the middle.

I have to admit that I didn't really like the bars - not so much snobbery (what right do I have!) but they really were too sweet for me. We have custard powder in the flat as my mum makes perfect proper custard and I've give up trying to replicate it...

Nina said...

Your moose graham is sooooo cute:) Very nicely done,i also liked the top chocolate top layer,its not jes plain.Ur bars look fantastic:)

Deeba PAB said...

Takes all sorts to make this blessed world...and I think if you've volunteered to join, you might as well 'willingly' walk the plank!!
Anyway...LOVE your bars and theswet flowers on them. Moosey muckings are right up my street! yay you. Am cohosting next month, so shall watch out for boquets (hopefully there will be some) & brickbats!!

anjelikuh said...

ooooo, your bars look amazing! love how you decorated them with little snowflakes..!

Julia @Mélanger said...

How great was it to do a bar that we wouldn't have known about in this country. Though can't believe you don't like the caramel slice? Wow, that's a first! ;)

Great job on these, they were very tempting for me, too!

Laura said...

I love the graham cracker moose--too funny! Nice looking nanaimos, too.

Audax said...

Moose shaped Nanaimo you went all out on this, I think you hearing is better than mine I didn't hear any mummuring about non-baking etc I think they are wonderful and so quick and delicious and so easy to make you own wonderful choice for a challenge. Love those snow flakes. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

sunita said...

What a fun post. Your crackers look so pretty and your ''moose'' so adorable :-)

shaz said...

Thanks Gala - guess what? Frozen moose tastes even better!

Thanks Monika - I am currently fighting the urge to defrost the bars I stashed away.

Ha ha Poires au Chocolat - I didn't actually break the moose on purpose, not sure if it happened with the wheat version, but the GF crackers puff up when they bake, then collapse again on cooling - leaving the funny cracks.

You know what? After reading some posts I think I may have possibly (accidentally) left out some extra sugar in the middle layer, perhaps that's why I didn't find it too sweet. Or maybe I'm just a tragic sugar head ;P (I also used really bitter chocolate for the topping - 80%)

Thanks Nina - I used a cake decorating comb, but the same effect can be achieved by dragging a fork through the still wet chocolate.

Yay Deeba! I am SO EXCITED about next month's challenge already.

Thanks anjelikuh - had lots of fun doing the decor.

he he he Julia - would you believe I find caramel slice too sweet? Having said that I've only ever had store-bought, perhaps I'd change my mind if I made some from scratch.

Thanks Laura!

Cheers Audax- the moose was easy to do, just a simple cookie cutter that I was sent as a gift. Perfect timing.

Thanks so much Sunita :)

Yasmeen said...

Fabulous work.Bars look so neat and love the cute flowers :D

grace said...

oh shaz, i love your moose! i need some moose-shaped cookie cutters so i can make my own meese. moosen. mooses. mooserinos. :)

culinography said...

I suppose those balking at the use of custard powder would really be appalled by my use of cheesecake pudding powder as a stand in! ;)

Your bars look great and I love, love, love the moose!

Liz said...

These look great! And I love that you added maple syrup, eh? (Oh ho ho, Canadian humor never gets old!) I've only had these bars once but I remember liking them...this makes me want to make them again.

Ellie said...

Great slices! Very well done :)

shaz said...

Thanks Yasmeen - these are just the ones that passed the "neat" test. We ate the crumbled ones :)

He's a good moose isn't he Grace? To think I almost mistook (moosetook?) him for a reindeer!

Wow culinography - I don't think I've ever heard of cheesecake pudding powder before, that's my "learn new thing for the day box" ticked.

Eh? Oh Liz. That just made me sound like a teletubbby! It's funny but Queenslanders use the word eh! a lot too. Or am I confusing that with hey? Anyw..eh(Ha! couldn't resist) - thank you :)

Thanks Ellie!

Lisa Michelle said...

Just a tiny bite is truly apropos, but I think I could manage more of yours! They look beautiful and yummy, and your moose graham's are awesome!

shaz said...

Thanks Lisa!

Isabelle said...

I love your moose, so cute! Your bars are gorgeous. Bravo!