I made some Nanaimo bars today!
The other day Housemate came home and happily exclaimed that he had purchased some Nanaimo bars and triumphantly plopped this box down on the counter:
“Uhm… those aren’t Nanaimo bars,” I tell him. “It’s just the mix to make them!”
“Oh damn! You’re kidding right?” he asked.
“Of course it’s a mix,” I exclaim. “Who the hell stores Nanaimo bars in a box on a store shelf? They are full of butter for crying out loud. They need to be refrigerated!”
Perhaps Housemate can be forgiven as he’s originally from Vancouver and Campbell River – not Nanaimo! One of the best things about being from Nanaimo is that people across Canada associate my hometown with a dessert.
What is a Nanaimo bar? The Wikipedia article describes it as a dessert that’s made from a “wafer crumb-based layer topped by a layer of light vanilla or custard flavoured butter icing which is covered with melted chocolate made from chocolate squares.”
But there are many different recipes.
During a performance of his song “Nanaimo” on CBC Radio One’s North by Northwest in the late ‘90s, for example, Gabriola Island folk singer Bob Bossin claimed that Nanaimo bars contained: smoke and peelers, cocaine dealers, redneck loggers, non-stop talkers, and hookers with daughters.
Here’s all the stuff I used to make it with:
But the recipe I made came from a prepackaged mix that was shipped in from Ontario. The recipe also calls for a en egg, a bit of milk and butter. Lots of butter.
Unfortunately we didn’t have any butter so the very non-Nanaimo Housemate actually suggested I use margarine instead.
It’s been a while since I’ve lived in Nanaimo but I know that the secret to a good Nanaimo bar is good fresh butter. So, Housemate kindly offered to drive me to the store where I got managed to purchase this essential ingredient.
The egg and most of the butter was used in the base mix:
The filling powder was mixed with milk and some butter and then spread across over the base:
The remainder of the butter was mixed with a packet of chocolate chips in a saun pan which was then poured over the top of the filling:
It’s actually a very good Nanaimo bar that’s as good as anything you might find at your local bakery. It’s much better than the Starbucks Nanaimo bars. My only complaint is that they don’t give you enough custard filling. I like a lot of filling in my Nanaimo bar.
Thank you Housemate for making this treat possible!