Sunday, February 19, 2012

Nanaimo Bars

The good thing about ice cream, is that it can be made in advance, and pulled out the day it's needed.  So that part of my sis' birthday gift was done, and safely tucked into my freezer to wait for its debut.  But the second part, the Nanaimo bars, was kind of risky.  It's a recipe I'd never made before, it was due for a birthday (I hate to disappoint!), and based only on the commercial ones I've had -- I don't like the recipe I'd been asked to make.  That, in my mind, makes it risky.

As damage-control, I decided to go to the source: the City of Nanaimo, British Columbia.  From the website, I got the official Nanaimo bar recipe.  It was a prize-winning recipe, so it's got to be good, right?  For a little more assurance, I gave the recipe a test run, the weekend ahead of time, so that if it was a total bust, I'd have time to find another treat for my sister. 

What do you know?  The homemade, non-commercial version of Nanaimo bars is good.  Who knew?  I might even make these, just to be doubly-sure.  I even got a trip to the new giant Ikea in search of a 'real' double-boiler, instead of the bowl-in-a-bowl trick I normally use.  I found an $8 double-boiler insert to simplify my life, and a new yummy recipe to add to my repertoire.  Hmm... whose birthday was this again?!

Nanaimo Bars
Makes: approximately 16 squares

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 (or ground) almonds
1 cup unsweetened coconut

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

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

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" x 8" pan.
 Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light. Spread over bottom layer.
 Melt chocolate and butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, but still liquid, pour over second layer and chill in refrigerator.
 How yummy does that look?!

Source: City of Nanaimo, British Columbia website.

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