Nanaimo Bars

Let it be known that the Christmas spirit has found me this week and it’s alive and well! I’ve been making sure to make more time to do the things that I love after an incredibly hard week at work, which includes a whole lot more time spent in the kitchen. In addition to completely finishing my Christmas shopping and wrapping presents, I spent a full day baking cheesecakes, cookies, bars, and experimenting with new things, including the recipe that I have to share with you today!

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I did it! I made Nanaimo bars! And they were surprisingly SO easy. What an exciting way to kick off the week before Christmas than a delicious Nanaimo bar. My dad and I go crazy for these, the custard is our favourite part, but the chocolate is a close second. The mixture of custard cream and chocolate freaks me out a little, but I’ve never questioned it when it comes to a Nanaimo bar. I’ll be making these all year long now that I’ve mastered it.

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One of my least favourite things about store-bought Nanaimo bars is the abundance of nuts in the base layer. The best thing about making them yourself is that you get to control the ingredients. So my Nanaimo bars have no nuts, but you can add your own to suit your taste. There aren’t many other substitutions you can make without ruining the taste of a true Nanaimo bar, but next time I’ll be adding peppermint extract to my custard to put a mint chocolate twist onto this Canadian delicacy.

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There’s been a slight change of plans to my schedule so I actually have another recipe coming at you before Christmas. I have a few ideas up my sleeve and a few friends have asked if I’d like to bake some treats with them before Christmas, so I’ll have lots of photos popping up on my Instagram page over the holidays while The Racket takes a little break for Christmas. In the meantime, let me know what kind of treats you’re leaving for Santa Claus this year! Personally, I always stick with homemade… Maybe this year, you can too!

NANAIMO BARS

Prep time: 20 minutes

Servings: 16 squares

INGREDIENTS:

Bottom layer:

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs

3/4 cup shredded coconut

1 egg

 

Middle layer:

3 cups powdered sugar

3/4 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup custard powder

Top layer:

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

4 tbsp butter

 

DIRECTIONS:

1.  Prepare an 8x8 inch baking dish with parchment paper.

2. For the bottom layer, melt the butter in a pot over medium heat. Whisk in the cocoa powder and sugar. Remove from heat and add the egg, and continue whisking until mixture thickens. Stir in the graham cracker crumbs and coconut.

3. Press the bottom layer into the prepared dish.

4. For the middle layer, with a mixer, cream together the powdered sugar, butter, milk, and custard powder until combined. Spread evenly onto prepared crust.

5. In a pot over low heat, melt chocolate chips and butter. Stir and pour onto custard layer.

6. Chill for 4 hours before serving.