Wednesday 28 March 2012

Nanaimo bars

BBC2 airs a baking competition called 'The Great British Bake Off' and I love it. I have been religiously watching it since it started airing and wait for the cook book to come out after the season, just to gawk at all the pics and maybe try something if its not too complicated. The winner of the first series was food blogger Edd Kimber of The Boy Who Bakes. He, of course, came out with a book full of fabulous bakes and such. I picked it up from the library only to flip through it, but unlike all other cookbooks, this one actually inspired me to make quite a few things...well actually 2 things..which turned out perfectly well.

Nanaimo bars (you can read the history and all about it on Wikipedia) were one of them and although I have seen it cafe's and bakeries, I never bothered trying it for the simple reason it had chocolate in it. It also gave me the feeling of a super rich dessert, high in calories and the various recipes proved that. I didn't want to make a huge batch and end up throwing out most of it or even worse, eating it all up on our own. So when we were asked to a friends place for Sunday lunch, I thought I'll make some and take half of it there. Since its a setting process, I spread the entire procedure over a couple of days and had it ready 2 days before the party. I had sliced one piece to check if it tasted nice, and it did, but not in an 'oh my god why the hell did I wait so long to make this orgasmic dessert' way but more in a 'hmm its a nice thing to munch on' way.
I left it in the refrigerator, nicely covered and headed to a movie during which time the husband got home and dug into it. Not one piece, but 3 squares he had, all in one go. I did not notice this because Ro does not have the habit of raiding the fridge and cupboards looking for things to eat (unlike me) and I didn't think I should warn him about NOT touching what's in the ceramic tray. Then the day before the party I take the tray out and half of it has disappeared. Greediness got the better of me and I tried one slice. At that point it was certainly an 'oh my god.....orgasmic dessert' moment. I decided to not take it to that friends place and we enjoyed it all to ourselves. Ro is even pleading to make another batch soon. I cant get myself to do so (considering the huge amounts of yumm stuff that went into it) but I shall sometime, or when I have another party I need to take something to :)

On a completely different note, I finally managed to get my recipe index intact. Its still in the work-in-progress state, but its well on its way to completion. Have updated the side bar with my fb, twitter, flicker accounts. So if you want to hear more of my brags and complaints and such please feel free to connect with me there. Phew! who said food blogging was child's play? No one? (I think I did when I initially started the blog) ;)
Recipe adapted from The Boy Who Bakes (makes around 20 to 25 squares)
Bottom layer
Digestive biscuits- 150 gms (I used McVities, but any rich tea biscuits should do)
Butter- 85 gms
Caster sugar- 38 gms
Cocoa powder- 23 gms
Egg- 1 large
Vanilla extract- 1/2 tsp
Desiccated coconut- 50 gms
Pecans- 37 gms, roughly chopped

Middle layer
Butter- 50 gms
Icing sugar- 170 gms
Custard powder- 1 1/2 tbsp
Double cream- 50 ml

Top layer
Dark chocolate- 113 gms, finely chopped
Double cream- 50 ml
Unsalted butter- 20 gms, softened
Get a large baking pan (I used a 23 x 13 rectangle casserole dish) ready and line the bottom and up the sides with aluminium foil. Leave some extra hanging over the sides, so its easy to take it out as a whole for convenience of slicing.
Place the biscuits in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin to crush them to resemble bread crumbs. If you have a food processor, then just pulse a couple of times to get the desired consistency. 
Transfer the biscuit crumbs into a mixing bowl and add the desiccated coconut and chopped pecans. Mix well and keep aside.
Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat.
Then remove from heat and whisk in the sugar and cocoa powder, followed by the egg. Beat it into the mixture.
Place the pan back on heat and cook for about a minute, or until the mixture thickens, making sure to whisk constantly.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
Pour this into the biscuit mixture and give it a good mix
Tip it into the baking tray, spread it out and press it in as evenly and tightly as possible, so it wont crumble when cut into.
Cover with a cling film and chill for a minimum of 1 hr.

