Daring Bakers – Nanaimo Bars

Next month the 2010 Winter Olympics Games will be held in Vancouver. So guess, what we baked for Daring Bakers Challenge this month! Nanaimo Bars.

Daring Bakers - Nanaimo Bars

These bars are a classic Canadian dessert created in none other than Nanaimo, British Colombia. In case you were wondering, it’s pronounced Nah-nye-Moh. Nanaimo bars have 3 layers: a base containing graham crackers, cocoa, coconut and nuts, a middle custard layer, and a topping of chocolate. They are extremely rich and available almost everywhere across the country.

The challenge was to make the graham wafers ourselves, gluten- or non-gluten-free. I baked a non-gluten-free version with wheat and spelt flour. This was quite easy, only the sugar didn’t melt well, but the sugar crystals give the wafers a special crispness. ;-)

Nanaimo bars are very addictive and unfortunately one small piece has about 1’000’000 calories, so the poor Olympic athletes will not be allowed to taste even a bite of it. I’m so glad I’m not an athlete! ;-)

Graham Wafers

Daring Bakers - Nanaimo Bars - Graham Wafers

75 g flour
75 g spelt flour
100 dark Brown Sugar, lightly packed
1/2 teaspoon Baking soda
1 pinch of salt
50 g unsalted Butter (cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen)
40 ml Honey, Mild-flavoured such as clover.
5 tablespoons whole Milk
1 tablespoon 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.

Daring Bakers - Nanaimo Bars - Graham Wafers

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 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 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 about 20 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 80 g 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.

Daring Bakers - Nanaimo Bars - Graham Wafers

Nanaimo Bars

For Nanaimo Bars — Bottom Layer
50 g Unsalted Butter
25 g Granulated Sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa
1/2 Medium Egg, Beaten
80 g Graham Wafer Crumbs (See previous recipe)
20 g Walnuts, Finely chopped)
65 g Coconut (Shredded, sweetened or unsweetened)

For Nanaimo Bars — Middle Layer
50 g Unsalted Butter
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon Crème fraîche
1 tablespoon Vanilla Custard Powder
80 g Icing Sugar

For Nanaimo Bars — Top Layer
60 g dark chocolate
12 g 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 10×10 cm pan.

2. For Middle Layer: Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light in colour.

Daring Bakers - Nanaimo Bars

Spread over bottom layer.

Daring Bakers - Nanaimo Bars

3. For Top Layer: Melt chocolate and unsalted butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, pour over middle layer and chill.


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.

Head also over to the Daring Kitchen Headquarter to see the original recipe as well the bars my fellow Daring Bakers made.

November 2007 Challenge – Tender Potatoe Bread
December 2007 Challenge – Yule Log
January 2008 Challenge – Lemon Meringue Pie
February 2008 Challenge – French Bread
March 2008 Challenge – Perfect Party Cake
April 2008 Challenge – Cheesecake Pops
May 2008 Challenge – Opéra Cake
June 2008 Challenge – Danish Braid
July 2008 Challenge – Filbert Gateau
August 2008 Challenge – Chocolate Eclairs
September 2008 Challenge – Lavash Crackers
October 2008 Challenge – Pizza
November 2008 Challenge – Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting
January 2009 Challenge – Tuiles
February 2009 Challenge – Flourless Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Valentino
March 2009 Challenge – Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna (Lasagne Verdi al Forno)
April 2009 Challenge – Cheesecake with Lemon Curd Topping
Mai 2009 Challenge – Banana Strudel
June 2009 Challenge – Bakewell Tart
July 2009 Challenge – Milan Cookies
September 2009 Challenge – Vols-au-Vent
October 2009 Challenge – Macarons
November 2009 Challenge – Cannoli
December 2009 Challenge – Gingerbread House

More entries and recipes in English.

20 Gedanken zu „Daring Bakers – Nanaimo Bars

  1. ….bitte ein paar Gymnastikübungen dazubloggen, mit denen man diese Versuchung wieder von den Hüften bekommt? Das sieht ja verboten lecker aus, bei uns öffnet allerdings in 3 1/2 Monaten das Schwimmbad wieder :-)
    Au weia.
    gibts morgen Salat? :-)

  2. REPLY:
    Sport? Was ist das? ;-)

    Eins kommt mir in den Sinn: Man könnte mit über 100 Sachen die Skipiste runterbrettern, wie es die Athleten während den Olympischen Spielen machen. Ich glaube dazu braucht man auch etwas Gewicht, sonst schleudert’s einem von der Piste. ;-)

    Sprich nicht von Badesaison, hier startet sie noch früher. :-( Aber eins ist gut an diesen Bars, nach einem Bissen ist man voll. Ueber(fr)essen geht kaum.

  3. REPLY:
    Ich würde die nehmen, die du sonst für den Boden für Käsekuchen nimmst. Oder so Gesundheitskekse, leider weiss ich nicht wie die heissen. Das Backen der Kekse lohnt sich schon, die sind auch pur lecker, vor allem frisch aus dem Ofen wenn sie noch ganz knusprig sind.

  4. Wow, very cool. I’ve never made my own graham crackers, so I may have to try these. I like that this month’s recipe was in related to the Olympics.

  5. Oh your Nanaimos look classic Zorra, very pretty! Yeah, they were decadent alright & I’m glad I’m not an Olympian too. My expanding waistline has atale to tell!!

  6. Your pics are stunning! Thanks for visiting my blog and introducing yours to me. Maybe they should add a „Best Food Eater“ event to the olympics, right?

  7. Hmmm, pro Stunde Schneeschuhwandern verbraucht man zwischen 400 bis 500 Kalorien. Da müste ich für diese leckere Dessert schon einige Tage unterwegs sein :-)
    Nun ja, die Chässchnitte letzten Samstag war ja auch nicht gerade „light“, aber super lecker.
    Probieren werde ich das Rezept vermutlich trotzdem mal :-)) Klingt einfach zu lecker.

  8. Zorra, I’m so glad you made them! They look wonderful. And you’re right … they are about a million calories each but worth it!

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