Friday, December 4, 2009
Ah, December! The time of year when I can bake lots and lots of cookies. I have a list of cookies that I want to make, all favorites that I remember from childhood and beyond. My original plan was to make “12 Days of Cookies” but we’ll see if that happens. Of course, if I did the 12 days of Christmas right, I would start posting on December 25 and end on January 6. Since most people are done with the sweets of Christmas by the new year, that probably won’t work. So I’ll make a bunch of cookies now and share them with you as I make them.
Nanaimo is a town in British Columbia, Canada, which isn’t too far from where I live. I’ve actually been to Nanaimo once (to catch a ferry), but I am much more familiar with Nanaimo Bars. I don’t know how regional these are, but they are fairly common in the Seattle area. They do vary somewhat. I’ve found different recipes, but the one I am using here is fairly standard, with a graham cracker crust, custard filling, and a chocolate topping. When you buy them in a coffee shop, they are usually quite thick, but I like these since they are nice and thin.
These layered no-bake cookies take a little bit of patience, but overall they come together without too much effort. You have to be careful when you are assembling the layers. The custard layer has to be spread fairly thin, so take your time with this. I ended up adding a little extra heavy cream to that layer because it was just too thick! These cut easily if you use a knife that’s been dipped on hot water. These thin little bars are very rich, so cut them small!
½ cup butter, melted
¼ firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 egg whites, slightly beaten
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
½ cup chopped pecans
2 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons butter, softened
¼ cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons custard powder
2/3 cup chocolate chips
4 tablespoons butter
Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper, allowing the paper to hand over the sides. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the melted butter, brown sugar, cocoa powder, egg whites, graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and pecans. Mix completely. Press firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Freeze for 30 minutes.
For the second layer, combine the powdered sugar, softened butter, cream and custard powder. Stir until smooth; mixture will be stiff. Spread evenly on top of the graham cracker layer. Refrigerate while making the topping.
For the top layer, melt the chocolate chips and butter, either in the top of a double boiler or in the microwave. Spread the chocolate mixture on top of the other layers and refrigerate until cold.
Grasp the parchment paper and lift the cookies from the pan, and then cut into bars.
Recipe from Nordstrom Friends and Family Cookbook