Archive for January, 2010

New year, new challenges.  First on the agenda was to complete January’s Daring Bakers Challenge over at the Daring Kitchen.  Seeing as how last month was such a cop-out, I wanted to get this month’s challenge done early.  The name of the game?  Graham crackers and nanaimo bars, hosted by Lauren.

Well, I’ve certainly never tried to make graham crackers before.  I didn’t try the optional version to make them gluten-free, however, because I just couldn’t bring myself to buy ingredients that I would never use again.  Times are tough and money is low (but that’s mostly because I love buying high heels), so I went with the good ol’ wheat version.

Graham crackers, you say?  Can’t one just buy those for $2.50 at the local grocery store?  Well, yes you can.  But what’s the challenge in that?  So I put myself to the test (or at least my arm since I was too lazy to bust out the food processor and thought I could just do it all with a pastry cutter and elbow grease) and mixed up the dough.  After it chilled in the fridge overnight, I rolled it out and very carelessly cut out strips and sprinkled with a sugar/cinnamon mixture.  Yes, I’m doing the challenge early.  No, I’m not really putting THAT much effort into it.  Into the oven they went for 25 minutes.

Ooh, what’s that smell?  It smells just like a pop-tart that was left in the oven too long so the crusts are all black, which happens to be cooked to perfection, based on my tastes.  Unfortunately, they weren’t perfect for the sake of graham crackers.  I tried to cut edges off, but they were simply unusable.

The next tray came out perfect, and fortunately I still had enough to make the second part of the challenge:  nanaimo bars (recipe), a treat from Nanaimo Canada.

Step 1:  Crush graham crackers.

What?!  After I went through the effort of making them?  Yeah, I think I’ll just pay the $2.50 next time and buy a box of graham cracker crumbs.

The rest of the recipe was fairly simple.  Bottom layer was like a dense, chocolate crust, middle layer seemed to me like vanilla frosting that’s been refrigerated, and the top layer was just melted chocolate that would harden.  It wasn’t exactly my favorite recipe in the world, but my devoted taste-testers (co-workers) enjoyed them.

There wasn’t a whole lot of room for creativity with this challenge, so I used my creativity another way and bundled myself and my goodies up (the nanaimo bars!) for a good old fashion photoshoot.  Cheers!

Graham Crackers – A (for the ones that didn’t burn)

Nanaimo Bars – A

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.


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