I spent a few hours this weekend, baking and stocking the freezer with Christmas goodies. There is more to do yet, (isn’t there always at this time of year?) but it was a good start.
And there is so much to love about Nanaimo bars. They are no bake, they freeze beautifully, (a little insider tip…they are awesome right out of the freezer) they’re chocolaty, a little nutty, a little custardy, quite easy and Canadian. Oh Canada!
Here we go:
Layer an 8″ x 8″ pan with parchment paper, making sure that you have cut it long enough for a bit of overhang. You could use a 7″ square pan, resulting in bars that are a little thicker, but don’t go any smaller than 7 inches, or larger than 8 inches. Try to use a pan that has relatively straight sides. The parchment overhang will act as handles to help lift the finished bars out of the pan and will make clean up a little easier too. If you don’t have parchment paper, foil will work as well.
In a double boiler, or a bowl fitted over a pan of simmering water, melt butter, sugar and cocoa powder.
Once they are combined, add the beaten egg and stir for a minute to cook. The mixture will thicken quickly.
Remove the mixture from the heat, and add in the Graham Wafer crumbs, chopped almonds and coconut. Stir the mixture until it is all incorporated into the chocolate and press into the bottom of your pan. Helpful tip: run your hands under the tap and shake off the excess before you press in the bottom. Alternately, use the back of a measuring cup to press an even layer.
Cream together the butter, cream, custard powder and icing sugar and continue to beat until they are whipped and lightened in colour. Spread this mixture on top of the bottom layer. Helpful tip: drop “dollops” of the mixture to make distribution easier and avoid disturbing the bottom layer.
Melt semi sweet chocolate and butter together. You can do this in your double boiler, but the easiest way, is to do so in the microwave.
At no higher than half power, microwave the chocolate and butter in short, thirty second bursts. Stir and repeat the process until the chocolate is just melted. If there are some small bits of chocolate that are still firm, simply stir the mixture and they will melt and blend.
Let this mixture cool for about 10 minutes. You want it to be cooler, but still liquid.
Pour it over the top, and spread it out as evenly as possible.
The hard part is over. Now all you have to do is make yourself a cup of tea while you wait for the pan to chill in the refrigerator until set.
Again, using the parchment overhang as handles, lift the chilled square out of the pan and slice.
Last helpful tip: Put the ragged edge cuts out on a plate for your family as a decoy, while you squirrel the rest away in the freezer. Works every time.