I'm not quite a Daring Baker yet - I've only just signed up. But when I saw last month's challenge recipe, I couldn't resist it - partly because I already had so many of the necessary ingredients languishing in my cupboards and partly because of the appealingly, easy, no-bake recipe. Despite layering 3 very distinct flavours, Nanaimo bars really take on a character of their own, and the final result is a great chilled treat of flavours and textures.
The recipe that follows is modified slightly from the one found on Joy of Baking. I used English digestives instead of Graham crackers (which are alien to the UK) and the middle layer seemed to take much more than just 2-3 tablespoons of cream/milk suggested by the original recipe.
- 115g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
- 30g Dutch-processed cocoa
- 50g caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 200g plain digestive biscuits, finely ground in a food processor
- 70g toasted, shredded, unsweetened coconut
- 50g chopped pecans
- 60g unsalted butter, softened
- 230g powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons custard powder (such as Bird's)
- 1/4 cup double cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 110g fine dark chocolate
- 20g unsalted butter
1. For the base layer: In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter then add cocoa and sugar and combine thoroughly. Add the egg and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes until the mixture thickens. Add the vanilla, stir to combine. Add the ground digestive biscuits, pecans and coconut, stirring thoroughly.Spread the mixture evenly into a 9" x 9" square baking dish. Use a tablespoon or the bottom of a ramekin to press it firmly into the bottom of the dish. Make sure the edges of the dish are tidy, with no crumbs clinging to them. Refridgerate for at least 1 hour.
2. For the middle layer: In a medium bowl, combine the powdered sugar with the custard powder. In a larger bowl, beat the butter until very creamy, then gradually add the sugar-custard powder mixture. Add the vanilla and the cream, adding more till you get a smooth paste. Spread evenly over the top of the base and, once again, refridgerate for at least 30 minutes.
3. For the top layer: melt the chocolate and butter over a double boiler, making sure the bowl doesn't touch the simmering water. Let cool almost to room temperature before spreading over the chilled bars. Top make sure the chocolate covers the bars evenly, tilt the dish gently till the chocolate spreads to the very edges.
And yes, now chill again! To cut, make sure you use a warm, sharp knife, to avoid cracking the chocolate the way my sloppy self did.