While that's chilling, get the middle layer going.
Beat the butter, using a hand mixer or in a free standing mixer, until light and fluffy.
Gradually beat in the icing sugar until you get a smooth mix.
Add custard powder and cream and beat on low until just combined.
Then increase speed and beat well till you get a light and fluffy mixture.
Spread this evenly on top of the biscuit base.
Cover and chill for another hour or so.
Finally, for the top layer, make a ganache.
Keep the chopped chocolate ready in a bowl.
Bring the double cream to a boil and pour over the chocolate pieces.
Leave to stand for about 2 minutes and then stir well until you get a smooth mix.
Add the melted butter and stir further to get a silky ganache.
Pour this over the butter cream layer and spread as evenly as possible.
Cover and chill until ready to serve.

To prevent the chocolate layer from cracking, take the baking pan out of the refrigerator about 10 minutes prior to slicing. Then run a clean, sharp knife under hot water, wipe dry and slice. It would be far easier and less messier.
Notes: I used our Indian desiccated coconut for this. Was a bit wary about how it would turn out, but it worked out just fine. Feel free to use the one meant for baking.
The original recipe called for walnuts, but since I didn't have any, I used pecans. Any kind of nuts should be fine.
I made the base and chilled it for a whole night. I basically took my own sweet time to do the layers which was a very good idea, because patience is not my thing. I probably would have ruined it, if I made it all the same day.
I sliced them up and stored in a container for a week. It was absolutely fine. 
Make sure you slice them into small pieces, because this is super rich and you don't want to over do with a big piece.


Poornima Nair said...

This is one sinful dessert and they look just perfect! I have it bookmarked since the daring bakers made them a long time ago, but been putting off making them. Definitely too much for two:)...Lovely clicks!!

Hari Chandana P said...

Woww... truly delicious.. Yummy :)
Indian Cuisine

divyagcp said...

Looks so yummy.. Love it..

lubnakarim06 said... this bars....I am hooked to these bars since the time i saw them at Closet Cooking....Simple recipe...yummy outcome...wish i could grab some right now....

Hamaree Rasoi said...

Delicious and mouthwatering bars. Awesome preparation.
Hamaree Rasoi

Plateful said...

I loves bars and slices, sinful but so good! And love, love these pics, feel like reaching out for a slice :)

Purabi Naha said...

This looks awesome!!! I loved the recipe...

Umm Mymoonah said...

Cute and lovely pictures.

Amritha said...

Nice one Nisha! Your photos are just as usual, scrumptious!!! cheers!

Priyanka said...

I saw the pic in FB and was waiting for the looks so yummy. Thanks for the recipe

the Junkie book said...

Hmmm pretty pink and may not be a good idea if i want to make a large batch right? been on the look out for something different on Aby's birthday...not as the centre piece, as eats for kids.

what a sweet name! said...

this looks so tempting n just awesome!u done it perfectly..nice.

Nitha said...

Drool.. But I am sure this will never come out from my kitchen. Just cant imagine the yummy rich ingredients getting all in me..

easyfoodsmith said...

First time at your blog space and fell instantly in love with it.
These bars look very tempting and even more so with the way you presented them. Bookmarked them.

Anonymous said...

The only time I had that kind of moment was when I had Tiramisu for the first time!!
every time I try to make a fudge it sucks .. it never sets and i land up eating like a gooey mess :D

turmericnspice said...

Love the color- so rich and dark , it's really appealing to the dark side of me - all the calories !! It's all worth it, am glad u guys ate it up :)

Ambika said...

Yum!! These look delicious! I have always wanted to make naniamo bars, I should try them soon. Beautiful pics, as always!

My Unfinished Life said...

totally sinful!!!....

Kitchen Boffin said...

picture perfect!looks too sinful n sweet..

Suhaina said...

these bars look truly yummy...i love all the beautiful clicks that u have taken here..which camera do u use dear.hope u dont mind sharing some tips on taking such beautiful photos.

Torviewtoronto said...

dessert looks fabulous