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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.

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Okay. So I’m exaggerating just a bit. The Daring Bakers aren’t actually physically going to the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver but we’re definitely going in spirit with the January 2010 Daring Baker’s challenge.

Lauren, who is one of the sweetest girls, decided to put her Canadian pride on display by choosing a very “Canadian” treat for the DB challenge. As a proud Canadian myself, I cannot wait until February 12th when the world’s focus will shift to Vancouver.

While I don’t know what will happen over the two weeks of competition, I have no doubt that the world will see what good, caring and friendly people Canadians are. And I also have no doubt that we will have our fill of drama, joy, thrills, tears, beautiful moments and reminders of why sport, amateur sport in particular, is such a worthy pursuit.

With all the compelling stories that the Olympics promise, I was so happy that this first challenge for 2010 was relatively straightforward.

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The best part of the challenge was learning to make graham crackers. Nanaimo Bars use graham cracker crumbs in the recipe for the base of the bars. Lauren very creatively challenged us to make our own graham crackers, and not just regular graham crackers, but gluten-free graham crackers at that. She also generously provided some links to recipes for regular graham crackers for those who didn’t want to try the gluten-free version.

I was surprised at how easy it was to make graham crackers. Considering how much I love to eat them out of hand and how regularly I use graham crackers in baking, I can’t thank Lauren enough for thinking of this part of the challenge.

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As for the Nanaimo Bars, if you’ve never seen one or tried one, you should definitely attempt them. They’re an easy bar cookie to make (if you use store-bought graham crumbs there’s actually no baking involved) and I have yet to meet anyone that doesn’t like them.

I made basic Nanaimo Bars (no variation) as I’d never tried them before so I wanted to make the original. When I served the bars, I cut them into very small squares because they are quite sweet.

I want to thank Lauren for her efforts in hosting the challenge and for making all Daring Kitchen members honourary Canadians just in time for Vancouver 2010!

Ciao!

For the challenge recipe, click here.

Click here to visit The Daring Bakers’ blogroll.

If you’re interested in following the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, visit the official site here.