19 December 2011

Recipe: Nanaimo Bar

Nanaimo Bar isn't exactly a traditional Christmas treat, but it is a traditional Canadian treat, and as an expat, I have a perfect excuse to indulge such cravings. It's also made in easy stages, which is a plus with a small one around. I'm not sure I'll have time to make rolled and cut cookies this year as they're pretty time consuming.

Nanaimo Bar

I had to substitute "volkoren" biscuits (wholewheat digestive biscuits) for the graham crackers, but they're nearly the same. If you wanted to make it more Christmas-y, add some crushed up peppermint candy canes to the bottom layer in place of part of the nuts/crumbs and add a couple drops of peppermint essence to the icing layer.

Bottom Layer
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
2 oz semi-sweet chocolate
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla (optional)

Melt the butter, sugar, and chocolate in a double-boiler. Then stir in the egg and vanilla and remove from the heat.

2-1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (or whole-wheat digestives)
1 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts (replace with more crumbs if you have a nut allergy)
optional: replace some of the nuts/crumbs with smashed up hard peppermint candy.

I use the blender to make the crumbs and chopped nuts. You don't want it completely powder, but avoid big pieces or the bottom layer will not have structural integrity when you cut it into squares.

Pack this mixture into a 9x9" pan (I used a 20x30cm pan, which was a little large and required extra for the middle and top layers). Refrigerate for 2 or more hours, until it's solid.

Nanaimo Bar

Middle Layer
1/4 c butter (absolutely NOT margarine)
2 cups icing (powdered) sugar
2 tsp vanilla
3 Tbsp milk
optional: a few drops peppermint essence

Beat these together until smooth. Spread on the crumb layer and refrigerate another 30-60 minutes until the icing is firm.

Top Layer
4 oz chocolate (bitter plus semi-sweet to taste)
1 Tbsp butter

Spread the melted chocolate on the chilled icing layer (try to do it pretty quickly or the icing will go all melty). I make this layer more bitter than I would like on its own in order to balance out the sweet icing layer.

Refrigerate it over night, then cut into squares the next day. If you wipe down the edges of the pan and use a knife run under hot water you will get a tidier result than I did. These are dangerously addictive, but very rich. Best served with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee.

For a twist on this, see my Raspberry Variation.

You can find more of my recipes in the Food section, in the tabs along the top.

Nanaimo Bar

Photographs and artwork by Allison Gryski. © All rights reserved.


Susan M, Fibre Arts said... Best Blogger Tips

So did you ever use peppermint extract? Interesting idea.