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  • pixeltheatre 8:05 pm on January 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , cocounut, nanaimo bars   

    Daring Bakers 26th Challenge: 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 http://www.nanaimo.ca. Nanaimo bars are one of the nicest indulges when you need a quick pickmeupper. They are very popular with caterers here, in Canada, as a mid-afternoon snack for conference and meeting participants: a quick dose of sugar, topped with chocolate. What more would you want?

    I had made some of these once before, but using a packaged mix. The gluten-free version was an interesting twist. Though we had a choice of going the normal wheat-way, I decided to try the gluten-free recipe. Finding the ingredients was a one-stop shop affair at my favourite baking store, Famous Foods. The recipe was straight-forward and I completed this challenge in the first week of January. Which is why I nearly forgot to post about it  today! All in all, a very nice recipe, not as sweet as the bars I’ve had in the past, which is a definite bonus. Thanks for the challenge, Lauren!

    Nanaimo Bars

    Preparation time:
    • Graham Wafers: 30 to 45 minutes total active prep, 2 ½ hours to overnight and 45 minutes inactive prep.
    • Nanaimo Bars: 30 minutes.

    Equipment required:
    • Food Processor
    • Bowls
    • Parchment paper or silpats
    • Cookie sheets
    • Double boiler or pot and heatproof bowl
    • 8 by 8 inch square pan
    • Hand mixer or stand mixer (You may use a wooden spoon, but this makes it much easier!)
    • Saucepan

    For Gluten-Free Graham Wafers
    1 cup (138 g) (4.9 ounces) Sweet rice flour (also known as glutinous rice flour)
    3/4 cup (100 g) (3.5 ounces) Tapioca Starch/Flour
    1/2 cup (65 g) (2.3 ounces) Sorghum Flour
    1 cup (200 g) (7.1 ounces) Dark Brown Sugar, Lightly packed
    1 teaspoon (5 mL) Baking soda
    3/4 teaspoon (4 mL ) Kosher Salt
    7 tablespoons (100 g) (3 ½ ounces) Unsalted Butter (Cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen)
    1/3 cup (80 mL) Honey, Mild-flavoured such as clover.
    5 tablespoons (75 mL) Whole Milk
    2 tablespoons (30 mL) Pure Vanilla Extract

    1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine the flours, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Pulse on low to incorporate. Add the butter and pulse on and off, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal. If making by hand, combine aforementioned dry ingredients with a whisk, then cut in butter until you have a coarse meal. No chunks of butter should be visible.
    2. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the honey, milk and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture until the dough barely comes together. It will be very soft and sticky.
    3. Turn the dough onto a surface well-floured with sweet rice flour and pat the dough into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 2 hours, or overnight.
    4. Divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator. Sift an even layer of sweet rice flour onto the work surface and roll the dough into a long rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick. The dough will be quite sticky, so flour as necessary. Cut into 4 by 4 inch squares. Gather the scraps together and set aside. Place wafers on one or two parchment-lined baking sheets. Chill until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes. Repeat with the second batch of dough.
    5. Adjust the rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).
    6. Gather the scraps together into a ball, chill until firm, and reroll. Dust the surface with more sweet rice flour and roll out the dough to get a couple more wafers.
    7. Prick the wafers with toothpick or fork, not all the way through, in two or more rows.
    8. Bake for 25 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the touch, rotating sheets halfway through to ensure even baking. Might take less, and the starting location of each sheet may determine its required time. The ones that started on the bottom browned faster.
    9. When cooled completely, place enough wafers in food processor to make 1 ¼ cups (300 mL) of crumbs. Another way to do this is to place in a large ziplock bag, force all air out and smash with a rolling pin until wafers are crumbs.

    Nanaimo Bars

    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

    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.

    Additional Information:

    These bars freeze very well, so don’t be afraid to pop some into the freezer.

    The graham wafers may be kept in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

    If making the graham crackers with wheat, replace the gluten-free flours (tapioca starch, sweet rice flour, and sorghum flour) with 2 ½ cups plus 2 tbsp of all-purpose wheat flour, or wheat pastry flour. Watch the wheat-based graham wafers very closely in the oven, as they bake faster than the gluten-free ones, sometimes only 12 minutes.

    For the Nanaimo Bars, if making with wheat, replace the gluten-free graham wafer crumbs with equal parts wheat graham wafer crumbs!

    • Lauren 9:24 am on January 28, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I’m so glad you enjoyed my challenge! Your bars look phenomenal =D. Also, I’m thrilled you tried it gluten-free!

    • Ivonne 5:30 pm on February 2, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Glad you liked the challenge! Well done!

