Malto Mario


The Lady & Sons

1,000 Italian Recipes

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I Baked For Shaun White!

Okay not really.. but he's the only winter Olympian that I know of. And frankly, I'm not even sure he's in the Olympics this year.. is he? What I do know is I like his long wavy red hair. But I probably shouldn't say that out loud as I'm most likely old enough to be his Aunt. *cough*

Anyhoo.. as per usual, I'm a day late and a dollar short. And once again I feel foolish because of it. This month's Daring Baker challenge was a breeze and the results were muy deliciouso! Wait, that's Spanish.. what would the Canadians say? Uhmm.. 'kay.. well.. the results were KICK ASS! (that's more of what I'd say because I don't know what a Canuck would say. Canuck.. is that PC?)

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

Lauren is from Canada and these Nanaimo bars are her tribute to the 2010 Winter Olympics held in Vancouver, Canada.

Here's a funny.. and he's probably going to kill me.. but I received an email this morning from my friend John who had to tell me that while he was making his dough for the graham crackers he noticed that it smelled like graham crackers. And then he said, "Really?? You think??." Yes Gorgeous, the dough DOES smell like graham crackers and after baked, they taste better than any graham cracker I've ever had. Addicting is the word. More like Graham Crack. I kept hearing, er, reading in the forums that other members couldn't stop eating the graham crackers and my friend Michele said the same thing - but I had NO. IDEA. HOW. GOOD. they really are. I was almost sad to have to crumble a bunch of them for the Nanaimo bars. Seriously.

But I did.. and then I kinda veered off the traditional route and went down my own road. I've made Nanaimo bars before and they were delish, you'll get no argument from me there. But they were a leeetle sweet so this time I wanted to make all of the components but in different flavors - specifically flavors that aren't as sweet. I started with the graham cracker crust, and omitted the nuts as we can't eat them. I also ground the coconut to almost a powder because I had to hide it as Hubbs hates coconut with a passion. He'll eat stuff flavored with coconut but hates real coconut. Go figger. And I added a generous peench of cinnamon. What I didn't do was add the cocoa. This was entirely an accident. I was so intent on grinding down that coconut and getting it into the crust before he came back into the kitchen that I completely forgot the damn cocoa. I really did want a chocolate crust.

Then I moved on to the filling, which is what I found too sweet in the traditional bars. I decided I wanted a blast of coffee with the tang of cheese. Ideally I was going to do mascarpone/butter cream frosting flavored with espresso powder. But I never got the chance to get the mascarpone, so I had to do with cream cheese. Basically I made cream cheese frosting sans most of the sugar - I probably used 1/3 of what a basic cream cheese frosting would call for, then thinned it a bit with a boat load of espresso powder stirred into a small amount of hot heavy whipping cream. I can't find the words to express how fakking good it turned out and I really can't wait to use it on a cake!

For the topping, ya'll know me, right? I don't say no to any kind of chocolate unless it's white - which is not chocolate anyways. BUT just a few weeks ago, I made a pan of what is essentially buckeyes (the lil round gobs of delicious sweetened peanut butter dipped in chocolate), but instead of rolling out the peanut butter into balls, because I'm a lazy mofo, I just spread it into an 8 x 8 pan and poured the chocolate over it. After refrigerating the chocolate became hard (duh) and well.. after forcing myself to eat 3/4 of the pan myself, I was kinda over hard chocolate with something mooshey underneath. :P So I went with a basic ganache over the top of my coffee/cream cheese filling.

As you can see in this picture, there is a bite taken. That is the one and only taste of these that I've had (so far) and it took every fiber of restraint in this chubby body of mine to stop there to rush into my office to write this post a day late. And keep in mind, I don't own very many restraint fibers. :P Holy mother of a chinless baboon, these bars are FANFARKINGTASTIC. They aren't nearly as sweet as the traditional Nanaimo bars, but they are definitely rich, and I'm confident that I can get over that. :P The cinnamon & coconut in the crust paired with the coffee and chocolate and the tang of the cream cheese is nothing if not heavenly.

Lauren, thank you so much for choosing these recipes and for allowing us the creativity to choose different flavors. I just hope I can restrain myself until Saturday evening as I've promised these bars as dessert for friends who are coming over.. but then again if I just whip up another batch, who will be the wiser? ;)

Pop on over HERE for the recipes for the grahams (gluten free and made with wheat flour versions) and the traditional Nanaimo bar recipes!


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Comments on "I Baked For Shaun White!"


Blogger Mary said ... (1/28/2010 8:35 PM) : 

They sound fantastic, especially the filling. And the topping. Oh and the crackers were definitely like crack--I just finished the last of mine. As a Canuck, I think we'd say they're f***ing A! or would that be 'eh'?


Blogger Unknown said ... (1/28/2010 8:44 PM) : 

I smiled at the point when you rushed the base so hubby wouldn't see the coconut going in - how many times I've done that! I loved the bars, too and also flavoured with coffee. I really like the addition of cream cheese.


