The best thing about participating in the Daring Baker Challenges is trying something new that surprises you with its fabulous flavour. When I tasted my nanaimobar creation, I needed a moment to regain my composure. It was so @%##%$ good. It may be the most delicious dessert ever created in my kitchen.
With the countdown to the winter Olympics on the news (and the little TVs in the elevator at my work) and the Daring Bakers selecting a classic Canadian confection for this month’s challenge, it seems everyone wants a little piece of the great white north (which has been surprisingly grey and brown this winter). I have many childhood memories of consuming this cloyingly sweet treat. My Mom’s favourite prepared version was sold in huge trays at M&M; Meat shop. If there was a family BBQ or a house-warming party she would pick up a box and store it in the freezer. I clearly remember the sugary, creamy centre of those frozen nanaimo bars. I’m not the only Canadian with fond memories of this treat. As a nation we’re pretty proud of this multi-layered, calorie-laden bar.
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 wanted to honour Lauren’s choice for a gluten-free dessert but decided to create a raw version of her chosen confection. I based my creation on three different recipes.
I used a recipe from Jennifer Cornbleet
for the Graham Cracker Crust from her recent book, Raw for Dessert
. It is a combination of walnuts, dates, raisins, and coconut. I mixed it up by using almonds for some of the walnuts and replaced the evaporated cane juice with more dates.
Creamy Mint Centre
For the most important layer I used Raw Goddess Heathy’s Recipe
from her Just Desserts ebook
. I love that it used a whole bunch of fresh mint. The recipe is very similar to other raw cheesecake layers that employ a lot of cashews, agave and cacao butter.
I melted about 1/4 cup of a beautiful block of raw cacao and stirred in agave until the desired sweetness was achieved.
I pulsed the crust ingredients in a food processor until a coarse meal was a achieved. Then I pressed the crust into a 8X8 pan (lined with parchment paper) and let it set up in the freezer for about an hour.
For the centre, I blended the ingredients in my Blendtec and then poured it on top of the prepared crust. I then placed the pan back into the freezer for an hour.
The melted chocolate and agave mixture was spread evenly on top of the prepared filling and allowed to set up in the freezer before I sliced it into bars.
Then I enjoyed this lovely dessert with a warm cup of tea. It was bliss.
And, GO Canada GO…the Olympics start on February 12th. I can’t wait for the world to come for a visit.