My first trip to Canada 8 years ago was to visit Jeff's family in British Columbia. One of the best parts of our 2 week stay, besides getting to listen to his Scottish Grandma's gorgeous accent, were the Nanaimo Bars. It seems to me that Nanaimo Bars are the Canadian version of Rice Krispie Treats. They're everywhere, at least in BC.
But the giant monstrosities you can buy while waiting for the ferries are nothing compared to a decent homemade batch.
The first few times that Jeff and I made these together, we lived in a 2 bedroom apartment, so maneuvering around each other in our tiny little kitchen turned into somewhat of a dance. Every time I have these, I think of that time and smile.
So here's the recipe we use, straight from Jeff's mum, complete with metric measurements.
Butter or cooking spray (for the pan)
1/2 cup (1 stick) (113 grams) unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
1/3 cup (30 grams) unsweetened cocoa (I use Dutch-processed)
1 egg, beaten
1 t. vanilla
2 cups (200 grams) graham cracker crumbs
1 cup (65 grams) shredded coconut (either sweetened or unsweetened is fine)
1/2 cup (50 grams) walnuts, pecans or almonds, coarsely chopped (for this batch Jeff used a combination of walnuts and almonds)
1/4 cup (56 grams) unsalted butter at room temperature
2-3 T. milk
2 T. vanilla custard powder (Bird's) or vanilla pudding powder
1/2 t. vanilla
2 cups (230 grams) powdered sugar
4 ounces (115 grams) semisweet chocolate, chopped (we use chocolate chips)
1 T. (14 grams) unsalted butter
Notes About Ingredients
-I know it seems like a lot of ingredients, but some of them are listed more than once. Butter, for instance, is in each and every layer, plus is used for greasing the pan.
-The picture above is everything you'll need (except for the graham cracker crumbs, because, well, I took this picture after the bars were made and we were out of them). And, in case you're curious, the jar of brown liquid is homemade vanilla with the beans still in it.
-We've made this with both custard powder and the vanilla pudding powder. Both work fine. And, no, they most likely won't have the custard powder at your local grocery store. We get ours (for about 4 bucks) from Cost Plus World Market in the English foods section. Cost Plus, by the way, has some screamin deals on Ghiradelli chocolate chips at this time of year. If you live within driving distance of one, I suggest you go stock up.
How To Put it all Together
-Butter a 9 x 9 inch (23 x 23 cm) pan (or use cooking spray)
-Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat.
-Stir in the sugar and cocoa powder and then gradually whisk in the beaten egg.
-Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens (1 or 2 minutes).
-Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, graham crackers crumbs, coconut and the chopped nuts.
-Press evenly into the pan.
-Cover and refrigerate until firm (about an hour).
-Cream the butter (using either stand mixer or hand mixer).
-Beat in the remaining ingredients.
-If the mixture is too thick to spread, add a little more milk.
-Spread over the bottom layer, cover and refrigerate until firm (about 30 minutes).
-In a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter.
-Spread over the filling and refrigerate.
-Use a sharp knife and bring to room temperature before cutting (if you don't want the chocolate to crack).
-Cut these suckers small because boy they are rich.
Enjoy this recipe? Get more like it by subscribing to my RSS feed