January Daring Bakers Challenge: Gluten-Free Hazelnut 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.

Sticky, sticky, sticky! Graham cracker dough is so sticky! I had to roll out the first batch 4 times before I got any that didn’t stick to the counter! What a MESS! I almost gave up.  But I didn’t want to be a quitter. Finally I got a few crackers that made it from the counter to the baking sheet.  It took a few more tries to get pretty crackers. I didn’t like the way the first ones tasted. Then I brushed off some of the extra flour (there was A LOT), and they tasted MUCH better. I have been munching on them for a week now, and they still taste fresh.  They don’t taste exactly like the ones in the store, but they are still yummy.

The layers are easy to make. I was worried that the nanimos might be a little boring. But they were very tasty. It would be fun to play with the flavors a little… maybe next time.

Make sure you leave the bars in the fridge long enough. I took mine out after about 2 hours. When I cut them, the bottom layer was very crumbly. I thought maybe the flax/water was not a good replacement for the egg in the original recipe. But the next morning, the bottom held together.  It was not crumbly at all. (Yes, I ate one for breakfast. I also had oatmeal.)

Coconut, hazelnut, and cocoa powder. A delicious base!

Coconut, hazelnut, and cocoa powder. A delicious base!

Gluten-Free Graham Crackers


  • 2 1/4 – 2 1/2 c Arrowhead Mills Gluten Free All-Purpose Baking Mix
  • 1 cup (200 g) (7.1 ounces) dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon (4 mL ) salt
  • 7 tablespoons (100 g) (3 ½ ounces) Earth Balance, cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) maple syrup
  • 5 tablespoons (75 mL) soy milk
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) vanilla extract


  1. In a medium bowl, combine the flours, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Cut in the Earth Balance pieces with a pastry blender or two knives, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal. No chunks of butter should be visible.
  2. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the maple syrup, soy 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 the gluten-free 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 gluten-free 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.
Oh so sweet, ready to eat!

Oh so sweet, ready to eat!

Nanaimo Bars


Bottom Layer

  • 1/2 cup (115 g) (4 ounces) Earth Balance
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) (1.8 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons (75 mL) unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 T ground flax seed beaten with 3 T water
  • 1 1/4 cups (300 mL) (160 g) (5.6 ounces) Gluten Free Graham Cracker Crumbs (See previous recipe)
  • 1/2 cup (55 g) (1.9 ounces) hazelnuts (Finely chopped)
  • 1 cup (130 g) (4.5 ounces) dried shredded unsweetened coconut

Middle Layer

  • 1/2 cup (115 g) (4 ounces) Earth Balance
  • 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons (40 mL) So Delicious Hazelnut Non-dairy Creamer
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) vanilla pudding mix (I used Dr. Oetker’s)
  • 2 cups (254 g) (8.9 ounces) powdered sugar

Top Layer

  • 4 ounces (115 g) semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons (28 g) (1 ounce) Earth Balance


  1. For bottom Layer: Melt Earth Balance, sugar and cocoa in top of a double boiler. Add flax mixture 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 Earth Balance, So Delicious creamer, pudding mix, and powdered sugar together well. Beat until light in colour. Spread over bottom layer.
  3. For Top Layer: Melt chocolate and Earth Balance over low heat. Cool. Once cool, pour over middle layer and chill.
Spreading on the middle layer

Spreading on the middle layer

  1. STAN says:

    OMG. I daresay this looks absolutely amazing. I must try this.

  2. admin says:

    You should try it, Stan! If you use graham crackers from the store, it would be easy!

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