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27 January 2010

Daring Bakers January

So I finally made it back on track and here we have the later challenge. Cue blog checking lines .......... now.

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.

So I made these late in the month and after reading all the advice from everyone else in the forums, doubled the amount of chocolate topping. I also cheated. The challenge said to make the graham crackers gluten free and from scratch, however due to time constraints I bought the digestive biscuits instead..... Give me a break I've been working the graveyard shift. recipe to follow!


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.

I also chopped them up into tiny squares a centimetre or two square. Little mouthfuls of deliciousness.




25 January 2010

Baking days are back!

So Australia Day is just around the corner (24 hours to be precise) which means marathon day is getting closer. Marathon day consists of an 8 hour shift at work followed by a street parade in teh city and then a drive out to the country for a lunchtime picnic and gig. The marathon part consists of doing this on very little sleep. Needless to say, I'm not driving that day!

I offered to do the sweets course for lunch and have finally decided on a menu.
This months Daring Bakers Challenge (haven't yet decided if its going to the picnic or work yet)
Australia Day cupcakes - lamingtons!
brownies

The lamington cupcakes are an experiment that I'm hoping will work out awesomely.

After work today (9am) I plan on making the cupcakes, making brownies, finishing touches on the challenge and some laundry.

22 January 2010

awesome risotto

The best risotto in the world has been made, eaten, frozen, reheated and still devoured. And it was all made with random things from my fridge and freezer!

Chicken
Mushrooms
Semi sundried tomatoes
Basil
Parmesan cheese

essentially making a chicken and mushroom pesto risotto.

tastes fantastic!

20 January 2010

I promise I'm still alive!







So there is a backlog of posts that are waiting to be uploaded. The only issue is that I have no time at the moment.

I'm also trying to figure out what to serve for Australia Day. One of the bands I play in has 2 gigs on Australia Day, the city parade and then an afternoon gig in the country complete with picnic lunch. I volunteered to do the sweets part. I'm thinking this months challenge, cheesecake brownies and possibly the danish pastry challenge if I can find it.

I've also had a revelation as to my career.
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I'm going to be a teacher

Shocked?

After 3 years of working full time I've decided that I'm really not happy in my profession. I'm bored, unenthusiastic and really just don't care anymore. So my fan is to finish off my honours degree this year and save like crazy so that next year I can quit my job and go back to uni full time to do a Grad Dip Ed.
Oh and I'm also moving out of my current house when the lease is up at the end of the year. Love the house, hate the situation. My housemate and I have known each other for over 10 years but in the last 6-12 months things have gone down hill. The main issue I have is that she is never home. She still pays rent but has essentially moved in with her boyfriend and his family. I hate living alone. More on that later.

Just a taste of what has happened in the last few months