Canadian candy for Australia Day

I was unfortunate enough to be working Australia day this year,a national celebration typically fuelled by alcohol and more often than not senseless violence. It’s the busiest day for emergency services, worse than NYE or christmas period. Most of the night is spent avoiding being spewed on by drunk youngsters, or patching up folks who have been victim of some bugger who gets aggressive when they drink.

But despite this the night wasn’t full of picking up idiots. We were busy, but plenty of real work helping people who legitimately need it, not attending to self inflicted dehydration and alcohol poisoning.

Everyone that was out and about got to sample some of these Canadian inspired Nanaimo bars in between jobs.

fresh cut nanimos

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 made the graham crackers GF, but just with store bought GF flour mix, rather than getting a whole bunch of flowers I’d hardly used. I had intended to give these to my celiac friend, as I feel awful baking for a group and always seeing her miss out on the treats. She will be able to have some of the yum crackers, although I think I rolled them too think and cooked them to long, they are lovely and honey flavoured. Sadly tho, she won’t be able to have the finished nanaimo bar slice, as the custard powder I used for the recipe, I found out too late, contains wheat products! Booh! I wish things like gluten were more obvious on packaging, mistakes are so easy to make.

graham crackers

I also had problems with the middle frosting layer setting up. It may have been that it was too hot here, and melted, rather than whipped into a light frosting, while I hand beat it. But I thought it’s still solidify in the fridge due to the butter content. The only variations were some sour cream instead of heavy cream, and some FINELY diced fresh plum, to add some tart contrast to the sweet sweet frosting. And it did, deliscious! I didn’t add butter to the chocolate topping either, preferring to drizzle it on top.

drizzled choc top nanaimos

I really enjoyed the edition of the tart plum to the filling, and the base of coconut, cocoa and chopped almonds was soooooo tasty. I think I’ll have to think of this base next time I make hedgehog slice, or a chocolate slice of some kind. All the ambos on shift thought they were delicious, but were complaining how they’d stay slim on shift if I keep bringing such yummy treats for them 🙂 It was also nice to serve them frozen, to help them set up, but sooo nice and cool for a night where the temp kept up around 25 degrees!

yum, pink flecks from the plum

I had leftover graham crackers left, despite making only half the recipe. I am going to use them for a luscious cheesecake, so my celiac friend doesn’t miss out. If I have enough crumb I might even use some for rum ball truffles 🙂

Nanaimo Bars
Ingredients:

For Nanaimo Bars — Bottom Layer
1/2 cup (115 g) (4 ounces) Unsalted Butter
1/4 cup (50 g) (1.8 ounces) Granulated Sugar
5 tablespoons (75 mL) Unsweetened Cocoa
1 Large Egg, Beaten
1 1/4 cups (300 mL) (160 g) (5.6 ounces) Gluten Free Graham Wafer Crumbs (See previous recipe)
1/2 cup (55 g) (1.9 ounces) Almonds (Any type, Finely chopped)
1 cup (130 g) (4.5 ounces) Coconut (Shredded, sweetened or unsweetened)

For Nanaimo Bars — Middle Layer
1/2 cup (115 g) (4 ounces) Unsalted Butter
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons (40 mL) Heavy Cream
2 tablespoons (30 mL) Vanilla Custard Powder (Such as Bird’s. Vanilla pudding mix may be substituted.)
2 cups (254 g) (8.9 ounces) Icing Sugar

For Nanaimo Bars — Top Layer
4 ounces (115 g) Semi-sweet chocolate
2 tablespoons (28 g) (1 ounce) Unsalted Butter

Directions:
1. For bottom Layer: Melt unsalted butter, sugar and cocoa in top of a double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, nuts and coconut. Press firmly into an ungreased 8 by 8 inch pan.
2. For Middle Layer: Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light in colour. Spread over bottom layer.
3. For Top Layer: Melt chocolate and unsalted butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, pour over middle layer and chill.

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