Picture it. Vancouver, Canada… 1986. I was a little girl on the trip of a lifetime – experiencing Expo ‘86. I was young enough that most of the memories from it are now a blur, or reduced to general feelings and thoughts (”That was cool!”), but 2 few things stood out then, and still remain fresh in my mind today:
1. The Ramses II exhibit. Easily the coolest thing about Expo 86 to me! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to spend the whole time there, as my (not as nerdy) family was more interested in rides and stuff I found very boring.
2. My very first Nanaimo Bar. It was a bite of heaven, and a sugar rush that no sane parent should ever get their kids jacked up on! The Nanaimo Bar is a Canadian specialty – named after a town in British Columbia – and it’s very hard to find anything like them here in Minnesota. As with many things though.. if you can’t buy them.. you can always make them!
This is the recipe for Nanaimo Bars the way I like them. I prefer the mocha flavored filling to traditional vanilla, and I prefer a lot MORE filling than Nanaimo bars traditionally sport. I’d be in the wrong business if I didn’t have a sweet tooth, though, so no apologies for that!
These bars won a Gold Medal at the 2008 Upper Midwest Bakery Association Convention. Mocha Nanaimo Bars FTW, literally!
Mocha Nanaimo Bars
½ cup butter (unsalted)
1/4 cup sugar
6 tbsp cocoa powder
1 egg, beaten
1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
½ cup almonds, finely chopped
1 cup coconut
½ cup butter
3 tbsp cream
1 tbsp instant coffee
2 tbsp cocoa powder
3 tbsp Cook-and-Serve vanilla pudding powder (NOT instant!)
2 cups+ confectioner’s sugar
6 oz semi sweet baking chocolate squares
3 tbsp butter
Melt butter in small saucepan. Add sugar and cocoa powder, mix well. Add egg, stir well. Egg will cook and thicken. Once thickened, remove from heat and pour into a larger bowl containing the last 3 bottom ingredients. Mix well and press firmly and evenly into the bottom of an ungreased 8 x 8 pan. Set aside.
Cream Butter. Warm cream in a small bowl, dissolve instant coffee into it, then add to the butter. Add cocoa powder and pudding powder, beat well. Slowly and carefully add confectioner’s sugar. Mixture should be VERY thick – add a little extra confectioner’s sugar if needed. Spread evenly over bottom layer.
Melt butter and chocolate over low heat. Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly, then pour over middle layer. Chill in fridge before slicing into bars.