Saturday, April 28, 2012

Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo bars are a sweet, no-bake treat that happen to be 100% Canadian! They are made up of three decadent layers: first there is a chocolate, graham cracker, and coconut base,  then a creamy, buttery vanilla filling, and finally it's all topped off with melted chocolate. 


Layer 1:
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup white sugar
5 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1 egg, beaten
1 and 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup shredded coconut

Layer 2:
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3 Tbsp. heavy cream or 2% milk
2 Tbsp. instant vanilla pudding powder
2 cups icing sugar

Layer 3:
4 oz. semisweet chocolate
1 Tbsp. butter


Line an 8x8" or 9x9" square baking pan with parchment paper or tin foil, so that the paper or foil comes up all 4 sides. Set aside.

In a double boiler, combine the butter, white sugar, and cocoa powder and stir until they are melted and smooth. To make a double boiler, fill a medium-sized pot halfway with water and put over medium heat on the stove. Place your ingredients in a small-medium heatproof bowl that fits over the pot, then place it on top of the pot, making sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. The steam from the boiling water will gently heat your ingredients to melt them together slowly, so they won't burn.

In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg. Then, slowly whisk the egg into the melted double boiler mixture with a wire whisk. Don't add it all at once or you will end up scrambling your egg, just slowly pour it in, whisking constantly. Continue whisking until fully incorporated and the chocolate mixture is thick.

Remove from heat and mix in the graham crumbs and coconut. Firmly press the first layer down into the prepared baking pan, making sure that it is evenly distributed across the pan.

For the second layer, cream together the butter, cream/milk, and vanilla pudding powder with an electric mixer, until light and fluffy. Add in the icing sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing until smooth. Evenly spread over the bottom layer with an angled spatula or knife. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator until the middle layer has set, about 30-60 minutes.

Once the middle layer has set, melt the chocolate and butter together in another double boiler or in the microwave. Make sure to watch it carefully so the chocolate doesn't burn. Evenly spread the melted chocolate over the middle layer with an angled spatula or knife. Cover with plastic wrap and place the bars back in the fridge to chill until the chocolate is no longer melted but not completely hardened, about half an hour.

Before the chocolate completely hardens, score the bars into squares. (Note: I know from personal experience that if you let the chocolate completely harden you will have a terrible time trying to cut the bars. The chocolate layer just ends up cracking and making a mess and the bars do not look pretty! Just let the chocolate get a little firm and then gently make cuts through the chocolate layer with a sharp knife) Once the bars have completely set after being refrigerated, lift from the pan using the parchment paper and cut into squares. These are very sweet so you can get away with cutting very small squares. Wipe off your cutting knife frequently so that you get clean cuts and don't smear the layers into one another. Store bars in an airtight container in the fridge, or freeze for longer storage.

*Recipe adapted from I Adore Food!

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