I have been dying to try Nanaimo Bars since I first saw them on JoyofBaking. So, naturally I was quite excited to see this as the Daring Bakers Challenge for January. I also loved the idea of making homemade graham crackers. I love homemade versions of items that are typically store bought. The quality is just so much better, and so is the taste! Take homemade toffee for example – it knocks heath and skor bars out of the water!
Well, the graham crackers were most definitely the hardest part of this challenge. I unfortunately didn’t make the gluten-free version because I just couldn’t afford to buy all of the various flours 😦 None the less, the dough was extremely sticky. I chilled it overnight and everything! Here are some pics of the dough making process. The food processor is such a great kitchen appliance!
SOOOO sticky before chilling!!!
All rolled out – the first dough ball wasn’t so bad… the second I threw away out of frustration (once I knew I had enough crackers). I used a pizza cutter to quickly slice the dough nice and straight.
Baked! Note the uglies on the top shelf which were definitely the first ones back into the food processor.
I toasted my almonds and coconut together and then mixed them with the crushed grahams.
I love using a double boiler for melting ingredients together because everything melts so evenly, mixes perfectly, and doesn’t burn. It takes a little longer, but so much better. A few action shots of the bottom layer forming in the double boiler.
Smooth as silk 🙂
Graham crackers, almonds, and coconut mixed in and pressed in my parchment lined 8×8.
The filling was REALLY easy to make. I ended up using instant vanilla pudding instead of custard powder because I couldn’t find it anywhere! Incidentally I spotted it about two days ago in the Kosher section of a different grocery store in the area. Oh well! At least I’ll know for next time (and their will be a next time for sure).
Back to the double boiler for the chocolate top layer.
Spread on top and ready to chill.
The bars came out of the pan beautifully with the parchment once they had chilled for a few hours. I sliced them into 36 bars. I could just tell how rich they were going to be and aimed for small bites.
Of course my husband took them to work for tasting. Everyone loved them, and one of his co-worker’s wives couldn’t get enough and just had to have the recipe. These are super rich and definitely a special treat. I can’t wait to make them again and try a different variation. This time I stuck to the original recipe so I could experience the authentic Nanaimo Bars for the first time. I would love to make them again with a coffee filling, or with a layer of caramel… the possibilities are endless and guaranteed to be delicious. I think I would look for a different graham cracker recipe though. Although they tasted great, the hassle to make them and deal with the dough just wasn’t worth it. Thanks for an awesome challenge, Lauren.