Nanaimo Bars

Last week, many Daring Bakers published posts featuring the Canadian treat Nanaimo Bars. Contrary to what you may think, this post does not qualify for participation. Why on earth not? Well, I didn’t make my own graham crackers, and that, dear friends, was last month’s Daring Bakers’ challenge.

I made these bars to welcome the upcoming Winter Olympics to Canadia, a place I don’t know too much about. Canadian things I love include maple syrup, Japadog, and these bars. Nanaimo Bars have an American cousin that sometimes goes by the name Magic Cookie Bar, and other times Seven Layer Bar. I’ve been making those since high school, but I find the Canadian version more sophisticated, so I might forever replace Magic Cookie Bars with Nanaimo Bars.

This is an easy no-bake recipe filled with rich and sweet ingredients; I just don’t know who wouldn’t like them. If you have tree nut allergies, please omit the almonds and increase the coconut/graham cracker crumb amount. Give them a try, eh?

Nanaimo Bars
adapted from The City of Nanaimo

Bottom Layer Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 large egg, beaten
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
1 cup shredded coconut (can be sweetened or unsweetened)

Middle Layer Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons vanilla pudding mix
2 cups confectioners sugar

Top Layer Ingredients:
4 ounces dark chocolate
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions:
1. Making the bottom layer: Melt unsalted butter, sugar and cocoa in top of a double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, nuts and coconut. Press firmly into an ungreased 9 by 13 inch pan.
2. Making the middle layer: Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light in colour. Spread over bottom layer.
3. Making the top layer: Melt chocolate and unsalted butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, pour over middle layer and chill.
4. Once chilled, cut bars into 2 inch squares or diamonds. Bars freeze well; keep leftover portions in freezer for later use.

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