I am trying to remember the first time I tried a Nanaimo Bar… And I think I was in high school, working at a restaurant called Dutch Mothers. I could hardly resist consuming one of these each time I worked a shift.
This isn’t their exact recipe, but it is appropriately out of a collection of community recipes, bound with a typical black plastic spiral, tattered and old looking. Have you run across these? Often compiled by churches or bridge groups, federations of this or that, the woman’s club of ‘insert name here’ and likely many a school, these ‘cookbooks’ boast a pile of recipes submitted by countless members of a given community… I can almost picture the formica counters and olive green or mustard colored appliances. Or my grandmother’s retro white table with speckled silver glitter and chrome trim, clad with chrome handled cupboards. And Pyrex at the ready with just the right glass square for making sinfully sweet, multi-layered desserts.
I found this recipe in a collection from Lopez Island in the 1970’s… which simply means it is gooey, good and full of butter and sugar. It pays no mind to diets of any kind. Perfect for a potluck or a bake sale, these bars remind me of something my grandmother used to make for family gatherings: layers of sweetness—be it fruit or otherwise—plenty of sugary frosting or whipped cream, and a cookie crust that adds the perfect crispness for each bite. Move over summertime S’mores, here are some no-bake (good for hot summer days) layers of chocolate, graham crackers and sugary sweet white cream that will take on a marshmallow any day of the week:
Nanaimo Bars (no bake)
3/4 cup butter, divided
5 squares unsweetened chocolate
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 beaten egg
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 T cream
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp rum, brandy or peppermint flavoring
Melt 1/2 cup butter and 1 square chocolate in pan. In bowl combine sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, egg, crumbs, coconut and walnuts. Add melted butter into mix, then press into 8 inch square pan. Chill. Beat together powdered sugar, cream, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/4 cup room temperature butter. Spread layer into pan. Chill. Melt remaining 4 squares chocolate with flavoring. Pour/spread over bars. Chill. Serve.