Monday, April 26, 2010

Nanaimo Bars

Wanting to try something different from my usual chocolate chip, peanut butter or oatmeal raisin cookies for Gentleman Farmer's lunch (and a little snack for us both on Sunday evening) I ran across this recipe in my file (box full of copied recipes!) and decided to try it. Gentleman Farmer and I have been tossing around vacation ideas and the San Juan Islands have popped up a time or two. Naniamo is a Canadian Island near the San Juans and in my creative madness, thought these would be the cookie I would try! Is this making any sense to you? I didn't think so. But here is the recipe as I have found it in my stash, from the Food Network Kitchens.
"There are a number of stories as to where this cookie came from. It's thought to be native to Nanaimo, British Columbia (hence the name), and it gained widespread popularity in the 1950's. Whatever its origins, we love it. We added the twist of peanut butter to make a simple, delicious, no-bake bar cookie that's super kid-friendly and freezes well."
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
1 large egg, beaten
1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/2 cup finely chopped blanched almonds
(I didn't have almonds but used pecans instead. They were good!)
Peanut Butter Filling:
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
Chocolate Glaze:
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
Line and 8x8 inch baking pan or casserole with aluminum foil, with long flaps hanging over each edge. (Don't do what I did ~ I don't like foil to come into contact with my food, so I used a small sheet of waxed paper. It isn't strong enough to lift the cookie from the dish when frozen! Next time I will use parchment paper ~ it is stronger.)

For the cookie:
Put the butter in a heatproof medium bowl. ( I used my double boiler )
Bring a saucepan filled with an inch or so of water to a very slow simmer over medium-low heat. Set the bowl over, but not touching, the water. Once the butter is melted, add the sugar and cocoa, and stir to combine. Add the egg and cook, stirring constantly with a whisk, until warm to the touch and slightly thickened (it should be about the consistency of hot fudge), about 6 minutes.(Mine was ready almost instantly, but I did continue to cook for a minute or two to cook the egg as this is a no bake cookie.) Remove from heat and stir in graham crumbs, coconut and nuts. Press the dough firmly into the prepared pan. Save the pan of water for melting the chocolate.)
For the filling:
Beat the butter, peanut butter and confectioners sugar together in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until light.

As you can see, I did not use a mixer but simply mixed it together with a spoon.
I should have sifted the sugar, as my organic powdered sugar is always lumpy,
but I am not adverse to biting into a lump of powdered sugar. :P
Spread over the cookie and freeze while you prepare the chocolate glaze.

For the glaze:
Put the chocolate and butter in a medium heatproof bowl, and set over the barely simmering water. (Again, I used my washed double boiler) Stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. When cool but still runny, pour the chocolate layer over the chilled peanut butter layer and carefully smooth out with an offset spatula. Freeze 30 minutes.

To serve:
Remove from the freezer and let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes.
(Mine took longer)
Pull out of the pan using the foil flaps and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 1 inch squares with a sharp knife. Serve cool or at room temperature.

These are very rich and are more of a confection than a cookie.
They would be yummy served with ice cream.
(Everything is yummy served with ice cream!)
Store wrapped in the refrigerator or freezer.