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by on January 27th, 2010

Nanaimo Bars

The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and www.nanaimo.ca.

Today I was sitting in a dentist chair waiting to have my teeth cleaned. Now, there isn’t a thing in the world I wouldn’t rather be doing at this moment. My least favorite thing to do in life is having my teeth cleaned. Don’t ask me why. I think, mostly, it is the polishing and that little grinder and that gritty stuff they put on your teeth. Years ago when my kids were in the dentist chair, I said to the dentist, “do you use the gritty stuff on them”, the dentist says, “oh, we don’t say gritty to the kids, we say CRUNCHY”.

Well, trying to take my mind off this “crunchy” treatment, I start thinking about the blog and what I could make. Crunchy keeps coming to mind and I know I’m making these Nanaimo (Nah-nye-Moh) bars for the challenge and I want to try and make homemade graham crackers for part of the recipe. So as I sit here, I imagine rolling out the dough, pricking holes in the individual cookies, baking and then pulverising them to make graham cracker crumbs. Ahh, that seems to do the trick because I can almost smell the cookies baking in the oven and before you know it, I’m out of this chair.

I have never heard of this dessert before. The recipe is a classic Canadian dessert recipe that originated in Nanaimo, British Columbia and since the winter olympics are going to be in Vancouver it seems a fitting dessert to try. After making it, I need to find someone to give them to to get them out of the house. This is a no-bake recipe so if you aren’t up to making the graham crackers from scratch, just buy some graham cracker crumbs from your grocery.

The graham crackers were actually fun to make. I think these homemade crackers would make great smores.

Nanaimo Bars

Bottom Layer
1/2 c. unsalted Butter
1/4 cup granulated Sugar
5 tablespoons unsweetened Cocoa
1 large egg, beaten
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup walnuts (finely chopped)
1 cup coconut

Middle Layer

1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons instant vanilla pudding powder
2 1/2 c. powdered sugar
3 Tbsp. peanut butter
3 Tbsp. Nutella

Top Layer
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
4  Tbsp. unsalted butter
For bottom Layer: Melt unsalted butter, sugar and cocoa in top of a double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, nuts and coconut. Press firmly into an ungreased 8 by 8 inch pan.

For Middle Layer: Cream butter, cream, peanut butter, pudding powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light in color. Add the Nutella and swirl a bit with a knife. Do not over mix.  Spread over bottom layer.
For Top Layer: Melt chocolate and unsalted butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, pour over middle layer and sprinkle with additional chopped walnuts. Chill until firm.  If you have a hard time cutting these, try dipping a knife into very hot water and then cutting. The knife will slide right through the bars.

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