The Daring Bakers’ Challenges 01/10: Gluten-free Nanaimo Bars

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.

I’ve always wanted to be part of the Daring Bakers, now I am and this is my first contribution to the challenge. I have never heard of Nanaimo bars before, so to Wikipedia I went. There you can read that Nanaimo bars are a Canadian dessert with 3 layers. The bottom layer consists of wafer crumbs, cocoa, coconut and almonds, the middle layer is a vanilla or custard flavored butter icing, and on top you’ll find a chocolate-butter layer. For the crumbs, you use Graham crackers, but as Lauren chose to go gluten-free, we had to make the Graham crackers from scratch.

Funnily enough, I had all the ingredients for gluten-free Graham crackers on hand, that is glutinous rice flour, tapioca starch and sorghum flour (sorghum grains that I ground with my grain mill). We are not on a gluten-free diet, but I was stocking up on supplies for my pantry some time ago to be able to cook from my Japanese cookbooks by Harumi Kurihara (here and here), and glutinous rice flour and tapioca starch seem to be part of the Asian cuisine.

You’ll find the recipe for Graham crackers here. To make them gluten-free, just substitute the following flours for the declared flour:

  • 1 cup glutinous rice flour
  • 3/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour

Keep in mind, though, that this recipe yields a lot of Graham crackers. I made only half a batch, and still had leftover Graham crackers (my kids were really enthusiastic about eating all the leftover crackers ;-)).

For the Nanaimo bars recipe, please go to the website of Nanaimo (which in fact is a city in British Columbia).

Making the Nanaimo bars was kind of time-consuming, but it was worth every minute. The result is a very yummy, though VERY rich, chocolate square. I’ve never had Graham crackers, so I can’t really tell how the gluten-free version stands up to the original version, but what I can say is that the gluten-free Graham crackers are DIVINE! The dough was so delicious that I couldn’t stop trying it (and that was before the crackers were baked!).

The Nanaimo bars are said to freeze well, so I’m going to pop some into the freezer. It’s my daughter’s birthday soon, and I’m sure all the kids will be thrilled to have these bars at the party.

Nanaimo Bar on FoodistaNanaimo Bar

41 responses to “The Daring Bakers’ Challenges 01/10: Gluten-free Nanaimo Bars

  1. Thanks for visiting my blog, your nanaimo bars look decandent!

  2. So I will join your daughters birthday party, too, because my bars are all gone.😉

  3. I had the same problem with the dough-eating. It was too yummy!

    Glad we both had good 1st challenge results! Excited for the next.🙂

  4. Congrats on your first DB challenge post! I’m so glad we shared our “first time” together. Your bars look great.🙂

  5. Congrats on your first challenge. You did very well indeed! NICE!! Welcome th the Daring Bakers! We loved the bars and crackers as much as you did! Your Nanaimo bars look delectable!

  6. Hi! Thank you very much for the comment at my blog, I’m truly flattered🙂
    (And glad you succeed to do it although the language difficulties, hehe)
    Your nanaimo bars look soooo delicious!
    Really great performance for a first challenge, wtg!

    Nice to meet you!
    And catch u up at the next challenges!
    Inbal from Israel

  7. Papilles au nature

    great pictures, these look scrumptious!

  8. Its great that you’re able to use your challenge for something specific! I loved that about my challenge this month too. Congratulations on a delicious looking challenge

  9. My graham cracker dough came out quite wet also. Not easy to handle! But who cares when they are as good as they are, right? Funny that you had everything on hand. You have a very-well stocked kitchen!

  10. Thanks for visiting. I didn’t have the sorghum flour and didn’t feel like it was “fair” to use my own mix. I’m hoping when I try the gluten free later that they’ll turn out as well as yours did.

  11. Your bars look great amd it sounds like the graham cracker recipe is excellent!

  12. They look great and good that you had the GF flours ready for the graham crackers too!😀

  13. Congratulations on your first challenge! Great step by step photo’s. And yes, you must try the s’mores – very sweet, but the kids love it. I’m going to try again with some deep, dark choc instead of the milk choc.

  14. Mm, now I definitely will be trying the gluten-free version! Your crackers and bars look wonderful and I love the step-by-step photos.

    Fantastic first challenge!😀

  15. Those are beautiful Nanaimo Bars! Welcome to Daring Bakers – you will love it.

  16. Glad you enjoyed your first challenge- you did a great job! The kids will love them- mine certainly do!

  17. Welcome to the Daring Bakers! Congratulations on your first challenge – they look delicious!

    PS I use Harumi’s cook books a lot, the recipes always turn out great!🙂 xxx

  18. I’m so glad I could welcome you into the Daring Bakers! Your wafers and Nanaimo bars are stunning! I’m glad they won your family over =D.

  19. Yay for completing your first challenge. looks like you did great! here in canada there is a box mix for them, they aren’t as good as the recipe makes them but pretty close and it’s $7 / box so can’t really beat that. lol

  20. Congratulations on your first challenge! You did a great job! Your Nanaimos are perfect.

  21. Heartiest congratulations on your first DB challenge ! Your Nanaimo bars look just delicious!

  22. Excellent job on your first challenge! Welcome to the Daring Bakers!

  23. Haha, I couldn’t stop myself from eating the dough either to be honest. Imo the dough > the crackers. 😛

    Nice job on the bars ^^

  24. thanks for the comment! yours look like they turned out great. congrats on your first challenge!

  25. Welcome to the DB community! I’m glad you enjoyed your first taste of graham crackers (and that delicious dough). Your bars look fantastic.

  26. they sure look lovely! i’m sure all the kids will be excited. all of the ones at my inlaws were. well done!

  27. I kept eating the dough too! The smell alone made me want to reach in and take a little bit and then a little bit more… Love your nanaimo’s!

  28. Great job on the challenge! I totally want to try yours. Did you find custard powder? You’re right that I cheated and used Vanilla Pudding Powder.

    The best thing about making these is that you have enough Graham Crackers to make them again and again, since the rest of the stuff is not that complicated to find here.

    • No, I “cheated”, too, and used vanilla pudding powder ;o). I read that custard powder wasn’t anything else than some kind of starch + flavoring, so I didn’t really understand why pudding powder would be different, because that’s starch + flavoring, too.

  29. Your bars look really good, nice job and welcome to the Daring Bakers. Thanks for visiting my blog.

  30. Thanks for visiting my blog – yours look great!

    I totally agree that the GF cracker dough was delicious, I couldn’t stop eating it!

  31. Congrats on a first challenge very mouth watering’ly’ done! They look delicious and lovely! Also, super flattered that you like mine and want to add them to your DB blogroll! By all means, yes! lol

  32. You did a lovely job on your challenge. Welcome to the Daring Bakers!

    Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

  33. Welcome to the DB community and congratulations on a challenge done well. Those bars are good.

  34. A first challenge very well done- Your bars look fantastic!🙂

  35. Congratulations with your first challenge! They look delicious! I love how you write and describe how you bake. If you won’t mind, I’d love to guide foodista readers to your site.Just add a foodista widget at the end of this blog post and it’s ready to go.Thanks!

  36. Gluten free sounds like a good idea, lovely recipes:)

  37. Pingback: Bread Baking Buddies March 2010: Gluten-free No Knead Hearty Seeded Sandwich Bread « Family & Food

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