Maple and Walnut Nanaimo Bars (Daring Bakers)

January 27, 2010 at 2:17 pm 139 comments


Lately, I’ve been in a writing rut.

I’ve been in food ruts where I made the same types of desserts over and over, and I’ve had weeks where inspiration simply escaped me. I’ve had photography ruts, too, where every post would somehow have the same style of photographs. I think every food blogger has those moments where you long to shoot images of vintage cars, textured bark or copper kettles, anything but another cookie.

These days, I haven’t had any recent baking disasters and my photography can only improve. But I’ve never experienced a writing rut before, and even stringing those two words together makes my heart ache like a bruised peach. I can’t describe how stifling and disheartening it feels to have nothing to say. I have never felt speechless before, and it makes me feel cloudless and empty.


I tried to pinpoint where it started, and I think I know. Last month the blog received more attention than usual and got some national exposure. I was out of town the week that it happened, and when I came home, I was startled by the sudden spike in subscriptions and Facebook friend requests. All my numbers had gone up, thirty times my usual number of hits, and more comments than I could read in an hour.

At first, I was exhilarated. I couldn’t wait to post again, and I was so touched that 17 and Baking meant something to so many new people. But as I started sifting through the comments, I encountered something I’d never expected to read on my site – wisps of negativity that deflated any of my short-lived joy.

I’ve never received disparaging comments before. I mean, it’s one thing when a recipe doesn’t work out for somebody or when I’ve made a silly mistake on my post. But amongst the flood of new comments were little pebbles of cruelty, a silt of snide comments and offhand criticisms. I knew those people shouldn’t matter. I knew nobody with a dream or a zest for life would write “Who cares?” on a 17 year old’s blog.

But honestly? I’m not kidding anyone, especially not myself. Those comments did matter to me.


I remember for the first time, dreading my next post. Although only a tiny percentage of comments from the recent exposure had been discouraging, the damage was done. I considered writing about my hesitations and reservations, or about how I found the strength to move on. But nothing I wrote rang true, and ultimately, I didn’t want to display my disappointment and tarnished confidence to the world. That isn’t the kind of person I am.

I wrote a lighthearted post instead, and kept my feelings to myself for once. And somehow, inexplicably, I lost my voice for a few weeks. I was unsatisfied with everything I wrote, and I finally had the last straw when I rewrote last week’s post four times before posting, and still was unhappy with the result. I wanted to find my passion again.

Passion, not flour or sugar, is the life of this blog. I refuse to let it wilt, because this blog has truly had a tangible impact on my life. I can feel it stirring in the back of my mind when I’m home alone, making hot chocolate and trying to find matching socks. I feel it pulsing through my veins when I walk to class, wet leaves still clinging to my boots. And I feel it most of all in my heart when I read your comments and emails, because nothing makes me as happy and enriches my life as much as your words.


Last week I discovered that I was nominated in the category of “Best Weblog By a Teen” in the 10th annual Weblog Awards, and it lifted my spirits in an unbelievable way. I felt like I was made out of thin air, or quite possibly liquid sunshine. I’m so honored and thrilled to be part of this year’s nominations!

Browsing this year’s nominees has also shown me plenty of great sites I wouldn’t have found on my own. None of the other teen nominees are specifically food bloggers, but their interests range from current issues to fashion to daily ponderings. I definitely encourage you to check out this year’s weblogs and maybe even vote for 17 and Baking! [2/28/10 Update: You might like to know that I won. :) ]

I finally feel like I have found my voice again with this post. The words came out easily once more, like the dusk I’ve been swept in has finally dissipated. When I finished writing this post and read it over in a final edit, I felt a deep satisfaction that I’d nearly forgotten.


I don’t know if it’s the nomination, the passing of time, or the fact that this month’s Daring Bakers challenge was pleasantly easy. All I know is that I am bursting with metaphors and adjectives, I have so much that I want to say and so much I want to learn. I’m so lucky to know where my passions are and to have the means to pursue them with everything I have, and I can’t help but look forward to February with a considerably lighter heart.

