Can you identify this famous bar?
I first ate these, oddly enough, at a local restaurant. Josh and I were newly married (pre-Muffin), and were making a rare splurge out to eat. This is the same restaurant known for its tomato-basil soup (that…well…if you remember from the post…it definitely isn’t Le Mad’s), but they have a big to-go refrigerated case.
I had heard Josh mention (quite a few times) Nanaimo bars. I had heard them mentioned in Corner Gas (well…Nanaimo-style Saskatchewan Bars).
I had never seen them before. And I had never tasted them before.
I should note that, just as with the tomato-basil soup, this restaurant didn’t quite corner the market on Nanaimo Bars. They were missing something…namely custard powder, I believe.
They were good…just not what I now know to be more Nanaimo-like…Nanaimo-esque?
So, I went on the hunt. The site that was still then Recipezaar (now Food.com) had a large Canadian contingent. Someone on there had to have a good Nanaimo Bar recipe.
After a few misses, I located it: Kittencal’s Best Nanaimo Bars (No Bake). I do make some alterations. But, for the most part, I keep the recipe as pure as I can make it.
Adapted from Food.com
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
5 tablespoons cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1 egg, beaten
1 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (I actually purchased crumbs specifically for this)
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (Her recipe calls for almonds)
1 cup finely chopped (“fancy” shredded) coconut
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 scant tablespoons whipping cream
2 tablespoons vanilla custard powder (I use Bird’s brand which my sister recently informed me is available at Cost Plus World Market)
2 cups confectioner’s sugar (icing sugar to some)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon whipping cream (She says optional. I think it’s completely necessary)
For bottom layer: On low heat in a saucepan, melt the first three ingredients, remove from heat. Let the saucepan cool for a few minutes. Stir in egg to combine and thicken (I’ve not let the mixture cool and had chocolate-flavored scrambled egg before). Stir in remaining bottom layer ingredients.
Press firmly into prepared ungreased 8×8-inch square Pyrex pan. The mixture will be crumbly but will appear to become a solid layer once tamped down.
For the middle layer: cream the middle layer ingredients. I used my Kitchen Aid for the first time on this attempt and it creates a smoother product than a hand mixer.
Spread over bottom layer. Refrigerate 10-15 minutes while preparing the top layer.
For the top layer: microwave chips, cream, and butter for one minute. Slowly stir or whisk together until the consistency of slightly thick chocolate syrup.
Pour evenly over the middle layer, smoothing out with a spoon, a spoonula, a spatula, or a knife if necessary.
Refrigerate 1 hour before cutting.
The recipe says it makes 16 (which would be 2×2 bars). I would recommend much smaller squares because at over half a pound of butter, they are very rich.
This recipe is completely Muffin Approved (and the only dessert that I prepped for Thanksgiving that my mom or I would eat).