WARNING: These are not healthy, not quick, and totally addictive! With that said I just could not resist making these delicious treats for the holidays because they are a Canadian original and my grandmother always made them for us at this time of year.
Nanaimo bars are named after the town, Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Although it’s creator is unknown, it seems the recipe first appeared in some publications in that area. Since that time there have been many variations created using peanut butter, mint and even cherries but this is the original recipe – utterly decadent with chocolate, custard flavoured butter icing, coconut and more chocolate.
I took some of these down to my American cousins in Michigan this year and most of them had forgotten about them. I think these are available in some places in the US but most Americans that I know haven’t heard of them. (Except my friend, Linda, from LifeandLinda who must have come up here on a secret spy mission to steal our dessert!)
I know I’ve veered completely off course with these rich treats but I couldn’t resist and besides, Santa must be getting tired of cookies. Happy Holidays, Everyone.
- 1 cup Graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 tablespoons custard powder
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups icing sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 tablespoon butter
- In a large bowl, combine Graham cracker crumbs, coconut, walnuts, cocoa powder, sugar and egg. Mix well.
- Press mixture into square 9″ cake pan lined with parchment paper. Bake @ 350 F for 10 minutes until firm. Let cool on rack.
- Filling: In a bowl, combine butter, custard powder and vanilla. Beat in icing sugar alternately with milk until creamy. It should be easily spreadable, so you can add up to 1 more teaspoon of milk if necessary. Spread over the cooled crumb mixture and refrigerate for one hour.
- Topping: In a small, heatproof bowl, melt chocolate and butter over a pot of hot (not boiling) water. Spread over filling and refrigerate again for 30 minutes until almost set.
- With a warm knife cut into small squares and refrigerate for one hour. Makes approximately 18 pieces.