Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ode to Canada - Nanaimo Bars with a Twist

Nanaimo bar - a truly Canadian dessert.
I get all warm and tingly when I have one, almost patriotic like.
Heard of them?
Had one?

I suppose you could Google or Wikipedia them but trust me when I tell you its born and bred in Canada.
Its a dessert bar named after a town in British Columbia - Nanaimo, no denying its origin there.
A no bake, deliciously sweet, layered with goodness, melt on your tongue treat I assure you you will want to try.
If not, take off hoser.  (Google that!)

Since I am Canadian, I wanted to showcase a few truly "Canuck" foods for those who aren't familiar with my homeland.
These had to be part of this!

With it being Thanksgiving weekend I decided to put a little spin on them, tried a few times to get them perfect and I think they are simply wonderful  - but no worries, I will give you the regular version as well in case you want to be "original".

Make them, eat them, share them -or don't but you'll increase your pant size if you aren't the sharing type.

I'm Listening to: That Don't Impress Me Much - Shania Twain
*funny story, I met her many moons ago before she was a superstar in Huntsville, ON while I was on vacation with my family.  I was hanging out with her brothers for the week, and was introduced to her while I was sitting on her couch soppin wet after a huge snowball fight - doubt she'd remember me*

Pumpkin Nanaimo Bars

Bottom Layer:
1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. sugar
4 1/2 tbsp. cocoa
1 beaten egg
1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/2 c. sunflower seeds crushed
1 c. coconut (I like a mixture or sweetened and not)

In a mixing bowl place graham cracker crumbs, crushed sunflower seeds and coconut - stir and set aside.

In a double boiler place the first 3 ingredients in and stir until melted and combined.

Remove from heat and add in the egg - whisking to ensure it doesn't scramble!
Add this to the dry ingredients and with a fork mix it up.
Press firmly into a 9x9 pan lined with parchment.

*a truly original crust uses crushed nuts*

Middle Layer:
1/3 c. room temp butter
2 c. icing sugar
2 tbsp. custard powder
3 tbsp. pumpkin puree
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
In the bowl of your mixer beat the butter until smooth.
Add in the icing sugar and continue to mix at med-high speed.
Scrape the bowl down.
When adding in the custard powder and spices, mix them together first and add all together.
Finally while still beating, add in the pumpkin puree.
Turn to a higher speed and ensure it is well incorporated and fluffy (like buttercream!)
Spread evenly onto crust and refrigerate while you are preparing the top layer.

*traditionally you would use 2 tbsp. milk and no spices and obviously no pumpkin puree.  If you can't find custard powder you can use dry vanilla pudding*

Top Layer:
4 squares semi sweet chocolate
1 1/2 tbsp. butter
Over a double boiler, mix together until melted and smooth.
Smooth over the top of the bars and refrigerate at least 1 hour to set
*this is how you would always make your top layer*

Cut into squares using a knife dipped in warm water to ensure clean cuts.

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  1. I love nanaimo bars and the addition of pumpkin sounds fantastic.

  2. Never heard of these, but they sure look good!

  3. I've heard of nanaimo bars but have yet to try one! I would love to try one of these...especially with the pumpkin! These look awesome! And I hope you have a great holiday!

  4. @Anne, thanks darlin :)
    @S.V. they are really darn good LOL I've eaten a few today and need to refrain, they are for Saturday!

  5. I've never heard of them before, but the layers look crazy good! Hope you enjoy your holiday.

  6. I have never had one before - I have heard of them though. This pumpkin version sounds amazing!

  7. I've never heard of these but they look fabulous. Will have to give them a try.

  8. These look delish! You have won an award; stop by my blog to check it out!

  9. Amazing! You put two of my fav things together...:) Thanks Katrin will try soon!:)

  10. Wow - that sounds absolutely amazing! Happy Thanksgiving!

  11. These sound amazing! I love the traditional Nanaimo Bar. Can't wait to try these!!! Thanks!

  12. Adding pumpkin to nanaimo bars is perfect!

  13. Nanaimo bars used to be my favourite dessert as a kid! Love the idea of adding pumpkin...buzzed it!

  14. Why are nanaimo bars so insanely good!!! I just had the best cupcakes ever and they had nanaimo bar inside the cupcake! I loooooove this and must make them. Thanks for sharing.

  15. My husband is from Nanaimo, BC - you better believe he wears proud the fact that this AWESOME treat is from the same place as him!

    Definitely bookmarking this one....

  16. I've never had a nanaimo bar before, but they look freakin' amazing! And pumpkin? Heck yes! Great job :)

  17. I've been so tempted to try these ... but then you said "pumpkin" and that convinced me! Pinned it :)