Na. Naim. O. Bars.
It can be tricky to say. After introducing these bars to my friends, I typically get a "whatttt?", and once, I even got a "neiiighhhh?". Yes, horse noises.
Fortunately, I have been saying these two words (over and over, every year) ever since I've been able to talk, so it's pretty easy for me. Nanaimo bars are sort of the most important thing in my family. A Christmas is NOT complete without Nanaimo bars. They are, and this I promise you, the most delicious things that I have ever tasted. Ever.
My mom has been making these since forever. I won't be seeing her until AFTER Christmas, and therefore I won't be having Nanaimo bars from her at Christmastime. I can't go one full year without these little guys. It would just be bad karma.
Thus, I requested the recipe and gave it my all. Needless to say, there must be some serious tacit knowledge in perfecting the Nanaimo... mine aren't even comparable to my mom's, but, they hit the spot until I can have the real thing.
Nanaimo bars - What you need:
Part 1: the base
- 1/2 cup butter or margarine
- 5 tablespoons of cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 2 cups of graham cracker crumbs (store bought, or these ones: (http://bakecetera.com/graham-crackers/)
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans, or your choice of nut
- 1 egg, whisked
Part 2: the filling
- 60 grams (4 tablespoons) butter or margarine
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1 heaping teaspoon of Bird's Eye custard powder
- 2 cups confectioner's sugar
Part 3: the chocolate top
- 115 grams semi-sweet chocolate
- 30 grams (2 tablespoons) butter or margarine
Nanaimo bars - What you do:
In a large bowl, mix together the coconut, graham cracker crumbs, and chopped pecans. Set aside.
Melt the butter over a double boiler. Add the cocoa powder and the sugar. Mix well. Add the whisked egg slowly, while whisking constantly, and stir until smooth.
Add the butter-cocoa mixture to the coconut mixture and combine well.
Put the mixture into a pan (I used a 20 cm by 30 cm, or 8 in by 12 in pan). Pat the mixture down firmly and evenly. Allow the mixture to sit in the fridge for 3 - 4 hours.
Cream together all of the ingredients until smooth and fluffy. Spoon the filling mixture evenly over the base layer.
Allow the 2nd layer to rest in the fridge for 3 -4 hours.
Melt the butter and chocolate together. You can either do this on a double boiler or in the microwave (I used a microwave).
Pour the chocolate over the filling layer of the Nanaimo bars and spread the chocolate evenly.
Again, and for the final time, allow the Nanaimo bars to sit in the fridge for 2 hours.
Before cutting the Nanaimo bars, allow them to sit out at room temperature for 15 - 30 minutes so the chocolate doesn't crack. Cut the bars into even squares. These store well in the fridge or freezer. My mom easily ships them across the ocean, so I'm assuming that they stay well for at least a few weeks in the fridge. Although, don't worry, they won't last that long!
Ok, let's do a close up of those freshly cut layers. It's love at first sight!
One more time?
These ones lasted about 0.5 seconds.
Baking soundtrack - Tunes to inspire your inner baker:
Fanfarlo - Shiny Things: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26_J5vaoXVU
Fanfarlo - Tightrope: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEQHF1sPHr8
Oh, gosh, and P.S.: the reason why these are "THE BEST" Nanaimo bars in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD, is because, well, they really are. I've tasted some Nanaimoes that weren't home made, and they were, for lack of a better word, gross. You should really try to make your own if you haven't liked the store-bought versions! COMPLETELY different.