Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Ultimate Nanaimo Bars


We are visiting Claire and Elie in Boston and Claire made these delicious Nanaimo bars. She got the recipe from Nanaimo, B.C. from a tourist magazine on a recent trip out west. They stopped in the town on the way back from Eli's family cottage in Hornby. As she says, "You Ontarians probably don't even know that Nanaimo is a real place!!" I did know it existed but I hadn't made the association with this dessert. The tourist magazine said the bar originated in Ladysmith, a town just south of Nanaimo. The recipe was submitted to a cookbook sold in the early 1950's as a fundraiser. These bars are not baked. They are a great treat!!

Bottom layer:

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
5 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg, beaten
1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
1 cup shredded coconut

Melt first 3 ingredients in top of double boiler.  Add beaten egg and stir until thickened.  Remove pan from heat. Stir in crumbs, coconut and almonds.  Press firmly into an ungreased 8-inch by 8-inch pan.

Middle layer:

1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cream
2 tablespoons 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 baking chocolate (1 ounce each)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Melt chocolate and butter together over low heat.  Cool slightly.  When cool but still liquid, pour mixture over second layer and refrigerate to chill.  Cut into squares and serve.

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