Nanaimo bars are something that are really common in Canada, especially at Christmas. But here, they’re non existent. They are named after the city of Nanaimo on Vancouver island. I had a couple pot lucks this week which also happens to be finals week for me. I thought I would make a treat from home, and make a couple batches at the same time. I used my Mom’s recipe but I made it an adult version by adding grand marnier.
This recipe is made in layers and it’s really important to chill each layer before adding the next, especially the middle layer, or it will blend into the chocolate. I just pop them into the freezer while I clean up and prep the next later, then pour it on and put it back in the freezer. You can make the original and non alcoholic version by omitting the grand marnier and 1 cup of powdered sugar from the middle layer.
I like to line the casserole dish with tin foil for easy removal. Just make sure you grease it.
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 5 Tbsp cocoa powder
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1 cup coconut
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
Mix the butter, sugar and egg in a double boiler until thick (like a custard).
Combine the other ingredients in a bowl and add the butter mixture. The mixture will seem dry and take some mixing. (Think of the cookie base in a cheese cake).
Once combined, press it into the dish and make it as smooth and even as possible.
I have always used Birds vanilla custard powder. I have never tried it with anything else and this is the only brand I have seen used in this recipe. A similar product could be substituted but I would recommend this one.
- 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
- 3 Tbsp milk
- 2 Tbsp Birds vanilla custard powder
- 3 cups sifted powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup grand marnier
Cream all ingredients until smooth. Spread over the bottom. This is the part where it’s important to freeze it well before adding the top layer.
- 4 squares semi sweet chocolate (Baker’s is best but 4 oz of any semi sweet chocolate will work here)
- 1 Tbsp butter
Melt the chocolate and butter over a double boiler. Make sure you melt the chocolate slowly and stir constantly. Let it cool slightly and spread over the bars. It is easiest to try and pour the chocolate evenly over the bars because it will melt the cream layer and mix it in with the chocolate.
Chill the bars then cut into the desired size. I find that the best way to cut them is to find the magic temperature. If they are too cold, the chocolate will break but if it’s not cold enough, the custard will ooze out. I like to put them in the fridge then let them sit at room temperature for a couple minutes before cutting into them. If the chocolate starts to break, then just let them sit another minute before you continue.
I hope you enjoy these as much as I do. Maybe they will even make it onto your Christmas baking list.