Wow, I actually made it. Next time I need to tackle the challenge as soon as I can but what can I say, I am only putting to action what Mark Twain said-
“Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow”
Only I always seem to be scrambling to finish the project at the last moment..not next time though.
So 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 http://www.nanaimo.ca.
Luckily, I made the dough before I went on a little trip to Las vegas (that is right, I did not gamble!!!). So it was sitting in the fridge for more about 2 days (thankfully, the dough did not grow tiny feet and walk out the door). I did not make the gluten-free version mainly because I am on a pantry-emptying free and did not want to add new things to it. So I followed the recipe from 101 cookbooks
For the crackers
2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons unbleached pastry flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
7 tablespoons (3 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen
1/3 cup mild-flavored honey, such as clover
5 tablespoons whole milk
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
Combine flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Mix to incorporate. Add butter and mix on low speed until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal.
In a small bowl, whisk honey, milk and vanilla extract. Add flour mixture and pulse until the dough barely comes together. It will be soft and sticky. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and pat the dough to 1inch thick rectangle. Wrap in plastic and chill.
Divide dough in half (return the other half to the refrigerator). Sift an even layer of flour onto work surface and roll it into a long rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. Flour as necessary since the dough will be sticky (somehow mine was not that sticky!). Cut 4 inch by 4inch pieces and place them on a sheet pan with parchment paper on it. Gather the scraps and chill them. Chill the cut pieces for about 30-45 minutes. Repeat with the second batch.
Adjust oven racks to upper and lower positions and preheat oven to 350F.
Prick the pieces with fork a bunch of times before you put it in.
Bake until browned and slightly firm to the touch (rotate sheets halfway through)- mine took about 15 minutes.
For the Nanaimo Bars, or rather Nanaimo crumble (recipe source here)
1/2 cup Crisco Vegetable shortening
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup almonds, finely chopped
1/2 cup each of pecan and walnuts, finely chopped
1 1/4 cup graham cracker crust
1/2 cup Crisco
2 tbsp + 2 tsp heavy cream
2 tbsp vanilla custard powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp rose extract
2 cups powdered icing sugar
2 tbsp butter
4 1-oz (28g) squares unsweetened chocolate
To prepare the bottom layer: In a on low heat, melt the crisco and sugar, stirring to combine. Once liquefied, stir in the cocoa until smooth. Remove from heat. In a medium bowl, stir together walnuts, pecans, almonds and graham cracker crumbs. Add the chocolate sauce and stir well. Press mixture into an ungreased 8X8-in (20X20cm) pan. Set aside. (Okay now here is where I made a mistake- I knew it was going to be crumbly since I skipped the egg and did not do nothing about it! In retrospect I have a few ideas to set the crumb that I am going to try- this is what happens when things are last minute folks!)
To prepare the top layer: In medium saucepan on low heat, melt crisco. Add the chocolate and melt, stirring often to prevent burning. Remove from heat and set aside. You want sauce to be cooled but liquid to still spread easily.
To prepare middle layer and assemble bars: Cream together the butter, cream, custard powder, vanilla, rose extract, 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.
Judgement: Well despite the crumbly bottom layer, it tasted pretty good, I must say! Loved the crunchiness of the bottom layer and ooh who does not like chocolate!