Saturday, September 8, 2012

Nanaimo Bars

We love these layered bar cookies! The original recipe was for an 11x7-inch pan, but I doubled it for a 15x10-inch pan. I'm glad I did--because we love these bars! The recipe below is already doubled and sized for the 15x10-inch pan.
Nanaimo Bars Ingredients Crust
1 cup (2 sticks) (8 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup (3.5 ounces) granulated sugar
2/3 cup (2 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder, Dutch-process cocoa preferred
2 large eggs
2 cups (6 ounces) sweetened or unsweetened coconut
1 cup (4 ounces) chopped walnuts or pecans
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups (20 ounces) graham cracker crumbs
1 cup (2 sticks) (8 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt (omit if you use salted butter)
4 cups (1 pound) confectioners' sugar or glazing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons (1.75 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix
4 tablespoons milk
2 cups (12 ounces) chopped bittersweet chocolate (Belcolade bittersweet disks are good) or semisweet chocolate chips
4 tablespoons (1.5 ounces) shortening (or use 4 tablespoons unsalted butter or heavy cream--I used the shortening)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment paper & spray with Baker’s Joy) a 15 x 10-inch baking pan.

To make the crust: Place all of the crust ingredients in a mixing bowl, and beat at medium speed just until thoroughly combined. Press the mixture into the prepared pan, and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, and set it aside to cool.
To make the filling: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the softened butter, 2 cups of the sugar, and the vanilla, beating until smooth. In a small bowl, combine the instant vanilla pudding mix with the milk, stirring until thick and smooth. Add the pudding mix to the butter/sugar mixture, stirring to combine. Add the remaining sugar, and beat until the filling is smooth. Spread it over the cooled crust, cover, and refrigerate until chilled.

To make the icing: Combine the chocolate and shortening in a saucepan set over medium heat (or double-boiler) or microwave-safe bowl; stir until mixture is smooth. Spread the frosting onto the bars. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set.

Cut into small bars or rectangles to serve. The bars will be very stiff when cold, but will soften quickly at room temperature.

Yield: about 50 bars—depending on size cut