Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo BarsFor the mint version of this dessert, add some mint extract and green food colouring to the middle layer. This recipe will make about 32 bars.

Ingredients:

Bottom Layer:
1 cup butter, softened
½ cup white sugar
⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 eggs, beaten
3 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
2 cups flaked coconut
1 cup finely chopped almonds (optional)

Middle Layer:
1 cup butter, softened
½ cup plus 2 teaspoons heavy cream
¼ cup custard powder (if you can’t find this, use vanilla pudding mix)
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon mint extract (for mint flavoured option)
2-3 drops green food colouring (for mint flavoured option)

Top Layer:
8 (1 ounce) squares semisweet baking chocolate
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon butter

Directions:

For the bottom layer:
In the top of a double boiler, combine 1cup butter, white sugar and cocoa powder. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth. In a small bowl, beat the 2 eggs until they are well combined. While constantly mixing, add a small amount of the cocoa mixture to the egg mixture so that the eggs can come up to temperature. Slowly add the egg mixture to the main cocoa mixture, until both are combined. Make sure to whisk the entire time so that the eggs do not cook and curdle. The mixture will thicken up, after about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove it from the heat and mix in the graham cracker crumbs, coconut and almonds (if you like). Press into the bottom of an un-greased 9×13 inch pan.

For the middle layer:
Cream together 1 cup butter, heavy cream and custard powder (pudding mix), and if using, the mint extract and food colouring, until light and fluffy. Mix in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Spread over the bottom layer in the pan. Chill to set.

For the top layer:
While the second layer is chilling, melt the semisweet chocolate and 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon butter together in the microwave or over low heat. Spread over the chilled bars. Return to the refrigerator to let the chocolate set before cutting into squares.

Dessert Bars! All Ages Allowed!

Dessert BarSo two brownies walked into a bar… ouch! What? You haven’t heard that one before? That’s right, it’s bar week…. dessert bar week that is (sorry… maybe one week I will do drinks. Hey, how about I do drinks one week? Good idea!) So this week is all about dessert bars… not cookies and not cakes, but 2 to 3 bite wonderful bars sent from Heaven to torment us with these horrible things call calories.. Wow.. I’m in a weird mood today, sorry.

Back to the desserts. So these are all going to be hand hold-able sweets that will hit the spot. Seeing as how it is so cold out, and I am Canadian… let’s start out with Nanaimo Bars. The exact origin of the bar is unknown, though it is attributed to Nanaimo, British Columbia. The earliest confirmed printed copy of the recipe using the name “Nanaimo Bars” appears in the Edith Adams’ prize cookbook from 1953. A copy of the book is on view at the Nanaimo museum.

Other unconfirmed references date the bars back to the 1930s, when it was said to be known locally as “chocolate fridge cake”. Some New Yorkers claim the recipe originated in New York and refer to them as “New York Slices”. However, Tim Hortons coffee shops, a Canadian chain, sell them in New York as “Nanaimo bars”. One modern reference even refers to the bars’ existing in nineteenth century Nanaimo. Well, whatever they’re called, and wherever they originated, they are a yummy no-bake layered dessert bar that tends to have 2 main variations: original and mint. I’m going to be giving you the original version, plus the additions needed if you wish to go minty!