election day nanaimo bars

Yesterday was election day in Canada, so after voting I came home and made Nanaimo bars...a truly Canadian treat.

This recipe came from the National Post (March 26, 2011), along with a story about the origins of this dessert.  The recipe was thought to originate in the

Women's Auxiliary to the Nanaimo Hospital Cook Book

sometime in the 1950's.  Nanaimo bars are always a staple on assorted dessert trays and pretty much every cafe has their own variety, so I decided to give it a go.  I sent the pan to work with Trevor today and he reported back that they were well received.  Someone even told him they were better than his grandmas!  (I'd like to thank this wonderful recipe for that compliment)  If you're a fan of Nanaimo bars, definitely give these a try...you won't be disappointed. 

Bottom Layer

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 10 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup finely chopped almonds
  • 2 cups shredded coconut

Melt the butter, sugar and cocoa powder together over low heat.  Stir in the eggs and cook until slightly thickened.  Removed from the heat and stir in the graham cracker crumbs, chopped almonds and coconut.  Press into an even layer in a 13" X 9" pan lined with parchment paper. 

Middle Layer

  • 1 cup butter
  • 5 tbsp cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 6 tbsp vanilla custard powder
  • 4 cups icing sugar

Cream the butter, cream, vanilla and custard powder together in the bowl of the stand mixer with the whisk attachment.  Gradually add in the icing sugar and whip until fluffy and light.  Spread the middle layer icing evenly on top of the base layer.  

Top Layer

  • 8 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup butter, cut into pieces

Melt the chocolate and butter together over low heat.  Allow the chocolate to cool (but still liquid) then pour over top of the middle layer and spread it out.  Tap the pan on the counter a few times to get the air bubbles out evenly distribute the chocolate.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.