Daring Bakers: Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and NANAIMO BARS


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.

What an exciting challenge for the start of the year! I’ve never made either the gluten-free graham wafers nor the nanaimo bars before. Geez, I’ve never heard of Nanaimo Bars for that matter!!!


The gluten free graham wafers were a breeze to make (if you can find all the ingredients).  I tried it twice. The first time I used sweet rice flour, tapioca flour and sorghum flour.  For the second batch, I used 2 1/2 cups of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free all purpose flour.  I didn’t see much difference in the texture.



  • 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 (I used 2 1/2 cups of gluten free all purpose flour instead of these three flours)
  • 1 cup (200 g) (7.1 ounces) Dark Brown Sugar, Lightly packed (I used  only 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar)
  • 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. (I used agave nectar)
  • 5 tablespoons (75 mL) Whole Milk (I used plain soy milk)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) Pure Vanilla Extract


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. 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.
3. 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.
4. Adjust the rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius). 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.
5. 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. Might take less, and the starting location of each sheet may determine its required time. The ones that started on the bottom browned faster.
6. 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.


For the nanaimo bars, I made two different versions: the original recipe provided by the host and then a MINT CAPPUCCINO version using mint chocolate chips and a cappuccino filling in addition to the vanilla custard one.  I used two silicone loaf pans instead of a square pan.



Bottom Layer

  • 1/2 cup (115 g) (4 ounces) Unsalted Butter
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) (1.8 ounces) Granulated Sugar ( I did not add sugar)
  • 5 tablespoons (75 mL) Unsweetened Cocoa
  • 1 Large Egg, Beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups (300 mL) 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)

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 (I used only 1/2 cup of icing sugar)

Top Layer

  • 4 ounces (115 g) Semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons (28 g) (1 ounce) Unsalted Butter


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.




  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp instant coffee or espresso powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cups icing sugar

Note:  Use mint chocolate chips (they are green) to make the mint top layer


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» The Chocolate Priestess said: { Jan 27, 2010 - 06:01 }

Is it Nanaimo Bar day on the food blog? I’ve seen this on a few of them but yours is the first with this green layer. A St. Patrick’s Day treat?

» Drick said: { Jan 27, 2010 - 06:01 }

such layers of goodness – love the mint one too

» virtual chef said: { Jan 27, 2010 - 07:01 }

Priestess: it’s reveal date for Daring Bakers and we did Nanaimo Bars this month in honor of the Olympics in Vancouver. I didn’t think of it as a St Pat’s day treat but now I know what to make …:) nope….just some leftover mint chocolate chips lying around in the kitchen that needed to be used..

» Emily said: { Jan 27, 2010 - 07:01 }

Awesome. Honestly awesome.

» chef_d said: { Jan 27, 2010 - 11:01 }

mint cappuccino!! ohhh that must be sooo good!

» fairy_mi said: { Jan 27, 2010 - 12:01 }

What a great result for this challenge-
I really like the cappuccino mint combination, it looks superb!
Great job!
(also a DB)

» ap269 said: { Jan 27, 2010 - 12:01 }

Wow, that green is really, well…. GREEN! Amazing!

» Mimi said: { Jan 27, 2010 - 06:01 }

We loved the grahams, but I didn’t go gluten free. Glad to know that Bob’s gluten free flour worked out fine. Love your version of the filling.

» Mary said: { Jan 27, 2010 - 08:01 }

Wow–I would have never thought of cappuccino and mint together! I made a fairly standard version, but liked the graham crackers the best.

» Jeanne said: { Jan 27, 2010 - 09:01 }

Mint cappuccino! Brilliant idea! I’ve never seen those mint chocolate chips before, I bet they’re really tasty. Great job on the challenge!

» Bianca @ South Bay Rants n Raves said: { Jan 28, 2010 - 06:01 }

Look at that gluten free goodness!

» Jill @ Jillicious Discoveries said: { Jan 28, 2010 - 07:01 }

I love your idea of using the mint flavor and the silcone loaf pans–genius! :)

» Ivonne said: { Feb 2, 2010 - 06:02 }

I’m likin’ that mint/cappuccino version for sure! Love it!

» virtual chef said: { Feb 9, 2010 - 05:02 }

ap269: yeah! there were really GREEN! LOL…I nearly didn’t bake it but hated the waste so I went ahead. It tasted heavenly and minty!!!

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