Peppermint Nanaimo Bars

Ingredients

Bottom layer

1/2 cup (125 ml) butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup (60 ml) sugar
1/3 cup (85 ml) cocoa
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup (250 ml) graham cracker crumbs
1 cup (250 ml) shredded coconut
1/2 cup (125 ml) finely chopped almonds or pecans

Second layer

1/2 cup (125 ml) butter, at room temperature
3 tbsp (45 ml) cream
2 tbsp (30 ml) custard powder
2 cups icing sugar
1 tsp (5 ml) peppermint extract

Third layer

4 oz (4 squares) semi-sweet or dark chocolate, chopped
2 tbsp (30 ml) butter
1–2 oz (1–2 squares) chopped white chocolate (or about 1/4 cup)
1–2 candy canes, coarsely crushed (optional)

Directions

To make the bottom layer, combine the butter, sugar and cocoa in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, whisking until smooth. Add the egg, stir and cook until it thickens. Remove from the heat and stir in the graham cracker crumbs, coconut and nuts; press into an ungreased 8×8-inch pan.

Beat the butter, cream, custard powder, icing sugar and mint extract until smooth and spreadable—it should have the texture of a fluffy frosting. If not, add a little extra icing sugar or milk until it’s spreadable, then spread over the bottom layer. Refrigerate until firm.

In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate and butter over low heat. Cool slightly, then pour over the second layer, spread until smooth and refrigerate until firm. Melt the white chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave, drizzle overtop, scatter with crushed candy canes and refrigerate until firm.

Makes about 16 squares.

Tip

Bird’s custard powder can be found alongside the puddings and gelatin at the grocery store.

Per square: 334 calories, 22.2 g fat (14.1 g saturated fat, 6.6 g monounsaturated fat, 1.5 g polyunsaturated fat), 50 mg cholesterol, 30.1 g carbohydrate, 3.1 g protein, 2.6 g fibre.

Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, December 2014.

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