Happy Canada Day!

So today is Canada Day, the day in which we celebrate our neighbor to the north.  Yay Canada!

I’m kidding, of course.  I know that Canada Day celebrates the forming of the Canadian government, effectively turning them into a sovereign state, rather than a British Colony.  And I didn’t have to ask Wikipedia about it or anything.

Having served my mission in Canada, I’ve tried to organize my friends and family to Canada Day celebrations every year since returning home.  Usually, with little success.  Today, I’ve celebrated by drinking the last of my Canada Dry ginger ale, making tortillas (I should have made bannock, but I didn’t think about it until after I was done.) and debating if it would be worth it to go grocery shopping to get the ingredients necessary to make that quintessential Canadian goodie, the Nanaimo bar.

My wallet and my waistline got together and boycotted the idea of Nanaimo bars, the spoil-sports.   But, as the only other thing I have to write about today would be the can of worms that I opened between family members, I thought I’d share a recipe for them, so you, dear readers, can make them yourselves.

This recipe comes from my Great Canadian Cookies, Bars, & Squares book–in fact, it’s the cover model for the book.  It’s also the best recipe for Nanaimo bars I’ve ever found.  You can find the original recipe on page 21 of the Google Book preview that I’ve just linked to.  But, if you don’t want to click and scroll, (lazy buggers) I’ve typed it out for you, using html and everything!

Queen of the Nanaimo Bars

Bottom Layer

1/2 c butter, softened

1/4 c sugar

5 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla

1 egg, beaten

1 3/4 c graham cracker crumbs

1 c shredded coconut

1/2 c chopped walnuts (optional)

Place the softened butter, sugar, cocoa, vanilla and egg in the top part in a glass or metal bowl. Place over boiling water and stir until the butter melts and the mixture resembles custard. In a separate bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, coconut and walnuts, blending well. Ad to the custard-like mixture. Press evenly into a greased 9×9 pan. Cool to set.

Middle Layer

1/4 c butter, softened
3 Tbsp Milk
2 Tbsp vanilla custard powder
2 c powdered sugar (or, if you’re in Canada, 2 c icing sugar)

Mix the butter, milk, custard powder and powdered sugar throughly, and spread over the cooled bottom layer

Top Layer

4 squares semi-sweet chocolate
1 Tbsp butter

Melt the chocolate with the butter. When it is cool but still liquid, pour and spread over the middle bar.

Chill the Nanaimo bars in the refrigerator, making sure that they are completely chilled before serving

The story goes that the original recipe for Nanaimo bars was published in a newspaper in Nanaimo, British Columbia.  I don’t know if it’s true or not, all I know is that we were served (usually boughten) Nanaimo bars at about half of the dinners we’d have with members.  I was told that they were difficult to make, and that’s why they usually came from a bakery.  I even purchased a box of Nanaimo bar mix from a Canadian import store, because I missed them, and remembered how difficult I was told they were.  Finally, I found a can of custard powder in the grocery store where I usually shopped at the time, and decided to try it for myself.

They take a lot of dishes to make, and a lot of steps, but they are fairly easy.  You even have time to wash the dishes between steps, so you don’t end up with a sink full dirty dishes.

So, enjoy these for your own Canada Day celebrations, or, seeing as I’m a slacker and didn’t get this online ’til almost 6pm local time, enjoy them tomorrow for, er, birthday celebrations for Canadian hockey player Jumbo Joe Thornton.

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