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


Here in Washington state we don’t get nanaimo bars, or at least I’ve never seen one. I’ve seen them on Tastespotting and thought they looked good, so I was excited to see that they were this month’s challenge. Unfortunately, I can’t say that I liked them. I have a sweet tooth, but even without the maple flavoring, these were tooth achingly sweet. They were also much too rich in the way that an overly buttery buttercream is too rich.

Nanaimo bars have three layers – chocolate on top, a middle buttercream layer, and a cocoa-coconut bottom layer made with graham crackers. For the chocolate layer, I used some unsweetened chocolate to tWe were encouraged to make gluten-free graham crackers for the challenge, but I didn’t have the ingredients on hand and made the original recipe instead. It just so happens I’ve made this exact graham cracker recipe before for my Autumn S’mores, so I’ll give the gluten-free version below.

Gluten-Free Graham Wafers
Adapted from 101.cookbooks
Makes about 10 large graham crackers (more than that for me)

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) Cold Unsalted Butter (Cut into 1-inch cubes)
1/3 cup (80 mL) Honey, Mild-flavoured such as clover.
5 tablespoons (75 mL) Whole Milk
2 tablespoons (30 mL) Pure Vanilla Extract

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.

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.

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. [To make things easier on myself, since the bars just need crumbs, I used a cookie cutter to quickly cut out stars.] 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.

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. Prick the wafers with toothpick or fork, not all the way through, in two or more rows.

Bake for 25 minutes [more like 12], 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.

To make crumbs: 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.


Maple and Walnut Nanaimo Bars
Makes an 8×8 Pan

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
1/2 cup (55 g) (1.9 ounces) Walnuts (Finely chopped)
1 cup (130 g) (4.5 ounces) Coconut (Shredded)

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.

Maple “Buttercream” 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, or Vanilla pudding mix)
2 cups (254 g) (8.9 ounces) Icing (Powdered) Sugar
2 teaspoons (10 mL) Maple Syrup
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Dash of cinnamon

Cream butter, cream, custard powder, icing sugar, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and cinnamon together well. Beat until light in colour. Spread over bottom layer.

Chocolate Top Layer

3 ounces (87 g) Semi-sweet chocolate
1 ounce (29 g) Unsweetened (Baker’s) chocolate
2 tablespoons (28 g) (1 ounce) Unsalted Butter

Melt chocolate and butter over low heat. Let cool to room temperature. When cooled, but still liquid, spread over the top of the bars.

Printer Friendly Version – Maple and Walnut Nanaimo Bars

Entry filed under: Bars/Brownies, Daring Bakers. Tags: , , , , , , .

Buttercream in Bloom Rising Confidence and Yeast-Raised Doughnuts

139 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Elissa's Dad  |  January 27, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    I adore watching you grow, mature and become the person you are. Remember to follow that voice inside you, reflect on it. You know the path to take to live the kind of life you want and what you want to pursue.

    This may be one of my favorite posts, some of the others have looked back and talked about our love and life and times together. I am touched by your reflections but this one tells me how you can also look forward. I am proud of you always.

    As I have always said, challenge what you know and what you do. You can only grow and develop and understand yourself when you push outside you comfort zone. I love watching you….

  • 2. Katy  |  January 27, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    I’m sorry to hear that some people wrote hurtful things. Some people are just plain mean. I’m quite glad to hear that you got over your writer’s block, and kudos on keeping your passion. I know I’ve said it before, but you’ve done some amazing things on here (and off, I’m sure). Keep up the great work, and try not to let those mean-spirited people get you down!


  • 3. mary  |  January 27, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    This is my first time visiting your blog, and I thought your post was lovely: very heartfelt and interspersed with great photos too! It’s too bad that some felt the need to disparage your work, but you were right to move on and continue doing your good work.
    Sorry that you didn’t love the Nanaimo bars, but they do look lovely! I really enjoyed the graham crackers and will definitely be making those again.

