You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Daring Bakers’ tag.

Well, i’m a day late with posting though i had the challenge completed a few weeks ago! 🙂

My overall impression of these new treats (the first time i tasted these) was good – the filling was a bit sweet, and the chocolate cracked when you cut the bars, but the textures were interesting and i loved the bottom layer- i could have just eaten that by its self!

Mom made the graham crackers ahead of time – and did them from scratch – but no pictures. we were  both a little skeptical that they tasted a little burnt when eaten by themselves – but they tasted great inside the bottom layer when we finally got the whole thing completed.

they were a lot of work though for just an 8×8 pan, but they were tasty anyway 🙂

Here’s what happened:

our goal

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
Ingredients
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

Directions:
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
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.

HERE GOES!

the homemade graham crackers

the homemade graham crackers

grinding the nuts

bottom layer components: nuts, graham crackers and coconut

bottom layer components: nuts, graham crackers and coconut

the left over graham cracker crumbs

bottom layer pressed into the pan

middle layer goes on

...and gets smoothed

Mom melts chocolate for the top layer

chocolate gets poured on top

and gets smoothed out

post refrigeration, mom starts a slice

the first cut came out a little ... well, mangled 🙂

next one's a little better - the chocolate kept breaking!

and then we get one that looks really cool 🙂

It’s officially my birthday 🙂

Not only is this the day of my official existence, but it is also the date of the December Daring Bakers Challenge post and i decided that as it was to be done on my birthday, christmas and the holiday hooplah took over the month of December and 1,000,000 other things were happening, i would take creative liberty with the “gingerbread house” theme hoping that the DB’ers would see that it was fate with the birthday date to let me go at it my way and make gingerbread people standing in front of a template house and call that gravy for this month’s challenge 🙂

Here are some of the many people (including a skeleton! 🙂 created by my efforts (and the template that i was planning to use on the gingerbread house until time surpassed practicality)

that's my little frenchman in the foreground! notice his moustache!?

the house template looms behind!

a cutout chimney closeup!

sorry the house never made it – i hope that this counts enough – the thought was there – i promise! time just ran out! 😦  Merry late christmas to everyone regardless – and i hope you all have a great new years too!!! 🙂

As this is the 11th hour of the Daring Baker’s November Challenge – cannolis  – i am going to do this post mostly in photos – that’s the best part anyway – no? 🙂

rolling the dough through the kitchen aid - apparently essential with such hard dough

getting thinner

ahh - i can see the light!

check on the oil temp

cutting out rounds with a cookie cutter tin lid

mom (was so excited to hear that cannolis were on the menu - she insisted we do them together) works away

mom wraps the first one ...

and it goes into the oil

...and it pops right open 😦 and the next 5 or so do too

in true capricorn spirit, i decide there is no way a cannoli shell will get the best of us and i start a sealing process - PINCHING.

take that oil bubbles! lets GO!

mom also starts holding them down ...

and success looms near!

and we start cranking them out

and they start stacking up!

and we have a little photoshoot

...well, wouldnt you have done the same?! 🙂

then mom gets a little silly ...

yep, she's goofy ...

..and another close-up 🙂

and work begins on the dipping chocolate

and the dipping commences ...

aww so pretty

dipped and good to go

chocolate also goes into the filling

complete with pistachios, cinnamon and rose water!

piping into the dipped shells

all filled and delicious!!

All done!

Thanks for all your help mom – glad we got to bake together!

me and mom!!

!! xoxoxo 🙂

first of all, my first experience with the DB,

FAILURE!

ok, now that i’ve got that out of my system – let’s talk macaroon, and Daring Bakers:

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S.

She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

THE PLAN:

Ingredients
Confectioners’ (Icing) sugar: 2 ¼ cups (225 g, 8 oz.)
Almond flour: 2 cups (190 g, 6.7 oz.)
Granulated sugar: 2 tablespoons (25 g , .88 oz.)
Egg whites: 5 (Have at room temperature)

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C). Combine the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour in a medium bowl. If grinding your own nuts, combine nuts and a cup of confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor and grind until nuts are very fine and powdery.
2. Beat the egg whites in the clean dry bowl of a stand mixer until they hold soft peaks. Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks.
3. Sift a third of the almond flour mixture into the meringue and fold gently to combine. If you are planning on adding zest or other flavorings to the batter, now is the time. Sift in the remaining almond flour in two batches. Be gentle! Don’t overfold, but fully incorporate your ingredients.
4. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip (Ateco #806). You can also use a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off. It’s easiest to fill your bag if you stand it up in a tall glass and fold the top down before spooning in the batter.
5. Pipe one-inch-sized (2.5 cm) mounds of batter onto baking sheets lined with nonstick liners (or parchment paper).
6. Bake the macaroon for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and raise the temperature to 375°F (190°C). Once the oven is up to temperature, put the pans back in the oven and bake for an additional 7 to 8 minutes, or lightly colored.
7. Cool on a rack before filling.

