So in keeping with my Canadian heritage I thought I would try my hand at making Nanaimo Bars. I have had them in the past but I didn’t know what they were made of but ah, knowledge is power! Now I know… and it’s layers of deliciousness, that’s what it is! But before I go any further, for those of you that may be wondering, Nanaimo is a city located on the West Coast of Canada in the beautiful Province of British Columbia. These bars require no baking and sometimes are referred to as Mabel bars. The first known recipe for Nanaimo bars appeared in the 1952 Women’s Auxiliary of the Nanaimo Hospital Cookbook and was labelled “chocolate squares.” So there you have it, a little bit of history and now for the recipe! Ta-da!
Yields: 24 bars
Recipe Source: Bake.Eat.Repeat.
Prep Time: 30 mins Total Time: 30 mins
For the base:
2 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 Tbsp pasteurized egg whites (or one large egg)
2 cups graham wafer crumbs
1 cup unsweetened coconut
FOR THE FILLING:
1/2 cup butter
4 Tbsp custard powder
4 cups powdered sugar
6 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp vanilla
FOR THE GLAZE:
4 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
4 Tbsp butter
Place 2 ounces of chocolate in a medium microwave safe bowl for 2-3 minutes at 50% powder, stirring every 30 seconds, until the chocolate is almost melted. Continue to stir until it is completely melted. Add the butter, sugar, vanilla, egg whites, graham wafer crumbs and unsweetened coconut and mix well. Press into 9×13 pan and chill for 20 minutes.
In another bowl, cream the butter for the filling. Add the custard powder, powdered sugar, milk and vanilla and beat with electric mixer until smooth. Spread the filling evenly over the chilled base. Chill for another 20 minutes.
In a microwave safe bowl, place the 4 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate and the butter and heat at 50% power for 2-3 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until chocolate is almost melted. Continue stirring until it is completely melted. Spread evenly over the chilled custard layer. Chill for several hours or overnight.
Cut into bars and store covered in the fridge for a week or remove from the pan and freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Some people prefer these slightly thawed straight from the freezer.
*Unsalted or salted butter may be used – both taste fine so it’s your preference. Baking chocolate is used for the base and glaze. Chocolate chips do not melt as well as the baking chocolate.