  • 4. Kate  |  January 27, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    I just found your blog recently, and I think it’s great. It’s one of my favorite baking blogs even. Keep your head up and keep showing us great recipes to try!

  • 5. Emma @ Poires au Chocolat  |  January 27, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    I’m so glad you managed to find your voice again. It’s so sad that people found it in themselves to be mean. Your blog is truly wonderful – it brightens my day when I see you’ve posted.

    I have to admit they’re some of the prettiest nanaimos I’ve seen so far – I love the walnuts on top.

  • 6. Iryna  |  January 27, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Fun Fact: Did you know NASA’s aerogel is the solid with the lightest density on earth? It’s made of 99.8% of gel.

    (I know that’s really random but when you wrote “I felt like I was made out of thin air” that just really reminded me of that.)

    I’m so happy you’ve found your voice once again!! :)

  • 7. Iryna  |  January 27, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    Ooops. I mean the gel is made of 99.8% air not gel!!

  • 8. Yumi  |  January 27, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Don’t let the haters get you down, Elissa. You and the rest of the world know that they’re just sad people with unresolved issues, who are too immature to overcome them the way you do. I’m sure your supporters will defend you!

  • 9. Teresa  |  January 27, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    I just found your blog this week, and I’m so very impressed. Please don’t let a few negative comments get you down. Your photography is beautiful and your baking inspirational. I can’t even get my head around the fact that you’re only 17. Your writing is very polished. My daughter is begging me to make your chrysanthemum cupcakes. I’ll be checking back frequently.

  • 10. RC  |  January 27, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    I just found your blog today through the Webby’s contest. Out of all the teen blogs, yours speaks to me the most. Funny since I’m a 40 year old mother of 2 almost teens. How disheartening to hear that there were negative comments, even if it was a few. There is the old adage, “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. I subscribe to that but there are plenty of nasty people on the internet that hide behind the anonymity of computer screen. Don’t let it get you down. For every negative comment, there are plenty of people that enjoy your blog. Hopefully their comments will buoy you when you are feeling down. I can only hope that my children have the ambition that you do. :-)

  • 11. tianne  |  January 27, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    mmm maple walnut. how canadian! i’m a BC-er so these are close to my heart.

  • 12. Angela  |  January 27, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Mean comments can really do a lot of damage. I recently stopped blogging for a couple of months having let some thoughtless remarks get to me. But your blog is wonderful and those comments must be coming from jealous readers! I voted, by the way :-) xxx

    PS Is it wrong to eat Nanaimo Bars for breakfast?

  • 13. Diane Watkins  |  January 27, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    I found your blog through the contest, and I have to say that you deserve to win. Not just in the teen category, but you stand out as a food blog as well. I will be back often to read and taste your offerings.
    Don’t let the negativity get you down. I know it is hard. Whenever I have a negative comment or review it just makes me want to quit and avoid writing. You just have to realize that there are a lot of negative people out there who probably couldn’t string together a sentence, but they feel qualified to criticize others. It really is their problem. Your work is wonderful.

  • 14. Mary  |  January 27, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Don’t EVER let people get you down! You are so well-spoken, interesting, passionate and light-hearted. It hurts me to think that careless people could bring you down like that! Seriously, you can’t please every one, and there are certainly some people you’d rather not please! Just remember who you are, what you love and those that love you :)

  • 15. Basht  |  January 27, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Well they turned out lovely and look really good.
    I know that it’s easier said then done but you have to accept the comments and just let them go, because as much as it hurts you need to remember that there are lots of us who think you’re great and incredibly talented.

  • 16. pragmaticattic  |  January 27, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    Lovely pictures and I really like the idea of walnuts and maple syrup with nanaimo bars.

  • 17. Jennifer  |  January 27, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    If it makes you feel better, I think your writing is always wonderful. It’s hard to write, to find your written voice and you’ve done a beautiful job. I can’t write half as well as you and I’m almost twice your age. You have a gift; and no negative comments can take it away from you. I voted for your blog. Good luck and congrats!