THE TRUTH:

THE_BEGINING

getting ready for the macarooning

things are looking good – eggs separated, nuts and flour awaiting addition…things are on the move toward macaroons.

WHISK_IN_MOTION

whisking those egg whites

fun with slow shutter speed, no? good ‘ol Kitchenaid!

STIFF_PEAKS

victory! that looks stiff to me!

whoo! still lookin’ on track!

UHHH

hmmm....things start to go askew?

looks a little chunky, no? this is where i start to worry a little…

DALLOPS

all piped out

i forged ahead though and here we have little dallops…fingers were crossed!

BOTTOMS

hmmm....underdone and overdone bottoms! now that's talent!

so after the initial bake and then the second bake – both as scheduled in the recipe – the ones on the right came out first. what happened? well, the ones on the right were, well chewy and underdone. the ones on the left spent a bit more time in the oven – and they look oddly like pancakes – no? they came out CRISP. drat. drat indeed.

neither the done or underdone were puffy or airy.

too heavy flour/nuts?

not beaten enough eggwhites?

crappy oven?

baker gene-less?

im still baffled.

….

then…

i had an epiphany – (not only on how to spell the word epiphany after a weird series of text messages this morning with an ex boyfriend) but also on what to do for the filling.

what does one do with five egg yolks one wonders?

CURD_BEFORE

yeah there were five, i broke one, oops, i know! 🙂

well, that my friends, i certainly know what to do with that:

MAKE LEMON CURD!

i don’t know about you, but i LOVE lemon curd. with deep abiding passion i love lemon curd.

like it was fate, five egg yolks is exactly the number needed for my tried and true lemon curd recipe permantly mounted to my fridge after a renegade lemon heist from a stranger’s ignored and “fruitful” lemon tree last spring.

GOSEPEL

ladies and gentlemen, i give you the gospel.

the gospel that is, in my own slightly skewed way of writing recipes.

Also, i dont know if you know, but i write for a newspaper for a living and spend a lot of time writing so when it comes to recipes – im lazy and just want to remember the highlights and highpoints of the task at hand (note the constant leaving out of letters, combining words and symbols and flurry of abbreviations throughout the written recipe)

i will decipher for you though the method as the ingredients are rather legible:

“2x boiler” =double boiler.

“yoks+sug – add juiezest” = combine yolks and sugar in top of double boiler, whisk over low heat, add juice and zest …

WHISKING

whisking away

… whisk until thick and coats the back of a wooden spoon (reaches nappe).”

NAPPE

ahh...nappe!

“buttr 1x” = once thickened, add small pieces of butter one at a time until incorporated taking bowl on and off heat as necessary.

CURD2

so beautiful!

CURD

ok, one more beauty shot 🙂

ok – SO – i waited for the curd to cool a bit, but it never gets super jello-like with this recipe anyway, (a fact i appreciate!) and so i went to fill the done-er macaroons and, well, it wasnt quite as i’d hoped.

MACAROON_FILLED3

hmm...filled, but not quite puffy 🙂

MACAROON_FILLED

it looks like a drooling clamshell, no? i know that wasnt the challenge point, but i cant help but giggle at it...?

so, after biting though my model, i just ended up with the following as my method of eating thereafter:

SOLUTION

it was just as good 🙂

ahh well, maybe next month’ll be lemon curd, eh? hey, a girl can dream, cant she?  🙂

CURD_RED_POT

ok, one final lemon curd love photo, even better in the cute little red pot, no?? 🙂

Yesterday I officially enlisted!

No! Not in the army or anything like that – I became part of the Daring Bakers Blogroll.

Do you know about the Daring Bakers?

They have a monthly challenge where members all make the same recipe and then share their experiences on blogs for the efforts of learning and growing as a baker.

Here’s my official “About Me” for DB:

I am the daughter of locally acclaimed baker – DQ or Dessert Queen – who has the family corner on baking. I’m a better cook – though I’m also a vegetarian. So, to make mummie proud – I’m putting my baking abilities to the test (and my continued motivation to upkeep my blog and joining the Daring Bakers.

I am a budding photographer – a skill which I use at my day job working for our town’s newspaper for which I also write and do ad design.

I own a small herd of dairy goats – Picante, Waffle, Hula, Acorn and Setiva at the moment who enjoy eating a portion of my paycheck while also decorating the “back 40.”

I also have a fat siamese – officially named Sheeva — though only by the annual card from the vet. She commonly goes by Pooter, Poot or Poo Smile

I’m excited to try this and hope to evoke some sort of Julie-esqe-ness that blogging about food will help bring me back to the surface Smile

You have to complete 8 of the 12 challenges throughout the year to stay with the bunch and that’s a scary yet motivating rule.

I’ll keep you (the atmosphere?!) apprised as it unfolds!

Daring Bakers also came up with some very cute new logos – I’m a fan of Ms. Measure – though as a cook over a baker, I’m not big on measuring 🙂