Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Here's to You, Mrs. Newman

Remember my Latin teacher from Illinois, Mrs. Newman? I shared a mint bar recipe that came straight from her kitchen a while back, but the mint bar recipe was only one of two.

That's right, there's another recipe from Mrs. Newman that I need to tell you about. Need, that's right. 

Before I start, if you're planning on making these, try and make them at the same time as you order a pizza. If you want these to be authentic, Latin-club dessert treats, they must be preceded by a slice of delivery pizza. Or, a brown-bag lunch, but we all know that pizza can be a lot more fun than carrot sticks, at least once in a while.

As I may have mentioned, Mrs. Newman is Canadian. Can you think of a traditional Canadian treat? Ohh, I think you can. Especially if you hail from the marvelous town of Nanaimo, Canada. 

(Full disclosure: I have never been to Nanaimo, but any town that yields such a great treat can only be heaven on earth, right?)

That's what I'm talking about: nanaimo bars. Look at it like a rainbow: one color is a graham-cracker and coconut crust, the next is a creamy custard, and the top is smooth chocolate. That's a rainbow I'd like to see every morning when I wake up.

Nanaimo bars were sold one dollar by the Latin club, usually on the same days as pizza sales. I can't really think of a better way to end that kind of a meal, but then again, I don't think there's ever a moment when I wouldn't pounce on a plate of nanaimo bars.

See, back when I was fourteen, I used to get one, maybe two nanaimo bars at once. Never more. And then, a few weeks ago, I made a pan of them. One. whole. pan. After fainting, falling on the ground, and somehow getting back up again (must be the call of the nanaimo bar), I realized I should take it easy. Not all at once, Lucie, not all at once.

Alright then. I only had fifteen over the course of two days. I saved the rest for my Latin club friends, and even one for you, Magistra Newman, but I'm afraid it might be eaten up pretty soon. 

Oh, and to my friend Emily who sent me the prized recipe, if you stop by Paris sometime, there will be a plate of them waiting just for you.

Nanaimo Bars
courtesy of Magistra Newman, via Emily

First Layer
1/2 c. butter, melted
1/4 c. brown sugar
3 TB cocoa
1 beaten egg
2 c. graham wafer crumbs
1 c. coconut
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
Combine, press into a 9 in. square pan.  Chill for 1/2 hour.

Second Layer
2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. milk
2 TB Bird's Custard Powder or vanilla custard powder 
Combine all ingredients, beating until smooth and fluffy.
Spread carefully on top of first layer. Chill for at least 1/2 hour.

Third Layer (I changed this from the original recipe, using a little less butter)
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
1 TB butter

Melt chocolate and butter together, then spread over 2nd layer and chill.  
Since this is a very rich square, cut into small 1 inch pieces (approx. 36).
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9 comments: said...

Mmmm...these look super yummy! Wish I had one right now! ;)

Mercotte said...

Ça m'a l'air légèrement addictif tes barres là...OMG

Emily said...

Gorgeous! I'd love to make these right now. I only need graham crackers.

Mary said...

I have never had these bars and just out of curiousity I'm going to try yours. I hope you have a great evening. Blessings...Mary

Reeni said...

I didn't know these were a Canadian treat! So scrumptious, one of my favorites.

grace said...

i've seen these before, yet i've always been afraid to make them since i have no idea how to properly pronounce the name. what if someone were to ask me what they were and i misspoke? tragic. :)
pace yourself, lucie. pace yourself. :)

Kerstin said...

I'm sure the Latin club made a lot of money on these because they look so addicting!

Thanks for much for the award too, so sweet of you :)

Barbara said...

I've been making these for years, Lucie. They were the first thing I learned to make in a fun cooking class back in the 60's! In Michgan. My son loves them and I always make a batch when he comes. They freeze perfectly. We just call them Denison chocolate bars, named after the girl who went to the cooking class with me. I posted them, back at the beginning when I wasn't getting any comments.
I can attest to this: these are delicious!

Lucie said...

Mercotte: Addictif, c'est exactement ça!!

Mary: I'm curious to know what you think of them when you do give them a try!

Grace: Believe me, these are worth mispronouncing :)

Barbara: Glad to know there are nanaimo bar (or Denison bar) lovers all across North America!