  • 18. Stephanie  |  January 27, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    I know you didn’t write this blog to garner sympathy or guilt people into kind compliments. You wrote it because it is the stuff that has been gnawing at your insides and you needed to make sense of it. That is what writers, artists, do and what I am constantly telling the students in my classes. Thank you for doing this — one of my mantras is “Writing is an act of courage” and you have lived that. And thank you for bringing beauty and insight to my day whenever you post. I am a terrible cook and can almost guarantee I will never cook anything you put on your blog, but it continues to touch my life in very tangible ways.

  • 19. breadetbutter  |  January 27, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    Discovered your blog through the bloggies nomination – and I love it already. Am sorry to hear about the negative comments, but rest assured for every negative commenter, there are a thousand others who will leap to your defense. :)

    Keep up the good work, and good luck with the bloggies! x

  • 20. Kelly  |  January 27, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    congrats on your blog award! i have celiac and want to try these although i am not big on super sweet either but they look delish!!

  • 21. Tracey  |  January 27, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    I just wanted to let you know your blog is absolutely wonderful! You are an extremely talented baker and writer. You are so inspiring!

  • 22. Jan  |  January 27, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    I made namaino bars for the first time this week! We’re on the same baking wavelength. My recipe was adapted from I added peanut butter to the middle layer. Ignore the meanies…or pity them.

  • 23. Thyme  |  January 27, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    I’ve been a lurker for about three days, ever since I saw that you were nominated for your award. (Congratulations, by the way!) I’m actually a lurker on a lot of food blogs, but I recently started my own. I’m not telling you this so you’ll know about me, but so you’ll know that I started my own blog the night I read yours. I was so impressed with your recipes, your writing style, and your photography that I was suddenly invigorated with my own confidence. Your blog made me want to participate in the online food community, experiment in my own kitchen more, and put myself out there. Thanks, and don’t let the few negative comments get you down! You are great :)

  • 24. Jodi  |  January 27, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    Jealousy makes people mean. It’s difficult to not let it affect your life, but it is inevitable. I think you’re amazing and are definitely going places. I really hope that the positive remarks will stick with you longer than the lamesauce people who can’t keep their snide comments to themselves. Keep on keeping on little one.

  • 25. K  |  January 27, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    You certainly have my vote. . Amazing photo’s and writing once again.

  • 26. Catherine  |  January 27, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    Dear 17 and Baking,

    First off Id like to say thank you for your blog, every aspect of it. I am a new reader and have in fact found you by way of your recent national exposure. I like to quietly classify myself as a writer and understand your ruts, having of course experienced some myself, and can I just say that even when you are writing about ruts you are so poetic and fun to read. To have such a talent that you can share with others such as myself, a 24 year old wife and mother to two, where your inspiration makes my home a happier place after my attempts to recreate your masterpieces. Thank you for sharing yourself, the good and the bad with us. Its simply inspiring.

    Newly Addicted Reader,

  • 27. Tonic  |  January 27, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    I’m glad you bounced back and overcame your block. You continue to amaze and inspire me both in your writing and photography, not just your amazing talent for baking! Keep up the great work!

  • 28. linda  |  January 27, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    you are an incredible young woman & have displayed to us (through your words) that you are wise beyond your years.

    i *love* when your dad comments…he is a wise man with very profound words…

    “let us be grateful to people who make us happy: they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. ” marcel proust

  • 29. Jaime  |  January 27, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    Like some people that have commented before me, I also recently stumbled upon your blog from the Weblog Awards page. It saddens me that people tried, and for a short while, discouraged you from doing what you love. Your blog is truly amazing. Being 32 years old I was AMAZED (and very jealous!) by your photography and your baking abilities at such a young age. You have a true gift that I wish I possessed. Your blog has really inspired me to start a blog and channel my energy through it as well. I encourage you to keep up the fantastic writing, baking and photography! Haters come and go, but your inspiration to others will stick around for a long time.

