Sunday, December 14, 2008

Nanaimo Bars

Well, what kind of a food blog is this when Thanksgiving passes without so much as a recipe for yams or cranberry salad. I couldn't let the same happen during Christmas, so if you're looking for a recipe to add to your cookie/bar repertoire, this is it. These are a classic holiday treat in my family. They are a little more work than most bars, but are well worth it. The name, as far as I have found out, comes from Nanaimo, British Columbia, which is across the bay from Vancouver and is where they were created.
They're really not tricky--the hardest part, actually, is cutting them without breaking the chocolate layer on top.

Here's what you do:

In a double boiler over medium/low heat, combine:
1 stick butter
1 egg, beaten slightly
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. cocoa
1 tsp. vanilla
Whisk constantly until it's all combined and starts to get hot and thicken slightly.
Once hot, remove from the heat and add:
2 c. graham cracker crumbs
4 oz. coconut (about 1 cup)
1/4 c. chopped pecans or hazelnuts
Stir until well combined and press into the bottom of an 8x8 pan (don't use nonstick because you're going to need a sharp knife to cut them).
Place in the fridge until you're ready with the next layer.
In a large mixing bowl, mix:
3 tbsp. milk
3 tbsp. instant vanilla pudding
then add:
1 stick butter, softened, but not melted
2 c. powdered sugar,
and beat until well combined.
Spread the butter mixture over the bottom layer and make it as smooth as you can. Return the pan to the fridge and let it chill for a while before adding the next layer.
Melt 6 oz. of semi-sweet chocolate chips over a double boiler or in the microwave and pour the chocolat over the butter layer. Smooth it out gently, being careful not to pull the butter layer up into the chocolate.
Return it to the fridge and let the chocolate set.
Once the chocolate is firm, but before it gets really hard, cut them into small rectangles (as you might have guessed, they're pretty rich so small is preferable). I find it works best to score them first, then cut them by putting the point of the knife all the way to the bottom of the pan, then pulling it across the pan (as opposed to pushing down with the knife which squishes the filling out).
You should definitley try these. They will make your days merry and bright.


Christina said...

I love nanaimo bars - you can buy them in any bakery in Cananda - they also have mixes for them at the grocery store.

When I have made them before I used bird's custard powder instead of the instant pudding. My sister has told me you can find it at grocery stores everywhere. I know it's widely available in Canada, but I haven't looked since we've moved back.

Thanks for the recipe. Yum!

Joan said...

These are such a family classic and I LOVE them. I am the queen of rich food and these top the list of RIICCHHH! Man o man are they a worthwhile calorie fest. THANK YOU for the recipe. I do not have it myself (my Mum does of course)..but it is nice to have access to it online now. I LOVE you, Tay! Merry Christmas.

Shapiro said...

How funny! I was in your ward (BYU 195th) - we were in the same FHE group and you, Sarah, and I used to tawlk in funny accents each time. I believe we also took a prenatal class together when your wife and I were both pregnant. I just found your site through a friend's and I love all your recipes here! I make ebelskivers every Christmas and Nanaimo bars are my mom's favorite (She's Danish-Canadian!) How funny! Well, I never knew that you were a chef at heart. It's good to hear your spreading that talent around and I'm excited to glean from it!
Catherine (McAllister)