Saturday, 24 November 2012

Nanaimo Bars

Well it's certainly getting busy now! We're exactly a month away from sleigh marks on the rooftop. How is it that we get a full year to plan ahead for Christmas every year, but we're always in a scramble to get everything done? I'm one of the guilty for sure. I hear of people starting their Christmas shopping in July and I just shake my head in wonder. In July, I'm totally trying to stuff myself into last summer's shorts and thinking about the barbecue and beer and fun and the beach! Christmas is a century away! I'm a "live in the moment" person, and I wouldn't have it any other way. And scrambling is fun and a great challenge if you manage to pull it off. I adore the highs and lows of life, and mostly I love to live on the edge.

So you just got a last minute invitation to a house party, or worse you just got a call that you're having company at home and no time to prepare? I've got you covered. Here's a dessert recipe that doesn't require any baking! It's fun and easy and people will swoon for this one. I procrastinated making this forever and I really don't know why because it was done and to the chill in less than half an hour. But the glory is that everybody will think you were at this all day. So let's make a Canadian favourite!

This is a chilled dessert made in 3 layers, I'll give you the whole ingredient list, separated by layer. But as I always tell my Ladygirls, please lay out all of your ingredients before you begin! (They never listen, but you should!)
1/2 cup room temperature butter
1/4 cup sugar
5 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
1 beaten egg
1 3/4 cups graham crumbs
1 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup room temperature butter
3 tablespoons of heavy cream (I use whipping cream)
2 tablespoons of custard powder
2 cups of icing sugar

5 squares of semisweet chocolate
3 teaspoons of room temp butter

Use a non stick brownie pan for this, or a square aluminum pan if you're taking them visiting.
For the first layer, beat an egg with a fork and set it aside. Use a double boiler if you have one. I just set a glass baking dish into a pot of boiling water. The idea is to keep it off the direct heat, so invent if you must. Melt the butter, sugar and cocoa powder on Medium heat until it's smooth and then gradually beat in your egg, whisking all the while so you don't have a scrambled egg in a puddle of chocolate butter. Keep whisking for about 2 or 3 minutes until it becomes glossy. Take it off the heat and stir in the coconut, graham crumbs and walnuts. It's going to be tight, so work it with your hands if you want to. Press this into the pan and try to make it level like a skating rink. Put this into the fridge to chill and now we'll start the second layer. Don't be afraid as you read this because I'm telling you that literally only 5 minutes have passed by.

For the middle layer, use your electric mixer and mix the butter, cream and custard powder for about 2 minutes and add one cup of icing sugar and mix that up. Then add your second cup. If it's too tight and thick, add just a drop or two of cream until it's smooth and you think you can spread it. Spread it over your graham crumb layer and put it back into the fridge to chill. We are now about 8 or 10 minutes into the clock.

Now while that's chilling, back to the double boiler method and melt the chocolate squares and butter and whisk until all the chocolate is melted. Pour this over the amazing creation and spread to cover. Chill it for at least 3 or 4 hours. And You're Done! The one tip I must tell you is to let it sit at room temp for 10 or 15 minutes before you slice it into squares or the top chocolate layer will crack and crumble. Serve these really chilled. Oh Yum! It's no wonder Canadians have such a great joy of life, and you will too after you taste these. And for me, the best thing about them is that there is no baking required! Enjoy friends!

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