Sunday, March 27, 2011

Nanaimo, Oh My!

Until I came across the recipe in my most recent Taste of Home magazine that came in the mail, I had never heard of Nanaimo Bars. But apparently they're Canadian, eh? At least that's what the recipe description said.

According to Wikipedia (which is a quick, if not trustworthy, source whenever I need to know the origin of a food), the Nanaimo Bar comes from the west coast city of Nanaimo, British Columbia, and is popular in North America. Typically, it has a crumb layer, a butter icing layer, and a chocolate layer. Sounds yummy, right? They seem to be especially popular in New York City and also appear on Australian menus! So I'm dedicating this recipe to my Aussie chef boyfriend, Curtis Stone :)

Nanaimo Bars
For Crust:
1 cup butter
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 cups shredded coconut

For Filling:
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons instant vanilla pudding mix
2 cups confectioners' sugar

For Topping:
8 oz. semisweet chocolate
1 tablespoon butter

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter, chocolate and sugar. Stir until well-blended and sugar is completely dissolved. Add a small amount of chocolate mixture to beaten eggs and whisk. Add entire egg mixture to chocolate mixture, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Combine graham crackers and coconut. Pour chocolate mixture over graham cracker-coconut mixture and stir to combine. Press into an even layer in the bottom of a greased 9x11-inch pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until set.

Beat butter, milk and vanilla pudding mix. Slowly beat in confectioners' sugar until well-combined. Spread over crust in an even layer.

Melt chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl, stirring every 20 or 30 seconds until smooth. Drizzle over icing layer. Refrigerate and serve.

The one problem I had (which I have often) is melting the chocolate for the drizzle in the microwave. I'm not sure what my problem is, but I always end up with a strange consistency. This time I think I just nuked the chocolate a bit too long, so I nixed the drizzle and grated dark chocolate over the bars instead ... which was probably a good move because these bars were oh-so-sweet!

Don't get me wrong, they were outrageously delicious, but I think my teeth hurt a little bit. A layer of ganache on top of the chocolate-y, coconut-y crumb crust and uber-sweet vanilla butter icing might have been taking it a bit too far. Nonetheless, I'm really happy with how they turned out and I'll be having one for breakfast :)


  1. I meant to make these over Christmas but never got around to it! There were a bunch of recipes I found that had different variations for the icing-- eggnog, peanut butter, etc. The super rich sweetness of this immediately appeals to me, and it seems really easy to make. Maybe I won't wait until next Christmas to attempt these.

    It's hard to think of food that is distinctly Canadian. There's these, and poutine. I can't think of anything else!

  2. I saw recipes with a few flavor variations and I totally want to make the peanut butter ones! You should make a different variety soon and let me know how they turn out :)