Wednesday, January 27

Nanaimo Bars - Daring Baker's January

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 went the whole hog and did gluten and dairy free just in time for a baby shower - hey girls!!

So I followed the following recipes.

Recipe and video for Vegan Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo Bars

Bottom Layer
1/2 cup vegan margarine I used Nuttalex
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 tbsp ground flax seed I left this out
3 tbsp water
1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped Used Pecans instead
1 cup unsweetened coconut, flaked Used organic shredded coconut
1 1/4 cup vegan graham cracker crust

Middle Layer
1/2 cup vegan margarine
2 tbsp vegan milk I used a potatoe based milk powder with some water
1 tbsp cornstarch I used corn maize thickener
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 cups powdered icing sugar I used pure icing sugar

Top Layer
2 tbsp vegan margarine
4 1-oz (28g) squares unsweetened chocolate I used organic super dark chocolate

To prepare the bottom layer: In a medium saucepan on low heat, melt the margarine and sugar, stirring to combine. Once liquefied, stir in the cocoa until smooth. Remove from heat. In a medium bowl, stir together the flax seeds, water, walnuts, cocoanut and graham cracker crumbs. Add the chocolate sauce and stir well. Press mixture into an ungreased 8X8-in (20X20cm) pan. Set aside.

To prepare the top layer: In medium saucepan on low heat, melt the margarine. Add the chocolate and melt, stirring often to prevent burning. Remove from heat and set aside to pour over middle layer. You want sauce to be cooled but liquid to still spread easily.

To prepare middle layer and assemble bars: In a food processor or medium bowl, cream together the margarine, “milk”, starch, vanilla, turmeric, and icing sugar until well mixed. Spread evenly over bottom layer. Spoon chocolate sauce evenly over middle layer and set pan in fridge immediately. Let chill for 2+ hours before cutting and serving. Makes 9 squares. I cut mine into many more than 9 squares, cause it's super super rich.

Recipe for gluten-free and vegan Graham Wafers:

Grahams Plain & Fancy

This is an adaptation of Rebecca Reilly’s gluten-free recipe that appears on Living Without.

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cups sorghum I used Besan Flour
1/2 cup almond flour I used almond meal
1/2 cup tapioca
1/4 cup coconut flour I just chopped up the organic shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon xanthan I used guar gum
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
7 tablespoons Earth Balance (cold from the fridge) I used Nuttalex
2 tablespoons honey*
2 tablespoons molasses* I used golden syrup
3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon coconut milk I left this out, it was wet enough without it.
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

Place the dry ingredients—sugar, flours, xanthan, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon—in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until they are all whisked together.

Add the Earth Balance to the mixture by cutting the tablespoons in half and dotting them evenly over the dry mixture. Pulse about a dozen times until the Earth Balance is mixed in.

Add the wet ingredients—honey, molasses, coconut milk, and vanilla—and blend in until a dough ball is formed. Open the top of the food processor and make sure the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. If they are not, use a spatula to move the dough around and blend another 30-60 seconds.

Remove the dough to a plastic wrap lined dish. Place another layer of plastic wrap on top and push the dough ball down forming a disk about ½ inch thick. Place in the refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes.

Divide the dough. Place one half back in the fridge and the other between two sheets of parchment. With a rolling pin roll the dough until it’s 1/8” thick. Lift off the top sheet of parchment. Using a cookie cutter—I used a round one—cut out the crackers. Alternatively you can cut these in two-inch squares with a pizza cutter. I found the cookie cutter to be easier.

Remove the extra dough from around the cut crackers and return it to the refrigerator with the other half of the disk you returned there earlier.

With a large fork poke three sets of holes in the middle of each cracker. When you’re done piercing all the crackers, gently move the parchment onto a cookie sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes until the grahams are just golden brown. Remove from the oven and let them cool a few minutes before placing the crackers on a cooling rack.

Repeat with the remaining cold dough until all cookies have been cut and baked.

Well these really weren't my cup of tea, but they went down a treat with my visitors. The filling is more a buttercream than a custard, even though the original recipe has custard powder in it - I think it might cut the richness if you did a custard instead of the buttercream. The graham crackers had to be watched carefully as they burnt easily in my oven, and quite a few went to grahm cracker heaven because of this. The dough was very wet and I did have to roll it between Glad bake, but they did turn out looking very pretty, though not as crispy as I would have like - I do like my crispy, this may have to do with the flours that I chose. I don't know enough about gluten free baking to make that call though.


  1. Wow, good work with turning these into vegan! They are really rich and sweet aren't they? Small servings goes a long way :)

  2. You're just evil! Don't you know I just joined the gym and am on my healthy rampage (yet again)! They look delish :)

  3. they looks delicious, to bad it was not your thing but still great job on this months challenge.

  4. ooh, they look lovely!

    Thanks for posting your vegan modifications!

  5. Great job!
    look delicious
    i love you graham wafers cute shape :)

  6. Wow,what a challenge to transfer everything into vegan! Love it!

  7. Gluten AND dairy free... quite adventurous. And they look great! Good job.

  8. Wonderful job on my challenge, and vegan no less! They look fantastic =D.

  9. I'm very impressed with you wonderful looking wafers and the final bar I konw how hard vegan baking is and well done kudos to you and at least the visitors liked the result yes they are very sweet and very rich. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  10. Great job and you did them vegan too! :) They do look delicious! :)

  11. Well I'm glad to hear that your visitors enjoyed them. They sure are sweet and your bars do look very nice!