No wonder the Canadians voted this bar their national favorite! Just sink your teeth in the classic Nanaimo bar from Canada and you know why. These pretty little bars have a firm chocolaty base with cookie and almond crumbs, the filling is a soft custardy buttercream and the topping consists of a thick layer of dark chocolate. They are truly irresistible…. if you don’t count the calories.
The bar is named after the city Nanaimo on Vancouver Island on the Westcoast of Canada but it is not clear when or where the cookie originated. The first time the Nanaimo bar was mentioned is in the 1953 edition of Edith Adams Cook Book but similar cookies with other names have been found in earlier cookbooks. I based my recipe on the prizewinning recipe on Nanaimo’s website but did change quite a few things. I used vanilla and more cocoa in the base, made the cookie less sweet and filled it with a thicker layer of slightly firmer custardy buttercream. This is a no-bake cookie but you do need to cool the layers before you add the next so they won’t melt into each other. Nanaimo is so proud of its bar that you can find a map with a Nanaimo bar trail with more than 30 coffeeshops, restaurants and cafés serving the bar on its website. If you are going that way: www.nanaimo.ca/assets/Business/PDFs/NanaimoBarTrail.pdf
Nanaimo bar from Canada
for the base
180 grams (¾ cup) unsalted butter + extra to grease the tin
25 grams (2 tbs) sugar
50 grams (6.5 tbs) cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
160 grams (2 cups) graham cracker crumbs
30 grams (½ cup) blanched almonds
100 grams (1 cup) desiccated coconut
for the filling
200 grams (1 cup) unsalted butter
6 tablespoons custard powder
250 milliliters (¾ cup) whipping cream
475 (3¼ cups) grams icing sugar
pinch of salt
for the topping
250 grams (8 oz) dark chocolate
20 grams (½ tbs) butter
In a pan melt the butter with the sugar and stir in the cocoa, the egg, the salt and the vanilla extract.
In a food processor pulse the cookies and the almonds into medium sized crumbs. They can be a bit uneven.
Mix the cookie crumbs, the almond crumbs and the coconut with the butter mixture and press in a greased 16 x 16 grams baking tin or oven dish. I used clingfilm to line the tin to be sure my bars did not stick.
Leave to cool in the freezer for about 15 mins. or in the fridge for about 30 mins.
With an electric mixer beat the butter until soft and creamy. Add the custard powder, the cream and the icing sugar and beat carefully at low speed at first. Beat until light and creamy.
Spread the custard mixture over the base and leave to cool in the freezer for about 15 mins. or in the fridge for about 45 mins.
Melt the chocolate au bain Marie or in the microwave. Add the butter and mix well. Leave to cool slightly.
Spread over the custard filling. Leave to set, take out of the tin and score the top with a fork. Cut into little cubes.
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