Nanaimo Bars

I recently presented the country of Canada to our homeschool geography co-op and wanted some recipes that really represented the country well.  A Canadian friend highly recommended Nanaimo Bars (pronounced nuh-NYE-mo) and kindly offered me some Canadian custard powder to use for them as well.  (I have read that instant pudding powder is a fair substitute for this custard powder if you can’t find it.)  These layered bars are very tasty!

Layer 1:
1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
1/4 cup sugar
5 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1 egg, beaten
1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds

Layer 2:
1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
3 Tbsp. heavy cream
2 Tbsp. custard powder*
2 cups powdered sugar

Layer 3:
4 (1 ounce) squares semisweet baking chocolate**
2 Tbsp. butter

1.  In a double boiler, combine the butter, sugar, and cocoa powder stirring together until melted and smooth.  Beat the egg into a small bowl;  add a little of the cocoa mixture to the egg bowl and stir together well to temper the egg.  Then pour the egg mixture into the double boiler with the cocoa mixture and stir well until thickened, 2-3 minutes.
2.  Remove from  heat and stir in the graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and almonds.  Press firmly into the bottom of an ungreased 8×8-inch pan.
3.  In a bowl, cream together the butter with the heavy cream and custard powder.   Add in the powdered sugar and mix well.   Spread this over the crust in the pan and chill to set.
4.  Melt the semisweet chocolate and butter together until smooth (I used the microwave to do this, in 30 second increments).  Pour over chilled bars.  You can chill to set this or let the bars sit out at room temperature until the chocolate is set.  Cut into bars.

Makes 16 bars


*–I have read that vanilla instant pudding powder is a fair substitute for this custard powder if you can’t find it.
**–I was out of baking chocolate so I just used 4 ounces of semisweet chips.

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