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Wednesday, 27 January 2010

The Daring Bakers January 2010 Challenge: Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo Bars

I didn’t know what Nanaimo bars were before this challenge and I’m glad I tried these out because they are really delicious. Very rich, very very rich indeed (and probably too rich for my taste!); you can only have a very small piece at a time. But what’s good about Nanaimo bars is that you can freeze them and keep them for later.

The Daring Kitchen

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


This challenge also required that we make the graham crackers that go in the base of the bars as crumbs. These ones I really like and will be making again. I didn’t make a gluten free cracker though. I just used plain flour that I had on hand. I will give the gluten-free cracker a go next time as some claimed they were nicer than normal ones...Those crackers keep really well in an air-tight jar by the way. They are still crisp after 3 weeks!

Graham Crackers

I adapted the gluten-free recipe for this challenge by replacing all the gluten flours with plain flour and also veganised it.

Graham Wafers

2 1/4 cups (300 g) plain flour

1 cup (200 g) dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon (5 mL) baking soda

3/4 teaspoon (4 mL) salt

7 tablespoons (100 g) unsalted vegan margarine (cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen)

1/3 cup (80 mL) maple syrup

5 tablespoons (75 mL) soy milk (or any non-dairy)

2 tablespoons (30 mL) vanilla extract

  • In a bowl combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt.
  • Add the margarine. Mix by rubbing in until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal. No chunks of margarine should be visible.
  • In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the maple syrup, soy milk and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture until the dough barely comes together. It will be very soft and slightly sticky.
  • 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. (I left mine overnight).
  • Divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator. Sift an even layer of 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 squares. (I baked the scraps as well because they were going to be crumbs anyway!)
  • 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.
  • Adjust the rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).
  • Prick the wafers with toothpick or fork, not all the way through, in two or more rows.
  • Bake for 25 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the touch, rotating sheets halfway through to ensure even baking.
  • When cooled completely, place enough wafers in food processor to make 1 ¼ cups (300 mL) of crumbs. (Or I placed some wafers in a large plastic bag, forced all air out, ensured it was properly closed and smashed with a rolling pin until wafers were crumbs.

For the bars, I more or less followed this video by Sarah Kramer. I didn’t make many changes to the vegan recipe. I replaced the flaxseed (to which I am sometimes allergic) by egg-replacer (Allergycare brand that I found here in Dublin) and the nuts by rice crispies.
I also decided to go for a mixed chocolate and custard centre. The idea was to have a marble effect. But this cream just wouldn’t behave the way I wanted it to! So, I ended up with blobs of yellow cream and chocolate cream here and there in the centre and sometimes they just mixed together. Anyway, these bars were delicious but not guilt-free!!! I'm am thinking of trying a lower fat version next time.

Nanaimo Bars

Sunday, 17 January 2010


Some people still ask me why am I vegan. Well, here's one of the reasons. I cannot eat that kind of intelligence.
This is not a recipe but I had to share this...

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Daring Cooks Challenge January 2010: Tofu Satay


I've been away from the blogging world for so long but what can I say, I haven't forgotten about you. So, Happy Belated New Year to all of you!
I do read your blogs although I am not blogging myself and commenting. Now that the holiday season is over, I am very much looking forward into coming back to photographing and blogging gear. I never cease to cook or bake (of course!) but it takes a bit of organisation to get the recipes posted with a picture. I really do miss blogging, it's a part of me now...

Anyway, onto the Daring Cooks Challenge.

The  Daring Kitchen

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.

*in my case Tofu Satay


It was an easy challenge. I had all ingredients at home and the recipe did not need any veganising. I used tofu. The only change I made was the Peanut Sauce. I am allergic to peanuts (and all other nuts and seeds, for the moment! I'm am sure there exist some cures somewhere for all allergies and I am keeping the faith!).
So, I only substituted the peanut butter for boiled butter beans in the original recipe below. It was pretty good, very close to the taste of satay 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 block firm tofu (8.8 oz or 250g)
  • Blend everything except tofu in a blender. (I used a hand blender).*
  • Cut tofu into strips.
  • Cover tofu strips with marinade and place in a bowl.
  • Cover with cling film and leave to marinade for 20 minutes.
  • Pan fry (in a non-stick fry pan) with a little oil until sides are golden and slightly crisp.
* I found the marinade a bit dry so I added some rice milk to the mixture.

Nut-free 'Peanut' Sauce or Butter bean sauce
3/4 cup coconut milk (6 oz or 180 mls)
4 Tbsp pureed boiled butter beans (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)

  • Mix coconut milk and pureed butter beans. (I found it easier to use a hand blender for this)
  • Pour in a heated saucepan and heat for 2 minutes.
  • Add rest of ingredients, mix well. Remove from heat.
  • Serve with the tofu.


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