Nutella Nanaimo Bars
A recent post about regional food brought about a colision of thoughts. While thinking about the Nanaimo Bars I had been writing about, Russell commented that he had never tried Nutella. Why don't I pick some up when I go to the grocery store for Nanaimo Bar ingredients? Nutella, Nanaimo. Nutella, Nanaimo. Nutella Nanaimo Bars!!
The recipe lended itself perfectly to the variation. The base of this Canadian dessert is traditionally a mixture of graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and walnuts bound with an emulsion of butter, sugar, chocolate, and egg. The filling is traditionally (ugh) butter, a whole lot of powdered sugar, milk, and custard powder or vanilla pudding mix. The top layer is simply a thin spread of chocolate.
My variation substituted a cup of nutella for half of the powdered sugar, and I added roasted hazelnuts instead of the walnuts. The hazelnuts left in large chunks added texture and a delicious depth of flavor. By substituting nutella for half the sugar, the filling was not as sugary sweet, and of course, tasted of Nutella. (Who can argue with that?)
Libby remembers the pans of Nanaimo Bars my grandmother used to make often. Libby remembers hating them. But I believe this is a Nanaimo bar even Libby could love. And if Libby looks closely at the picture, she will recognize the pan as the one grandma used to make the Nanaimo bars in. The inside is a deep grid of knife grooves from years of brownie and bar cutting.
The original recipe calls for graham cracker crumbs for the crust, but any cookie crumb of good flavor will do nicely. Perhaps the McVitties Digestives? Or Sable's?
Nutella Nanaimo Bars
9 by 13 inch baking dish, buttered lightly
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
2 oz. dark chocolate
2 tbsp Nutella
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg, beaten
2 cups fine cookie crumbs
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup roasted hazelnuts, broken into large pieces
2 tbsp instand vanilla pudding or custard powder
3 tbsp milk
1/2 cup butter, soft
1 cup nutella
1 cup powdered sugar
8 oz good chocolate
1. Cook the butter, sugar, 2 oz. chocolate, Nutella, and vanilla over a double boiler untill blended. Add the egg while stirring, and cook untill the mixture thickens a bit. This takes about 3 to 5 minutes.
2. Remove from heat, and mix in cookie crumbs, and coconut. The mixture will look a bit dry and crumbly. Evenly spread the crumbly mixture over the pan bottom. Sprinkle the hazelnuts evenly over the crumb mixture and press the mixture firmly with the back of a spoon, or the bottom of a glass. (I used the bottom of a measuring cup.) Chill for 30 minutes.
3. Cream the butter and nutella together untill smooth. Add the pudding powder and the milk to the butter and mix untill smooth. Fold in the powdered sugar, and then beat the mixture untill smooth and light.
4. Spread the nutella cream over the base evenly. Chill for 30 minutes.
5. Melt the chocolate and spread evenly over the nutella cream layer. (It is nice to have a thinner layer of chocolate so the teeth can break through it without expelling all the cream out the sides of the bar.)
6. Chill for 10 minutes, untill chocolate is just set. Score the chocolate in desired portions for ease in cutting later. Return to the fridge and let chocolate set up completely.