Now that we are nearing the end of August, it’s finally gotten warm in the Seattle area. After last summer’s record heat, I can’t say that I’m too sad that this summer has been much more normal, even a bit chilly at times. This week we have had temperatures in the 80s and the 90s are predicted. Most places don’t think that’s a big deal, but it is here where so few homes have air conditioning. It’s not so fun to bake when it is 85 degrees in the house.
I typically try to find a couple of no-bake recipes to have on hand, when it is so hot. One of my favorites is Nanaimo Bars. I visited Nanaimo last summer and we had a great time. It’s a sleepy little town on Vancouver Island, BC. They had Nanaimo everything there: fudge, martinis, cake, cheesecake, anything you can think of. I like a traditional Nanaimo bar, but the filling lends itself to lots of variations.
I find that many Nanaimo bar recipes aren’t really Nanaimo bars. They have to have custard powder in the filling. Not pudding mix. They need to have three layers: a base, a custard powder filling of some sort, and a chocolate top. The base varies a little, and this one was different in that you do bake it for a few minutes. This filling started out as an eggnog filling, but that doesn’t work for August, so I just kept the rum! Scoring the bars just before the chocolate set was brilliant and the bars cut so much easier. These have a good rum flavor and the only downfall is that the chocolate melts a bit on your hands since the weather’s so warm.
Rum Nanaimo Bars
1⁄2 cup butter
1⁄2 cup sugar
1⁄3 cup cocoa powder
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg, lightly beaten
1⁄2 cup coconut
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1⁄2 cup butter, room temperature
3 tablespoons custard powder
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons rum
2 tablespoons milk
1 tsp vanilla
3⁄4 cup chocolate chips
4 teaspoons coconut oil or shortening
Make the base: Line a 9” square pan with foil and spray the foil with cooking spray.
Make the base: Preheat oven to 325. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt over low heat, stirring until smooth. Allow the mixture to cool slightly. Stir in the egg, coconut, and graham cracker crumbs. Spread the mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the base is set. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes.
Make the filling: in a large mixer bowl, beat the butter, custard powder, and salt until light. Add the rum, milk, and vanilla and stir until the mixture is smooth. If the filling is too runny, add up to an additional ½ cup of powdered sugar. Spread the mixture over the base and refrigerate for one hour.
Make the chocolate topping: in a small microwaveable bowl, combine the chocolate chips and coconut oil. Microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, until the mixture is smooth. Spread the chocolate evenly over the refrigerated bars.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes, and then score the bars into sections. Scoring the bars just before the chocolate is fully set will make cutting easier. Refrigerate for an additional 20-30 minutes, until the chocolate is fully set.
Lift the bars from the pan and peel away the foil. Using the scored lines, cut into bars. Refrigerate leftovers.
Recipe from House & Home