Blogger Laurel said ... (1/28/2010 9:47 PM) : 

Oooh! I like your middle layer much better than the buttercream one in the original recipe. You're right; much too sweet. Will have to try this winning flavor combination out next time I attempt Naniamos...


Blogger Jill @ Jillicious Discoveries said ... (1/28/2010 10:05 PM) : 

I loved your comment "Graham Crack" so true!! These were unbelievably DELICIOUS--yours look very yummy too! :)


Blogger Barbara Bakes said ... (1/28/2010 11:13 PM) : 

I believe these yummy bars will bring Shaun White the luck he needs to bring home the gold! You might even have to go up on the podium with him!


Blogger Heather B said ... (1/28/2010 11:25 PM) : 

I loved the graham crackers too. I'm totally calling them graham crack now! Great job on the bars and crackers. They look delicious!


Blogger Lauren said ... (1/28/2010 11:45 PM) : 

Well you can always make another batch ;D. Your wafers and Nanaimo bars look fantastic! I am absolutely thrilled that you enjoyed my challenge Lis =D.


Blogger Cheesy Pennies said ... (1/29/2010 12:10 AM) : 

Jill, I so enjoyed your post! And it was good to see another cream cheese middle fan. Your photos are wonderful, too!


Blogger Cheesy Pennies said ... (1/29/2010 12:17 AM) : 

So sorry I called you Jill in that last comment! I clicked on your post but read the name of the post below you. :(


Blogger Valerie Harrison (bellini) said ... (1/29/2010 6:29 AM) : 

Coffee, cream cheese, chocolate,the ultimate graham cracker...what's not for this Canadian to love.


Anonymous Nadia said ... (1/29/2010 8:00 AM) : 

nice work, love the pie shape


Blogger Anna said ... (1/29/2010 9:52 AM) : 

LOVE your version of the nanaimo - espresso flavor had to be great (as they are very sweet otherwise...).

Cheers from rainy Ireland!


Anonymous Nidhi said ... (1/29/2010 11:13 AM) : 

I would love to try your version.....I made the original and found them unappetizingly sweet. Went well with others but I think I would prefer it your way.....wish I had known its going to be this sweet beforehand.


Blogger Sara said ... (1/29/2010 11:15 AM) : 

mmmm! I am a nanaimo bar purist, but these look really good. Canuck is fine to say, as long as you are being polite. :)


Blogger Natalie, aka "Sheltie Girl" said ... (1/29/2010 12:10 PM) : 

Wow! I absolutely love your choice of flavors/substitution/extractions for this recipe. My kids don't like coconut, so I used mashed corn flake cereal instead.

I agree that the filling is way way too sweet. I couldn't get my butter mixture to absorb all the powder combo from the sugar and the custard powder. Not that it tasted the least bit good in that form. I added almost another 1/2 cup of milk just to get a decent consistency and mild flavor. Then I threw in alot of vanilla extract (I preferred the Drambuie I tried with it, but figured I shouldn't since the kids wouldn't be eating it.)to recreate the flavor of the mix.

Top the thing off with chocolate and you have a match made for instant weight gain.

I'm going to store these babies in the freezer and then send them off to work with my husband on Monday. Yeah me!

Natalie @ Gluten a Go Go


Anonymous Jenny said ... (1/29/2010 1:18 PM) : 

Ooooh, the coffee-cream cheese filling. Brilliant. I thought this was a little sweet too, but heck, I never would have made it more crack-like by adding coffee and cream cheese. You are a genius!!


Blogger Lisa said ... (1/31/2010 9:35 AM) : 

Lis, I'm not a coffee fan by any stretch, but a coffee cream cheese filling sounds amazing and perfect for these bars. I wish I made a non-buttercram filling, and next time will becuse I also loved the grahams and the crust. I will also grind up the coconut, as I like that idea (Unlike your hubs, I do love coconut in all forms, just feel ground coconut suits the crust better). You totally rocked it, amazingly delicious looking Na Na's! *hugs*


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1/31/2010 7:11 PM) : 

ahem, what are all these girls night's (that apparently my invite gets lost in the mail) all about???
Never would I "kill" ya for speaking the truth....yes, I had a lapse in clarity this month it appears. But dammmmmmmitttttttt, the dough really did smell like graham crackers!!!!!
Your choices sound fantastic but I am assuming I will never know, since the "girls" probably ate them all!!!


Blogger creampuff said ... (1/31/2010 7:35 PM) : 

Those are some gorgeous bars, eh! And you're right, the graham crackers really do smell like graham crackers!!! Eh!!!


Blogger Heather said ... (2/01/2010 10:50 PM) : 

oh wonderful...a new challenge on to making my own graham crackers!
The boyfriend will love if they are as good as you say!


Anonymous we are never full said ... (2/16/2010 4:10 PM) : 


this looks unbelievable!


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