Nanaimo bars and the joys of being an honorary Canadian


I have my moments – most moments really – in which I don’t fit into any nationality or country. I spend a lot of time baking stuff that is quintessentially American, but then I’m pretty big on baking stuff like Anzac biscuits (very Australia/NZ) or butter tarts (pretty Canadian). I have been named an honorary Canadian by most of my Canadian friends – I have seen more of Canada than they have, actually. And now, to prove my worthiness, I have mastered the incomparable Nanaimo bar.

If you want a triple poke of fat, creamy goodness, look no further than the Nanaimo bar. Named for a city in British Columbia, Canada, the Nanaimo bar’s origins are a mystery… but no one argues with the taste.

Nanaimo Bar
Fatty goodness in triplicate

The Rich, Thick Bottom
½ cup butter
¼ cup sugar
5 tablesoons unsweetened cocoa
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 ¼ cups graham cracker (or digestive biscuit) crumbs
½ c. finely chopped almonds
1 cup coconut

Melt first butter, sugar and cocoa together in double boiler or pan. Add beaten egg and stir until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, coconut, and nuts. Press firmly into an ungreased 8″ x 8″ pan.

The Creamy Middle
½ cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cream
2 tablespoons vanilla custard powder
2 cups powdered sugar

Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and powdered sugar together very well. Beat until light. Spread over bottom layer.

The Luscious Top
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Melt chocolate and butter over low heat. Cool. When cool but liquid, pour over middle layer and chill in refrigerator.

Once cooled and solid, cut into big slices and eat heartily.

Not one to settle or stop, I went for the full gluttony. I baked the famous white chocolate macadamia cookies, peanut butter sandwich cookies, carrot sandwich cookies, M&M cookies and some chocolate mint cookies. Naturally everyone was overjoyed.

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