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Monday, December 24, 2012

Nanaimo Bars

Nothing says the holidays like Nanaimo bars. They are rich, creamy, nutty and the perfect after dinner treat. 

Nanaimo bars originated when a housewife submitted the recipe to a cookbook in the early 1950's. The bar was made in Nanaimo at many of the coffee shops and became very popular with tourists, who called it the Nanaimo bar.

How it became a Christmas tradition? I have no idea, but in our household, they always seem to appear around the holidays, when all of our favorite sweet treats find their way to the table. 

Nanaimo Bars
Makes about 3 dozen bars

For the Bottom
1/2 cup Butter
1/4 cup Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1/3 cup Cocoa Powder
1 Large Egg
1 cup Coconut, unsweetened and shredded
1 3/4 cup Graham Cracker Crumbs
1/2 cup Walnuts, chopped

For the Custard
2/3 cup Butter, room temperature
3 tbsp Custard Powder
5 tbsp Milk
2 3/4 cups Icing Sugar, sifted

For the Top
125 grams Semi-Sweet Chocolate, chopped
1 tbsp Butter

Grease a 9 by 13" pan and set aside. (optional: after greasing, I like to line with parchment which comes about a 1/2 inch above the sides of the pan so it is easier to remove the bars and cut them).

To make the bottom, beat the egg in a saucepan. Add the butter, sugar, cocoa, and vanilla to the saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken. Once thickened, remove from heat. Stir in the coconut, graham crumbs and chopped walnuts. Press into the prepared pan and place in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.

To make the custard, cream the room temperature butter, custard powder and milk together. Add the sifted icing sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Spread the custard over the base of the bars. Chill for about 30 minutes until firm.

To make the top, heat the chocolate and butter over a double boiler,, stirring constantly until melted. Or, microwave for 20 seconds at a time, stirring in between each 20 seconds, until the chocolate is smooth and melted. Spread the chocolate over the custard filling. Chill until firm and cut into bars.

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