Monday, February 21, 2011

Treats and Snacks

This recipe was a long time in the making.

No, I'm not talking about mixing -> baking -> assembly time. Well, that was a long time too, but a heck of a lot less time than it took for me to actually get into the kitchen and make it. No, this took a long time for me to figure out from start to finish.

Now, I consider myself pretty able in the kitchen. I can bake up a storm, make a mean pot of soup and have even been known to can a few things. Gluten free stuff isn't too foreign to me either. But candy and chocolate crafting is another whole ball game. I'm the first to admit that I'm not a fan of dealing with molten sugar, gooey melted chocolate, or even frosting and decorating cakes. I know - aside from the sugar thing, there are definitely instances of those on my blog. I'll do them... I just don't like to.

Still, I really couldn't say no to this.
Not only were these gluten-free, vegan KitKat Bar clones a challenge that taunted me from the time it was given, but the task was given to me by the woman who was instrumental in lobbying for my insurance company to keep me standing. I would have done it for her (and her daughter, the end recipient of these) even if she wasn't a client. I owe her at least that much.

If I was going to jump into the candy-bar pool at all  though - not the least wearing a gluten-free swimsuit - I was sure going to do it right. I wanted to be proud of what I put out there. Not for fame or fortune, but to say "Yes. I made that. And it looks good.". Problem was, I had not a whit of a clue how to go about recreating this woman's favourite chocolate bar. I was a big fan of KitKats myself back in the day, but short of finding a pizzelle iron to make the wafers I had no idea where to even start this journey.

My answer came from a very unlikely source - especially for this holistic nutritionist! Lo and behold, Serious Eats had run a story about Paula Deen's Homemade Kit Kat Bars back in mid-January, and it was in that one webpage that I found my candy bar-making legs. Paula's bars use a pan of Club Crackers, graham cracker crumbs, peanut butter, chocolate chips, and butterscotch chips... well I may not have had a KitKat in many a year, but I do know that there are no additions to those wafer biscuits other than thin layers of chocolate. So chocolate only it would be. Not to mention it would be both easier and safer that way, so that I could keep the gluten, corn, dairy and eggs out of the picture! Luckily, I had a tried and true gluten-free saltine cracker recipe that was easily altered to become ever-so-slightly sweet (and corn free!), and I even had some great corn, dairy and gluten free chocolate and vanilla hanging around from Christmas. 

Now I have to admit - these bars are simple, but it is definitely a process from start to finish. To do these right, you need to budget at least two days from when you start baking the crackers to when you can bite into the finished product. I promise you though... it's worth it. And they may not be the most gorgeous candy bars on the shelf, but they will be something you can be proud to call your own.

Tia's Treats
Makes 3 "King Size" bars - easily 3 servings each!
Base
2/3 cup rice flour
1/4 cup potato flour
3 tbsp soy flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
7 tbsp arrowroot
3 tbsp potato starch
1 tbsp cream of brown rice cereal
½ tsp salt
1/2 tsp guar gum
1 tbsp sugar
½ tsp baking soda
3 oz shortening
3/4 cup water
1 tsp gluten and corn free vanilla
----
Assembly
300 g gluten, corn and dairy free bittersweet chocolate
2 tsp shortening

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Mix flours, arrowroot, potato starch, salt, sugar and baking soda.
  3. Cut in shortening until mixture has a consistency of coarse meal.
  4. Add liquid and stir to form a dough.
  5. Between two pieces of wax paper, roll dough out into a very thin sheet.
  6. Cut into 3 large "base" rectangles (about the size of a large Kit Kat bar) and 12 thinner "sticks" (the length of the large rectangles and a little more than 1/3 as wide), place different sizes on separate un-greased cookie sheets.
  7. Prick 1-2 times with a fork and make a "seam" of fork pricks down the centre of the larger rectangles (so they can "break" easily after assembly).
  8. Bake the skinny crackers 6-7 minutes and larger crackers 8-10 minutes, flipping once halfway through. They should be golden - you want them to be crispy!
  9. Cool on the sheets.
Assembly
  1. Melt together chocolate and shortening in a double boiler over simmering water.
  2. Place one large cracker on a rack placed over a piece of wax paper or foil and brush with a thin layer of chocolate.
  3. Immediately place two of the thin sticks on top of the large rectangle on either edge.
  4. Brush entire surface with another layer of chocolate and repeat the layering process with two more thin "sticks".
  5. Spoon a thicker layer of chocolate overtop of the rectangle and spread gently to enrobe the top and sides. Set aside to set.
  6. When chocolate has solidified brush the underside of the bar with chocolate and allow to set.
  7. Repeat process with remaining crackers and chocolate.
  8. Wrap the completed bars in foil and store in a cool, dry place
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 390.3
Total Fat: 20.3 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 3.0 mg
Total Carbs: 45.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 6.0 g
Protein: 4.4 g

I had some leftover crackers and chocolate from the assembly of Tia's Treats, so for my other gluten-free friend Silvia I made "sandwiches" with a mixture of almond butter and agave nectar before enrobing them in the rich dark chocolate and crowning them with slivered almond corners. I owed her a Christmas gift - so what better one than chocolate?


2 comments :

Ricki said...

Pretty darned amazing. Wow, wow, wow (one for each layer!) :D

Jenni said...

Yummm...chocolate lovers ( like my self )dream! Have to def give it a try!