Monday, 19 September 2005

Nanaimo Bars

Disaster anyone? This was meant for the SHF 12 with a theme of custard but as you can see these Nanaimo Bars were not exactly a paragon of beauty. I don't know if I did anything wrong or there's something inherently flawed in the recipe itself. Mind you, it was only the middle custard part that didn't work. The base and topping were great but as you can see the middle layer is sooo gooey, it just collapses during cutting so I had to freeze it first *overnight*. Come morning, it was still gooey while the bottom and top were rock hard.

I tried hack it off with a variety of implements - bread knife, carving knife, chef's knife, etc. Could I have tried an axe? ;-p I tried warming the knives first but to no avail most of them still broke up though there were some little success but it's that darn custard that won't set !! Maybe I should have just served it on the side because the rest of it is absolutely delicious.

A little background on these rich delectable bar cookies (which I will not make again unless I come across a better technique or recipe for the custard), which were said to have originated in the town of Nanaimo in Vancouver, Canada. No one is certain on who originally came up with this recipe. But the same cannot be said of its deliciousness as it's certainly moreish minus the custard ;). The other thing going for this is the fact that it's a no-bake cookie bar. Sue Lawrence's cookbook Book of Baking is from where I adapted this mini disaster. :LOL:

In case you want to make yourself miserable ;) here's the recipe:

Nanaimo Bars

100 g  unsalted butter
55 g  [heaping 1/4 cup] golden caster sugar (superfine)
5 Tbsp cocoa - sifted
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
140 g  digestive biscuit (or graham crackers) - crushed
70 g  [1 cup] dessicated coconut
70 g  [1/2 cup] chopped walnuts

100 g  unsalted butter - softened
5 Tbsp custard powder*
200 g  [1 1/2 cup] golden icing sugar (confectioner's)- sifted
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

140 g  dark chocolate
25 g  unsalted butter
1 Tbsp golden caster sugar (superfine)
  • Grease and line a 9-inch square baking pan.
  • For the base:
    1. Put the butter, sugar, cocoa, egg, and vanilla in a heatproof bowl and set over a saucepan of simmering water.
    2. Melt the mixture while stirring constantly.
    3. When it becomes smooth and slightly thick, remove from heat.
    4. Add in the biscuits and walnuts. Combine well.
    5. Press onto the prepared baking pan making sure to level it out. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  • For the filling:
    1. In a heatproof bowl, beat together the softened butter and custard powder.
    2. Beat in the icing sugar, egg and vanilla.
    3. Place carefully on a larger bowl filled with hot (not boiling) water. Continue beating for about 1-2 minutes.
    4. Leave for 5-10 minutes in the bowl of hot water then beat again for another 1-2 minutes.
    5. Tip this over the chilled base. Chill in the fridge again for at least 30 minutes.
  • For the topping:
    1. Put the butter, chocolate, and sugar in a heatproof bowl. Melt by putting the bowl over saucepan with simmering water. Stir until well combined and smooth.
    2. Tip on top of the chilled filling and base. Cool completely, then chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, then freeze for about 3 hours.
    3. Cut into squares while still cold and hard otherwise they will breakup.
Note: You can substitute vanilla pudding powder for the custard powder.

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