Saturday, 18 August 2012

Nanaimo Bars!

If you've read any of my posts you can probably tell that I'm really not in to baking all that much and the reason being ... you have to follow the recipe!  I tend to see recipes as guides not something to strictly ahered to, except of course when I make bread, for some reason known only to me.  My most favourite sweet treat are Nanaimo Bars.  I will knock people out of the way to get to the last one and if served at a buffet I always put one on my plate before I get my entree.   I don't know what it is about them but they are definitely my favourite. 

Growing up desserts were not the norm except on holidays and Sunday dinner if we had company and it was usually pie with a slice of cheddar cheese.  Christmas however was full of baking and special treats made by our Mum and then later by all of us.  I thought it was about time I made these delicious, oh so good but not so good for you, except maybe for your spirit, treats.  When I was in Nanaimo, British Columbia a few years ago I actually had the biggest bar ever from the town bakery.  It truly did not disappoint so when looking for a recipe I went to the source. In 1986 the town held a contest to see which was the most authentic recipe and the winner was Joyce Hardcastle.  Here is her recipe - truly a winner!

Bottom Layer
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
5 tbsp. cocoa
1 egg beaten
1 1/4 cups graham wafer crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
1 cup coconut
Melt first 3 ingredients in top of double boiler.  Add egg and stir to cook and thicken.  Remove from heat.  Stir in crumbs, coconut, and nuts.  Press firmly into an ungreased 8 inch x 8 inch pan.

Middle Layer
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 tbsp. and 2 tsp. cream
2 tbsp. vanilla custard powder
2 cups icing sugar

Cream butter, cream, custard powder and icing sugar together well.  Beat until light.  Spread over bottom layer.

Top Layer
4 squares semi-sweet chocolate (1 oz. each)
2 tbsp. unsalted butter

Melt chocolate and butter over low heat.  Cool.  Once cool, but still liquid, pour over second layer and chill in refrigerator.

Okay, I didn't follow the recipe exactly.  You didn't expect me to did you?  I had almond slices and was to lazy to chop them up so I crumbled them up in their bag and added them as they were.  I also used a left over dark chocolate bar from Paris that our Mum had brought for us instead of the semi-sweet chocolate it called for.  They actually taste better after being in the fridge over night but you know I didn't wait that long to try them :)  I have surprised myself and there are a few pieces left in the fridge still - don't come looking for some tomorrow though!

What's your special treat?

Eat well!


  1. I was raised in Nanaimo! They are still a treat.

    1. It's probably a very good thing that I don't live in Nanaimo! It would be way too tempting - Nanaimo bars everywhere! Heaven! A beautiful part of Canada, you are so lucky!