  • 30. Margarita  |  January 27, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    I read some of those comments and hoped you wouldn’t take them to heart. You have a gift to reach people with your talents, don’t let anyone take that away. I, amongst many others, would miss your refreshing honesty, creativity, relationship with your parents, hardships, triumphs, joys, dreams, passion, photos, recipes,…………….your blog. Sometimes we are hurt and have setbacks, but we go on. Thank you for being a shining example of getting oneself out of a rut. Life, afterall, is good. Let’s hope others can see that too and not feel a need to be mean. :) Always a fan. <3

  • 31. Linda  |  January 27, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    Shame on them for leaving disparaging remarks on your blog! I am so in awe of your poise and intelligence, not to mention your cooking talent.

    Please know that most of us love you. 8-)


  • 32. Aimee  |  January 27, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    I’m a new visitor to your blog, but you quickly made it on to my ‘daily read’ list.

    There will always be people trying to drag you down, its usually a mark of being as popular as you have become. What matters is not whether you let the comments hurt you (anyone with passion in their soul will also take hurt into their heart more easily *grin*. I know because I’m passionate too!

    Don’t lose your sensitivity, but embrace it – look deeper into their criticims, if they are empty, you will not feel so bad. If they have a particular issue, you can address it and feel good about yourself.

    But above all, be who you have been all along, and don’t let whispers on the wind change you. Create your own hurricanes…

    You got where you are today because of who you were yesterday, keep growing towards tomorrow, but don’t forget your roots and you’ll be fine.

    Oh and you have beautiful writing as well as cooking ability, which is why I love reading yours posts as WELL as looking at the scrummy pictures.


  • 33. allisonmn  |  January 27, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    you rock! i am glad you found your voice and i def know the feeling of being deflated as a result of criticism. we all get back on the horse and power on and i am glad you did!

  • […] usually find them too sweet. I certainly expected these to be even sweeter than usual (Elissa at 17 and Baking also went with maple flavour and wasn’t a fan), but for some reason I really liked these. […]

  • 35. workingcollies  |  January 27, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    Yay, I’m glad you’re back. I know what you mean about feeling sensitive to negative comments. Writing and sharing definitely opens you up to criticism sometimes, it takes bravery to face that. But the detractors are usually a small percentage of all who enjoy what you write, and I suppose it builds humility to deal with them gracefully, which you have done! Take care,

  • 36. Preston  |  January 27, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    Elissa, you make my day every time you post.

  • 37. Kim, Rambling Family Manager  |  January 27, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    Don’t let the trolls get you down! You are totally awesome, which is why I read your blog. I don’t bake myself anymore (I used to bake cakes, but only so I had something to decorate after I took the Wilton courses, and I’ve made bread and cookies for the holidays, but not recently) so I’m not here for the recipes. I’m here because you are an amazing writer and photographer! You are just a year older than my daughter, who also loves to write, and I look forward to the posts I can share with her. (Which is all of them.)

    I’m so happy to see you are overcoming the setback; the trolls only win if they keep you down. Welcome back. :)

  • 38. Meeta  |  January 28, 2010 at 12:29 am

    one really needs to develop a thick skin. i’ve been blogging for four years and imagine how many negative comments one gets. i actually have a note in my about page about it and simply delete. where ever you go you will find people who are envious and jealous of what you do or what you are – you just need to stand above it – know you are GOOD!

    lovely bars – i loved the crackers best of all in this month’s challenge

  • 39. George@CulinaryTravels  |  January 28, 2010 at 2:21 am

    What a fabulous job. Love the idea of the maple and walnut!

  • 40. Juliana Morgado  |  January 28, 2010 at 4:46 am

    You should just ignore some comments here, Elissa. Really, many of those wandering around the internet are simply as stupid as a door.
    I’ve read many comments and it is clear that the outstading majority here loves you and your posts. Your recipes are wonderful. You can bet that if someone posts “Who cares?”, it’s simply because they envy you for your skills and friendly perspective.

