That's what these Nanaimo Bars are.
I am from Canada (born and raised), but I have never actually eaten a Nanaimo Bar before these. Supposedly they are a Canadian classic, but that's news to me! Before moving to the United States (and discovering FoodGawker), I had never even heard of Nanaimo Bars. I'm glad I did eventually, though! Better late than never, I suppose.
So pardon me if these don't taste like any Nanaimo Bar you've tasted. I tried to emulate other recipes but they all varied so drastically. Some use nuts in the base and don't get baked while others use two sticks of butter and are baked until firm. Some fillings use cream cheese while others fillings use cups and cups of powdered sugar. Some prefer a thin layer of chocolate to top it off while others prefer dense, thick layers (like I do... clearly!)
But I tried my best. And they are delicious.
They are soft and chewy, despite the fact that I ate them cold, straight out of the fridge. I think it was the coconut butter. There is something very warm and comforting about these Nanaimo Bars. I think it's because of their large size and substantial height. Or maybe it's because of their seemingly endless supply of chocolate...
I was shocked at how the flavors went so well together. The cluster of ingredients that didn't seem to match very well, surprisingly did. Who woulda thought that "graham crackers," coconut, vanilla custard and chocolate would go well together?
As you can see, the middle layer is soft and gooey (despite this, it never "leaked out," it stayed in the bar). I was aiming at creating more of a "fondant" but that didn't turn out too well... it came out more like a thick (yet tasty), toffee-like paste. My goal was to make these reduced sugar, that is why I didn't go with my classic fondant recipe, but you are more than welcome to use that fondant instead of the filling recipe provided below if you want more of a classic Nanaimo Bar feel. Either way, they are gonna taste great when you make them!
Nanaimo Bars: [no bake, low sugar, high fiber/protein, GF]
(makes 9 large bars or 16 small)
160g (1/2 cup + 2 tbs) Coconut Butter
1/4 cup Light Coconut Milk, canned
14g (2 tsp) Molasses
1 tsp Hazelnut Extract (or vanilla)
1/2 tsp Coconut Extract
1/2 tsp Stevia Extract
1/2 tsp Butter Extract30g (6 tbs) Regular Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Salt
32g (1 scoop) Chocolate Protein Powder
48g (1/2 cup) Old Fashioned Rolled Oats (GF if you like)
Filling: (feel free to use this recipe instead if you want to avoid the gooeyness)
1/2 cup Plain, Nonfat Greek Yogurt96g (1/2 cup) Powdered Erythritol
128g (4 scoops) Vanilla Custard Protein Powder
28g (2 tbs) Coconut Oil, soft
26g (3 tbs) Dried Nonfat Milk
4oz 100% Cacao Unsweetened Chocolate
1/4 cup + 3 tbs Light Coconut Milk
1/4 tsp Stevia Extract
48g (1/4 cup) Powdered Erythritol
Directions (for the crust):
1. Line a brownie pan with parchment paper both ways
2. Melt the coconut butter in a large microwave safe bowl (it took me about 60 seconds total at 30-second intervals)
3. Stir in the coconut milk, and add the molasses and extracts
4. Stir in the salt and cocoa powder. Then, stir in the protein powder. Fold in the oats. Press into the prepared brownie pan (I used a pastry roller. If the filling is sticking to the utensil you are using, wrap your fingers in plastic wrap and press down on the mixture until it reaches all corners and make sure it's level). Refrigerate while you make the filling.
Directions (for the filling):
1. Put the greek yogurt into a medium-sized mixing bowl and add the powdered erythritol, stir until erythritol dissolves
2. Fold in the protein powder with a rubber spatula. When the mixture is thick and sticky, add the coconut oil and fold it in. Add the dried milk and fold that in too (the mixture should be very sticky, so don't touch!). Scoop into the brownie pan and try to level as best as you can with the rubber spatula (it doesn't have to be perfect, it will naturally settle into a level layer). Refrigerate while you make the ganache layer.
Directions (for the ganache layer):
1. Melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl at 30-second intervals, stirring in between each one, until melted
2. Whisk in the coconut milk. When the mixture is even and lighter in color, whisk in the stevia and carefully stir in the powdered erythritol. Pour into the brownie pan and spread by gently shaking the pan back and forth until the ganache reaches the corners. Refrigerate until chocolate is firm, then slice and eat away!
I can finally cross Nanaimo Bars off my Recipe Wishlist!