  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on January 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , satay, thai   

    Daring Cooks 9th Challenge: Pork Satay 

    The January 2010 DC challenge was hosted by Cuppy of Cuppylicious and she chose a delicious Thai-inspired recipe for Pork Satay from the book 1000 Recipes by Martha Day. The main challenge of this dish was the marinating of the meat. I opted for the traditional marinade and chose pork as the meat. The weather was nice and mild this year, perfect for a charcoal bbq. So we kicked off the new year with pork bbq satay. A nice and relaxed way to celebrate a new decade of, what I hope will be, many more cooking and baking challenges.

    Pork Satay with Peanut Sauce

    Satay Marinade

    1/2 small onion, chopped
    2 garlic cloves, crushed
    1 T ginger root, chopped (optional) (2 cm cubed)
    2 T lemon juice (1 oz or 30 mls)
    1 T soy sauce (0.5 oz or 15 mls)
    1 tsp ground coriander (5 mls)
    1 tsp ground cumin (5 mls)
    1/2 tsp ground turmeric (2-2.5 mls)
    2 T vegetable oil (or peanut or olive oil) (30 mls)
    1 pound of pork (loin or shoulder cuts) (16 oz or 450g)

    Feeling the need to make it more Thai? Try adding a dragon chili, an extra tablespoon of ginger root, and 1 tablespoon (0.5 oz or 15 mls) of fish sauce. (I keep some premature (still green) dragon chili peppers in the freezer for just such an occasion.)

    1a. Cheater alert: If you have a food processor or blender, dump in everything except the pork and blend until smooth. Lacking a food processor, I prefer to chop my onions, garlic and ginger really fine then mix it all together in a medium to large bowl.
    2a. Cut pork into 1 inch strips.
    3a. Cover pork with marinade. You can place the pork into a bowl, cover/seal and chill, or place the whole lot of it into a ziplock bag, seal and chill.

    Chill Chart

    Pork Beef/Lamb Chicken Vegetables Tofu (no oil)
    4-8 hrs
    Up to 24 hrs
    6-8 hrs
    Up to 24 hrs
    1-4 hours
    Up to 12 hrs
    20 min – 2 hrs
    Up to 4 hrs
    20 min – 4 hrs
    Up to 12 hrs

    Faster (cheaper!) marinade:

    2 T vegetable oil (or peanut or olive oil) (1 oz or 30 mls)
    2 T lemon juice (1 oz or 30 mls)
    1 T soy sauce (0.5 oz or 15 mls)
    1 tsp ginger powder (5 mls)
    1 tsp garlic powder (5 mls)
    1 tsp cayenne pepper (5 mls)

    1b. Mix well.
    2b. Cut pork into 1 inch thick strips (2-2.5 cm thick), any length.
    3b. Cover pork with marinade. You can place the pork into a bowl, cover/seal and chill, or place the whole lot of it into a ziplock bag, seal and chill.

    Cooking Directions (continued):

    4. If using wooden or bamboo skewers, soak your skewers in warm water for at least 20 minutes before preparing skewers.
    5. Gently and slowly slide meat strips onto skewers. Discard leftover marinade.*
    6. Broil or grill at 290°C/550° F (or pan fry on medium-high) for 8-10 minutes or until the edges just start to char. Flip and cook another 8-10 minutes.

    • If you’re grilling or broiling, you could definitely brush once with extra marinade when you flip the skewers.

    Peanut Sauce

    3/4 cup coconut milk (6 oz or 180 mls)
    4 Tbsp peanut butter (2 oz or 60 mls)
    1 Tbsp lemon juice (0.5 oz or 15 mls)
    1 Tbsp soy sauce (0.5 oz or 15 mls)
    1 tsp brown sugar (5 mls)
    1/2 tsp ground cumin (2.5 mls)
    1/2 tsp ground coriander (2.5 mls)
    1-2 dried red chilies, chopped (keep the seeds for heat)

    1. Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl. Add soy sauce and lemon, mix well.
    2. Over low heat, combine coconut milk, peanut butter and your soy-lemon-seasoning mix. Mix well, stir often.
    3. All you’re doing is melting the peanut butter, so make your peanut sauce after you’ve made everything else in your meal, or make ahead of time and reheat.

    • Frenchie 1:26 pm on January 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I would have loved to barbecue my satay to get that nice char on it, too bad I live in Montreal, where the brutally cold whether would not permit that. I am sure your satay was delicious.

    • Audax Artifex 1:50 am on January 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Love that 2nd photo and the purple flame coming though. Great you liked it so much. In Australia it was 40C so so so hot LOL LOL LOL. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

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