  • 41. Brittany Elise  |  January 28, 2010 at 7:08 am


    I get that same fear each time I hit “Publish.” Is someone going to say something nasty? What if the recipe flops? Are they going to think my writing is awful? But you know, you can’t live like that. Shake it off, honey! Some people have sour hearts.

    Keep your chin up, your blog is beautiful and your writing makes me smile. The bars look delicious even though the taste doesn’t match, well done. I look forward to your next post!


  • 42. Valerina  |  January 28, 2010 at 8:17 am

    While I was reading this post I had to remind myself that you are 17. This is my first visit but it won’t be my last. You are wise beyond your years and have an obvious gift when it comes to writing (and photography). As cruel as some people can be, we should use their biting words as rungs on a ladder to climb even higher and push us forward instead of back.

    Your bars are lovely! I’m looking forward to seeing more of your posts and photos. :)

  • 43. June  |  January 28, 2010 at 8:18 am

    Oh no oh no! =( People can be really lousy, don’t care about them k! I love your blog. I keep your recipes to use for after i have huge baking failures. They always work out perfectly and help to cheer me up. =) Love you love your blog!

  • 44. Gourmet Goddess  |  January 28, 2010 at 8:19 am

    hi there , i just recently discovered your blog via another blog i was reading – love it !!! and congratulations on your nomination .

    i love the chrysanthenum cupcakes – simple yet elegant .

    always read comments but never fear negative ones – it just shows you how insecure the people that are writing them are with themselves .

    i look forward to following your growth and developement – i personally am baking challenged – so i am inspired by all baking blogs .


  • 45. Valérie  |  January 28, 2010 at 8:41 am

    Oh, Elissa, I’m sorry to hear you had some uselessly harsh comments… They’re pretty rare in the food blogosphere, but I guess they do happen. Really, try not to take them to heart, it was probably a few bored people, or someone who had had a bad day – or just someone who was plain thoughtless. But the number of people who love your blog, your writing and your photographs, far outweigh those who are needlessly nasty.

    I’m glad you have found your voice again, and I hope you remembre how to get it back for future obstacles.

    Back to the challenge: it’s too bad you didn’t like the Nanaimo bars, but at any rate they look great! And I’m sure there are tons of people who would love to have a taste of them, no matter how sweet or rich!

  • 46. Lauren  |  January 28, 2010 at 9:04 am

    I’m so sorry you’ve been having to deal with negative comments. They’re definitely not fun.

    Although I’m sorry you didn’t like the Nanaimos, you did such a great job on my challenge! The maple is a wonderful addition =D.

  • 47. Ginger S  |  January 28, 2010 at 9:26 am

    I just found your blog recently and am amazed at how composed of a baker you are for your age. You are also an artist as your chrysanthemum cupcakes can attest. Please don’t worry about the few posts any blogger can expect to receive that are negative. Don’t take it personally. You are fantastic!

    Thank you for one of the highlights of my day- checking your blog for new ideas!

  • 48. Carolyn  |  January 28, 2010 at 9:46 am

    I’ve just stumbled across your blog thanks to the awards. I love it. I think your writing and photography are great!

  • 49. Carolyn  |  January 28, 2010 at 9:47 am

    Oh — and your recipes are amazing, too!

  • 50. ~~Rhonda  |  January 28, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    I found your blog via foodgawker. I’ve looked at recipes for these bars many times but have never made them. I think I’ll give them a whirl for a Sunday dinner we’re going to on the 7th. A good place to try out a new recipe…especially a dessert …we don’t need extra of it hanging around this kitchen.
    Re: mean spirited posts, remember that constructive criticism is a good thing and mean and hurtful criticisms are reflections of rude and socially inept people. Their opinions don’t count. Keep up the good work. I’m putting you in my reader to follow.
    Always have fun in the kitchen. ~~Rhonda :)


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Elissa Bernstein

I'm Elissa: a 17 (now 21) year old baker in Seattle Boston juggling creative nonfiction workshops, subway maps, and my passions for writing, baking, and photography. Photo above © Michelle Moore

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