I've eaten a graham cracker or two in my day. I grew up eating the Keebler ones dusted with cinnamon and sugar, and plain ones with a bit of peanut butter. These days I use graham crumbs for all kinds of crusts and streusels. For years, I've enjoyed these crunchy, perforated treats for years, but I've never once thought about making grahams from scratch, until this month's Daring Bakers challenge came along.
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.
I opted to make my grahams with regular all purpose flour. Time and budget constraints prevented me from purchasing the special flours required to make the gluten-free wafers, but I hope to try them another time. My grahams were delicious - crispy, browned, and lightly sweetened with honey. They were great on their own.
The fresh graham crackers were crumbled and used to make Nanaimo Bars, a rich Canadian cross between a bar cookie and fudge. The graham crumbs are combined with cocoa powder, toasted almonds, and coconut, to form a rich base. A thin layer of buttercream enriched with vanilla custard is spread over the chocolate base. Melted chocolate tops it all off. Traditionally the bars would be assembled in a sheet pan and cut into squares or bars. I opted to build mine in silicone muffin tins for a slightly sleeker look. I froze the finished Nanaimos until just firm, and they popped out of the muffin tin easily.
A bite or two of these Nanaimo Bars is all it takes - these babies are super sweet. Try making them in a silicone mini muffin tin for tasty, layered petit fours.