Sunday, December 4, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Baking! Day 4: Nanaimo Bars

Day 4: Nanaimo Bars

Sweet 'n' creamy 'n' chewy; just like me.
Nanaimo bars, a no-bake layered bar dessert, are quintessentially Canadian and popular hereabouts around Christmas time. If you have insomnia, you can read more about the history of Nanaimo Bars here.

The bars take a lot of ingredients, but they are essentially easy to make. You make the bars in stages, starting with the base. Then, the creamy middle layer is spread over the base. Try not to eat any, I dare you. Finally, melted chocolate is poured over the top. Chill, slice, and inhale.

If these are new to your understanding, please make them and let me know how you liked them! They are a favourite around here, and don't last long.

Nanaimo Bars
Based on a recipe by Deanna Horn
Makes one 9 x 13 inch tray of bars

1 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
10 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup graham cracker crumbs

Middle Layer
1/2 cup butter
4 cups icing sugar, sifted
4 tablespoons vanilla custard powder
6 tablespoons milk

Top Layer
1/2 cup butter
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Prepare Base
In a saucepan on medium heat, melt butter, sugar, cocoa and vanilla together and stir until smooth. Add beaten eggs, stir until combined; remove from heat. Add coconut, almonds and graham cracker crumbs; stir together. Spread mixture onto the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan. Refrigerate. 

Prepare middle layer
In a stand mixer, cream butter until light and fluffy. Add icing sugar and custard powder. Cream together until light and fluffy. Add milk, beat on medium high until fluffy. Spread over base layer. Refrigerate.

Prepare top layer Melt chocolate and butter together, mix until smooth. Pour over middle layer and spread evenly to coat. Refrigerate.
Cut into bars and enjoy.

**Edited to fix the instructions for preparing the base. Thanks, all of you who pointed it out!


Jean said...

There's nothing like real home-made Nanaimo bars. This is very close to my childhood recipe, except that the sugar/butter/egg mixture was first cooked in the top of a doouble boiler, we used walnuts instead of almonds and graham wafer crumbs were also in the crust layer. When times were tough my mother used crushed dry cereal in place of the graham crumbs.

lulu said...

Jean, your comment reminded me that I had forgotten the graham wafer crumbs in the recipe. It is now fixed. Thanks for sharing your version! The bars would be delicious with walnuts, too =)

Sherry Bellamy said...

These look like the real McCoy; but as Jean wrote, I've always cooked the butter/sugar/cocoa mixture, then added the eggs. (Put a bit of the hot mixture into the eggs to temper them, then add back to the pot.) The eggs thicken the mixture pretty much instantly, and that's when you add the crumbs and coconut. (I've started doing half graham wafer and half chocolate crumbs just to bump up the chocolate:)

lulu said...

@Sherry Bellamy: I like your chocolate crumb suggestion! That would taste amazing.

I'm really enjoying hearing all of your versions of Nanaimo Bars! Keep 'em coming! =)