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.
We had a lot of fun with this challenge. Of course, as per usual, my friend Cindy and I got together and worked on the challenge. We decided to embrace what Lauren was wanting and made the gluten free graham crackers. It was interesting shopping for the different flours. I went to Superstore and first checked out the health section. I found the tapioca flour there for about $7 or $8 for a small bag. Didn't see the glutonous rice flour or the other stuff. Next, I headed for the ethnic aisle. I found the glutonous rice flour and ended up having to substitute the third flour for a combo of millet and brown rice flour. But, the biggest discovery was finding tapioca flour again, but this time, it only cost 68 cents. Seriously!! I could not believe that it was the same stuff, but of course, the packaging was not quite so fancy. Basically, buying the north american import version was way marked up compared to the imported version of the ethnic variety. I was blown away by the price difference. But anyhow, onto the task at hand...
We got together and made the crackers. We tried to hurry up the chilling times a bit which is likely what lead to the sort of poor looking results, but they did taste okay, and since we were grinding them up anyways for the squares, we used them as so.
We assembled the Nanaimo Squares a couple days later when we were also making a dinner together (from the Julie and Julia movie, we made the deboned stuffed duck wrapped in pastry which hopefully I can post about another day sometime soon, but suffice it to say, it was lots of fun). I ended up doing most of the work on the squares as I had no interest in playing any role with the deboning of the duck. We followed the base as per the recipe.
For the filling, Cindy wanted something with cherry, so I sort of did a fly by the seat of my pants kind of filling. I added the softened butter and icing sugar, custard powder, some milk, maraschino cherry juice, cut up cherries and some almond extract. Ended up needing to add extra sugar to balance out the extra liquid. Although Cindy wanted pink, they looked a little more orange (due to the custard powder), so if making them again and going for the pink colour, I'd skip that powder.
We added the chocolate and mmmmm.... they were tasty!! I didn't even really notice a difference using the gluten free crackers. They tasted the way a Nanaimo Bar should taste... yummy!! Thanks for a great challenge and helping us push our limits and work with new ingredients. I have made Nanaimo Bars many times in the past so for me, it was a treat to try something new by making the crackers.