nanaimo bar recipeIt is Thanksgiving Day, and I am sitting at my kitchen table writing about Christmas cookies.  What is wrong with this picture?  Since I enlisted the help of my guests, this Thanksgiving has been a breeze.  My first two turkeys are resting, the gravy is made and waiting to be reheated, the cranberries are done, the rolls are rising, and the tart is waiting patiently to be eaten.  My house is even clean!  I actually have time to catch up and add my Week 9 of Christmas post.

When we lived in Canada, I fell in love with Nanaimo Bars.  Canadians are amazing bakers.  They are something I have only ever seen in Canada, and when one is made well, it is heaven.  I prefer the traditional version like this one, but have seen various flavors, like peanut butter and mint.  A Nanaimo Bar is 3 layer bar, the bottom being a crust of walnuts, coconut, and chocolate.  The middle layer is a buttercream variation, and the top a thin layer of chocolate.  In the US, we call this a bar cookie, but in Canada, they call it a square.  Whatever you want to call it is fine with me, but I am calling it delicious.

*This recipe calls for custard powder.  I found mine in the ethnic foods aisle, with the British food, but you can order Bird’s custard powder online.*  

nanaimo bar recipe

Crust:

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 Tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Middle Layer:

2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup room temperature butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 Tablespoons custard powder

Chocolate layer:

3 ounces chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter

nanaimo bar recipeStart with the crust.  Melt together the butter, brown sugar, and cocoa.

nanaimo bar recipeI did mine over a double boiler, but if I had a microwave, I probably would have done it that way.

nanaimo bar recipeBeat the egg, and quickly whisk it into the hot chocolate mixture.  You need to add the egg slowly and keep the whisk moving, otherwise you will have scrambled eggs.  Not good.

nanaimo bar recipeMix in the graham crackers, coconut, and walnuts.

nanaimo bar recipePress the crust into an 8×8 pan that has been lined with parchment.  Put the crust into the fridge to chill for a half hour.

nanaimo bar recipeMake the buttercream layer, but creaming together the powdered sugar, butter, and custard powder.  Add the cream slowly, and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

nanaimo bar recipeSpread the cream layer evenly over the crust.  Back in the fridge for another half hour or so.

nanaimo bar recipeMelt together the butter and chocolate (either a double boiler or microwave) and pour over the chilled cream layer.

nanaimo bar recipeBack in the fridge to set up.

nanaimo bar recipeCut into small squares (they are really rich) and keep in the fridge.  My Canadian daughter loves these.  She must know that they are part of her heritage.  This recipe was adapted from The Marion House Book.

Nanaimo Bars [Week 9 of 12 Weeks of Christmas]
 
Ingredients
  • Crust:
  • ½ cup butter
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup coconut
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • Middle Layer:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup room temperature butter
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons custard powder
  • Chocolate layer:
  • 3 ounces chocolate chips
  • ¼ butter
Instructions
  1. Start with the crust. Melt together the butter, brown sugar, and cocoa.
  2. I did mine over a double boiler, but if I had a microwave, I probably would have done it that way.
  3. Beat the egg, and quickly whisk it into the hot chocolate mixture. You need to add the egg slowly and keep the whisk moving, otherwise you will have scrambled eggs. Not good.
  4. Mix in the graham crackers, coconut, and walnuts.
  5. Press the crust into an 8×8 pan that has been lined with parchment. Put the crust into the fridge to chill for a half hour.
  6. Make the buttercream layer, but creaming together the powdered sugar, butter, and custard powder. Add the cream slowly, and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  7. Spread the cream layer evenly over the crust. Back in the fridge for another half hour or so.
  8. Melt together the butter and chocolate (either a double boiler or microwave) and pour over the chilled cream layer.
  9. Back in the fridge to set up.
  10. Cut into small squares (they are really rich) and keep in the fridge.