nanaimo bars

Nanaimo Bars
Makes 25 small bars

Adapted from the City of Nanaimo

For the bottom layer:
1/2 cup (1 stick or 113 grams) butter, melted
1/3 cup (35 grams) unsweetened cocoa, preferably Dutch-process
1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 sleeve (9 crackers or 145 grams) graham crackers, finely crushed (about 1 heaping cup)
1/2 cup (55 grams) almond meal (or very finely chopped almonds)
1 cup (95 grams) sweetened shredded coconut

For the middle layer:
1/2 cup (1 stick or 113 grams) butter, very soft
3 tablespoons (45 grams) custard pudding powder (or vanilla flavor)*
2 cups (200 grams) powdered sugar
1 tablespoon half-and-half or heavy cream, more as needed
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt

For the top layer:
1 cup (180 grams) semisweet chocolate chips

Butter an 8×8 pan and line with foil. Set aside. In a medium bowl whisk together the melted butter, cocoa, sugar, vanilla and salt until smooth. Add the crushed graham crackers, almond meal and coconut and stir until combined. Press evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. I used the bottom of a measuring spoon to make sure it was firmly pressed into the pan.

In a large bowl beat the butter, custard powder, and powdered sugar together until smooth. Add vanilla, salt and one tablespoon half-and-half. Beat for several minutes until smooth and spreadable, adding half-and-half one teaspoon at a time as needed. Spread evenly over the base layer.

In a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, melt the chocolate chips, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Pour over the top of the bars and use an offset spatula to spread the chocolate all the way to the edge.

Refrigerate for several hours until firm then slice into to squares. I found that “scoring” them about 10 minutes after the chocolate had set helped to cut clean lines after the chocolate has fully set. I used a sharp knife and a very gentle “sawing” motion to slice them into five equal bars and then into 25 smaller squares. Store bars in the refrigerator.

*Or for the even most authentic use Bird’s Custard Powder if you can find it!