I don't have my own picture of Nanaimo Bars at the moment, but I will update when I do, since I'll be making these tomorrow. (For my hubby's birthday. Shhhhh.... it's a surprise!) ETA: okay, these pictures are all my own now. :-)
First, some background. You might be wondering what a Nanaimo Bar is in the first place! And how to say it. It's nuh-NYE-mo. It's generally believed this dessert originated in the city of Nanaimo, British Columbia - and really, how else would it get that name? Wherever the recipe originally came from, Nanaimo has claimed it, and it's a popular dessert all over Canada. As much as I love them, I really didn't know it was one of those Crazy Canuck things until we moved to New Jersey and realized that no one had heard or seen or tasted anything like it. Same thing when we came here to Maryland. Being the only person at a church potluck that has the closely-guarded secret recipe to such a sought-after treat has done wonders for my social climbing ambitions. LOL (You can read more about the origin of the bar at wikipedia if you'd like.)
What it is: chocolatey graham bottom layer, sometimes with coconut or chopped nuts added (I make mine without that because my kids are fuss-budgets about coconut, and I know lots of people that have nut allergies so I just don't mess with it); a rich vanilla custard/icing type middle layer; and chocolate on top. For the middle layer, you'll need vanilla custard powder. There may be other brands, but Bird's Custard Powder is the only one I'm familiar with. If it's not in the baking aisle at your grocery store, try the UK/Europe section of the International Foods Aisle. Unless you're in Canada. Then you'll likely already have some in your pantry, and you've probably stopped reading anyway because you already have a favorite recipe.
|Bird's Custard Powder|
1/2 cup butter (or margarine)
1/4 cup sugar
5 tbsp cocoa
1 egg, beaten
2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
Melt butter, sugar, and cocoa in top of a double boiler (or a heavy saucepan). Add beaten egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat and stir in graham crumbs. You want it to be moist enough to pack firmly and hold together, but not be mushy. Press firmly into an ungreased 9x9 pan.
1/2 cup butter (you can use margarine, but trust me - butter is better)
3 tbsp milk
2 tbsp vanilla custard powder
2 cups icing sugar
Cream butter, milk and custard powder together, then add icing sugar and mix well. Beat until light and creamy. Spread over the bottom layer. I suggest chilling it a bit at this point to help that layer set.
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or 4 squares semisweet baking chocolate)
3 tbsp butter
Melt chocolate and butter together over low heat. Allow it to cool for a bit, but while it's still pourable, spread gently over the second layer. Chill in the fridge for about an hour before serving. Cut into 36 squares with a sharp knife.
Goes great with a cup of coffee! Or a tall glass of milk or eggnog, if you prefer.
This post is linked at Try a New Recipe Tuesday, hosted by Lisa at Home to 4 Kiddos
This post was added to the Throwback Thursday Blog-Style link-up hosted by Tots and Me... Growing Up Together! on November 27, 2015.
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