“What, are you the Canadian Paula Deen now?”

RECIPE: Nanaimo Bars

When this posts, my summer school kids will be taking their final and soon after I’ll be free for three and a half delicious weeks of laziness…which my coworkers have been enjoying already for six weeks.  You jerkfaces.  Love you?

One Sunday morning, a few months ago, I was skyping with my sister and brother-in-law, while my sister bustled around the kitchen.  They were going to a party later that day and my sister had been asked to bring a dessert.  She explained to me that she was making nanaimo bars, a name I made her repeat about five times and then spell out so I could understand what the hell she was talking about.

Nanaimo bars, you may or may not know, are a a treat that originated in the city of Nanaimo, British Columbia.  Something else you may not know is that my brother-in-law is Canadian.  French-Canadian.  GASP!  I never understood the hate for Canada (it’s all your fault Trey Parker and Matt Stone!).  I mean, the Canadians I know are nice, they have somewhat funny accents, and it seems to be a beautiful country, at least from pictures.

So when I remembered that today (it’s Sunday 7/1), was Canada Day, I decided to honor my brother-in-law, my French-Canadian ancestors, and my awesome Canadian friends by attempting to make nanaimo bars.

It turns out that nanaimo bars are incredibly easy to make.  There’s no baking, and as long as you get your mise en place in order (which I rarely do), the process goes pretty fast.  Fun fact: the main ingredient in each layer is butter.  When I told Amy this, she asked if I had gotten the recipe from some Canadian version of Paula Deen.  It seems so.

One major issues I had was the above substance.  I thought I’d melt chocolate chips for the top layer, but they didn’t melt very well.  Instead they turned into a big hunk of chocoloatey poo-looking mess.  Amy suggested added some liquid and then mixing it up, which was a great idea.  I added about a tablespoon of cream and it worked perfectly.

So in the end it all turned out pretty well.  They’re intensely sugary, so you can have like half of one a day, followed by lots of vegetables and fruit to balance out your diet.

I had to include this picture, because it’s adorable.  Toby the cat really likes to creep on me when I take food photos (actually he just creeps on everyone all the time because he’s a creep).  I’m not a crazy cat lady, but I do love Toby.  I have another cat, but he’s an asshole, which is OK because he and my roommate love each other.

Rating: I’m not sure what my Canadian friends would rate this, I’d say this is at least 4 out of 5 cold classes of milk (or, if it wasn’t a billion degrees outside, cups of tea).

Nanaimo Bars
5.0 from 1 reviews
Author: Manda
Prep time: 20 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Adapted from the City of Nanaimo’s official recipe.
  • Bottom Layer
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 5 tbsp cocoa
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 ¼ cups graham wafer crumbs
  • ½ cup finely chopped almonds
  • 1 cup coconut
  • Middle Layer
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 3-4 tbsp cream
  • 2 tbsp instant vanilla pudding powder
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • Top Layer
  • 4 squares semi-sweet chocolate (1 oz. each)
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  1. Melt first 3 ingredients for the bottom layer in top of double boiler (or in just a sauce pan, if you’re like me and you don’t have a fancy double boiler). Crack egg into a mixing bowl. Pour hot chocolate mixture over the egg in small quantities, whisking constantly. Stir in crumbs, coconut, and nuts. Press firmly into an ungreased 8″ x 8″ pan.
  2. Cream butter, cream, pudding powder, and powdered sugar together well. Beat until light. Spread over bottom layer.
  3. Melt chocolate and butter over low heat (I did it in the same sauce pan from before). Pour over second layer and chill in refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.
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One Response to “What, are you the Canadian Paula Deen now?”

  1. Nicole G says:

    Oh my goodness, I had a close friend in jr high who was from BC and she used to make these. Honestly, I thought she made the name up bc it was so weird. We lost touch long ago and it is so great to find this recipe! Wonderful memories and seriously tasty!

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