i don't visit bakeries all that often (which is especially good for my pants, since it's pretty hard for me to resist a cookie, cupcake, scone, or good old fashioned slice of cake) and i haven't been in a coffee shop since late september. the only place i've ever seen nanaimo bars pop up for sale is the bakery case at the little theatre downtown. for the last few months, they've taunted me. and while i'm usually a sweets girl, this whole baby thing has me all kinds of turned around - wanting as much salty popcorn as i can get my hands on and everything doused in coconut.
so on the rare occasion last weekend, when i was in the mood for something super sweet, i finally made these bars. and kept asking myself - besides the butter and sugar - why i hadn't made them sooner. almond + coconut + chocolate + sweet vanilla filling make the perfect homemade candy bar.
those of you who know a heck of a lot more about nanaimo bars than me (and have probably eaten your fair share) will notice that i baked my bottom layer. i saw a lot of comments on other recipes denouncing this method for a stovetop version. i wanted to play it safe and not risk undercooked eggs by baking the bottom.
adapted from king arthur and the city of nanaimo
30 minutes plus chilling time, serves 30-45
while king arthur and the city of nanaimo recipes say to make these in a square pan, i made them in a 9x13" pan, since i knew they would be rich. i made one batch of the bottom, one and a half batches of filling, and one and a half batches of the top layer. my top layer was a little skimpy, so i suggest doubling it if you make a large pan of these.
for the bottom layer:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
5 tablespoons cocoa
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
for the middle layer:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons instant vanilla pudding mix
2 cups powdered sugar
for the top layer:
4 ounces semisweet chocolate
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- preheat your oven to 350F. line a 9x9", 8x8", or 9x13" pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- combine all crust ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined. press into the bottom of the pan and bake for 10 minutes. cool on a wire rack.
- to make the filling, cream the butter, heavy cream, pudding mix, and sugar together and beat until light and fluffy. when the crust is cool, spread the filling over the crust.
- to make the top layer, microwave the chocolate and butter together in 30 second intervals until melted. pour over the filling and spread out evenly on the top. chill the bars completely before cutting and serving. store in the refrigerator, as these are best served cold.