When my hubs and I were first married we lived in Canada. (Those were very happy years, eh?) I miss things about living there... all seasoned potato chips, Smarties, Pirogi, cabbage rolls, penne, Tim Horton's donuts, German baked goods, hot tea served at church dinners, etc. And all sorts of other food experiences, apparently. (Really, sweet Canadian friends, you know I miss you, too!)
I was talking to a friend the other day and I asked her if she had a recipe for Nanaimo Bars. These are delightful little treats that were occasionally on the dessert trays at church functions. Named for a Canadian city... they have a chocolate-coconut-nutty base, a middle layer of pudding or custard flavored icing, and a layer of chocolate. She said she didn't have a recipe. Well, a quick search on the Internet and viola... a recipe! This recipe is from About.com, I've just added my suggestions and comments.
I'm whipping up a batch of these tasty treats in honor of Canada Day, July 1. Let's celebrate in a yummy way, eh?
24 squares graham crackers, crushed
1 cup coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I think any nut would work here. I believe almonds are the most traditional choice.)
1 stick butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 egg, unbeaten
4 tablespoons butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 packet (3 tablespoons) Bird's dessert powder, or use (3 T) instant vanilla pudding mix
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
4 one-ounce squares semisweet chocolate
1 T butter
Thoroughly grease 9-inch square pan and line with foil. (I used the quick release foil.)
In large ziploc bag, combine graham crackers, coconut and nuts.
In medium pan over very low heat slowly melt the stick of butter. Remove from heat and add the 1/4 cup sugar and the 1/4 cup cocoa. To avoid scrambling the egg, pour a tiny bit of cocoa mixture over the egg and beat. Do this a few times until the temp of the egg is roughly the same as the temperature of the cocoa mixture. (This isn't hard at all.) Beat the egg mixture into the cocoa mixture and add the crumb & nut blend. Spread and press in pan and chill.
In mixing bowl, combine 4 tablespoons butter, powdered sugar, dessert powder or instant pudding powder, vanilla, and milk; beat to blend well. Spread on chilled bottom layer. Chill.
Combine semisweet chocolate and 1 tablespoon butter, melt over hot water or in microwave. Spread chocolate over pudding layer. Mark small squares before chocolate sets. Chill. (I didn't have chocolate squares, so I just eye-balled the chocolate amount using chocolate chips. I wanted enough to cover the pudding layer completely.)
Remove from pan and cut with a large knife. Wipe the knife with warm water and dry between cuts to avoid breaking the chocolate layer.