Traditional Nanaimo Bars

INGREDIENTS:

Bottom Layer
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 ½  cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup pecans, finely chopped
Middle Layer
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons half & half or heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons Custard Powder
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
Top Layer
  • 1 cup semi-sweet-chocolate chips (or, even better, about 22 Dove Dark Chocolate Promises)
  • 1 tablespoon Crisco or vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped white or milk chocolate, melted

METHOD:

  1. Line the bottom of a 9 X 9-inch pan (glass or metal) with parchment paper or non-stick foil.
  2. Bottom Layer:  In a 150° oven, toast coconut and chopped pecans until golden brown and fragrant, stirring occasionally. (This toasting is optional, and not necessarily traditional, but I like it.)   Remove from oven and set aside.  In the top of a double boiler, melt ½ cup butter and  cocoa and sugar. Whisk to combine.  Whisk in the beaten egg.  Whisk until thickened, and then remove at once from heat.  Fold in the cracker crumbs, coconut, and pecans.  Press into prepared pan.  Put in refrigerator while you prepare the next layer.
  3. Middle Layer:  In a large mixing bowl, cream together ½ cup softened butter, half & half, and custard powder.  Fold in the powdered sugar.  Beat until very light.  Spread evenly on top of the first layer.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Put in refrigerator again for an hour or so, until middle layer is firm.
  4. Top Layer:  In a double boiler melt the chocolate chips and Crisco or vegetable oil. The chocolate may melt the middle layer if it’s too hot, so you might want to let it cool for a little bit.  Pour onto second layer and spread evenly.  Drizzle white or milk chocolate over the top for decoration.*(method explained below)  Let set in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes and then cut.  (This keeps the chocolate from cracking when you cut it.)  Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.
Note: Be sure to remove any foil or parchment paper that may have stuck to the bottom of individual bars.
VERSION 2

INGREDIENTS:
Bottom Layer
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1/2 cup Ghirardelli Ground Chocolate (or ¼ cup cocoa powder and ¼ cup white sugar)
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 ½  cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup pecans, finely chopped
Middle Layer
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons half & half
  • 2 tablespoons powdered vanilla pudding mix(of the instant variety)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
Top Layer
  • 1 cup semi-sweet-chocolate chips (or, even better, about 22 Dove Dark Chocolate Promises)
  • 1 tablespoon Crisco or vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped white or milk chocolate, melted

METHOD:

  1. Line the bottom of a 9 X 9-inch pan (glass or metal) with parchment paper or non-stick foil.
  2. Bottom Layer:  In a 150° oven, toast coconut and chopped pecans until golden brown and fragrant, stirring occasionally.   Remove from oven and set aside.  In the top of a double boiler, melt ½ cup butter and Ghirardelli Ground Chocolate (or cocoa and sugar). Whisk to combine.  Whisk in the beaten egg.  Whisk until thickened, and then remove at once from heat.  Fold in the graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and pecans.  Press into prepared pan.  Put in refrigerator while you prepare the next layer.
  3. Middle Layer:  In a large mixing bowl, cream together ½ cup softened butter, half & half, and pudding mix.  Fold in the powdered sugar.  Beat until very light.  Spread evenly on top of the first layer.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Put in refrigerator again for an hour or so, until middle layer is firm.
  4. Top Layer:  In a double boiler melt the chocolate chips and Crisco or vegetable oil. The chocolate may melt the middle layer if it’s too hot, so you might want to let it cool for a little bit.  Pour onto second layer and spread evenly.  Drizzle white or milk chocolate over the top for decoration.*(method below)  Let set in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes and then cut.  (This keeps the chocolate from cracking when you cut it.)  Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.
Note: Be sure to remove any foil or parchment paper that may have stuck to the bottom of individual bars.

How to Make Those Feathery Lines on Nanaimo Bars

  1. Make a wax paper or parchment paper pastry cone (http://on.aol.com/video/how-to-fold-a-parchment-cone-264593972)                   
  2. Melt your chocolate in a double boiler.  Don’t let the term “double boiler” freak you out if you’ve never used one.  I use a medium size pot half-filled with water, and then I place a metal bowl on top.  That’s it.
  3. Get the rest of your materials ready because once you get the chocolate melted, you want to be ready to spread the chocolate, make your white chocolate lines, and then drag the toothpick through.
    Before you put on the top chocolate layer, melt a small amount (2-3 teaspoons) of white or milk chocolate (I also add a few drops of canola oil).  Scrape melted white/milk chocolate into pastry cone that’s resting inside an empty glass or cup to keep it from spilling.

    Everything’s ready to go.  Melted white chocolate is in pastry cone with top folded/rolled down.
  4. Once you’ve spread the melted dark chocolate on top, snip off about 1/8 of an inch from the tip of the pastry cone.
    White chocolate filled pastry cone with tip snipped, ready to go.
  5. Pipe parallel lines about 1/4 to 1/2 inch apart on top of chocolate.  I don’t even make exact lines, I just sort of zig-zag.  If you get stray drips of white chocolate on the dark, that’s okay, they’ll add character to your finished product.
  6. ake a toothpick and run it back and forth every 1/4 to 1/2 inch perpendicular to the lines you’ve piped.  You don’t have to be too careful because it will turn out beautiful even if it’s not “perfect.”
    Four o’clock in the afternoon wasn’t the best time to photograph this, but hopefully you get the idea.
  • Be sure to refrigerate for about 10 minutes, or until chocolate is JUST set, and then cut.  If you cut before the chocolate is set, it won’t be “cut.”  If you cut after the chocolate is hard, you’ll end up with ugly crackage.  Nobody wants that if they can avoid it.
    This chocolate is not set.  Not ready to be cut.
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2 thoughts on “Traditional Nanaimo Bars

  1. Love the Nanaimo Bars! The best one I had in downtown Vancouver in a little French style caffee. Thank you for the recipe I am so trying it!

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