Monday, December 31, 2012

Nanaimo bars, reversed!

nanaimo bars

I had my fortune told, or rather I had my cards read (tarot cards to be exact). Apparently, my 2012 was all about endings. Endings and changes. Ain't that the truth!

I think the hardest part of 2012 was taking the plunge and going to culinary school, only to withdraw after the first term. 2012 was the first time that I didn't finish something I started. 2012 was the first time that I called it quits. When I look back at this past year and all the hopes I had for it, 2012 has me completely horrified with the haunting question: "How did I let this happen?"

white chocolate nanaimo bars

2012 tossed me around and made me cry.

2012 made me fight.

2012 was draining.

nanaimo bars

2012 could not have been all bad, and so I have to wonder: where's the silver lining in all this? Cue Bradley Cooper. It can't be all negative, and focusing on all the bad and viewing 2012 as a complete failure isn't very helpful. So, when I look back on 2012, I have to remember that I made so many amazing connections and friends in 2012, and they will undoubtedly have a lasting, positive impression on me. And, as L pointed out to me: 2012 was a struggle, but I survived. I plowed forward despite everything.

Oh, 2012, I don't want to say that I hated you, but I won't deny that I'm glad to finally see you go.

Here's to 2013 and new beginnings. A ten of pentacles full of hope.

Canadian dessert

This Nanaimo bar recipe was originally published in Canadian Living Holiday Special Baking Edition. It was one of those recipes that I saw and was instantly curious about. A typical Nanaimo bar is made up of a dark chocolate/graham/coconut/walnut crust with a sweet, thick custard filling and a dark chocolate top. The reversed Nanaimo bars are kind of opposite to that, so a white chocolate/graham/coconut/almond crust with a deep dark chocolate custard filling and a white chocolate top. Honestly, I think I like the reversed Nanaimo bar variation better than the original. Shocking, but true. I found this version full of flavor and less cloyingly sweet.

Reversed Nanaimo bars

Published: December 31st, 2012, Bake time: 10 minutes
nanaimo bars    Makes 25 squares

For the crust
  • 150 grams (1 1/2 cups) graham cracker crumbs
  • 75 grams (1/2 cup) unsweetened shredded coconut (for a sweeter base, use sweetened)
  • 25 grams (1/4 cup) sliced almonds
  • 30 grams (1/4 cup) white chocolate, chopped (I used Cacao Barry white chocolate)
  • 60 grams (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
For the filling
  • 77 grams (1/3 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 61 grams (2/3 cup) cocoa powder (I used Cacao Barry extra brute)
  • 153 grams (1 1/3 cups) icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp cream
  • 2 tbsp custard powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the white chocolate layer
  • 225 grams white chocolate
  • 1/2 tsp unsalted butter
For the crust:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare an 8x8" pan by lining the bottom with parchment.
  2. In a bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, coconut, almonds and white chocolate. Add the melted butter and mix to combine, then mix in the egg.
  3. Press the crumb mixture into the prepared pan and use a flat-bottomed glass to flatten the crust into an even layer.
  4. Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Place the pan on a wire rack to let the crust cool completely.
For the filling:
  1. When the crust is cooled, make the cocoa filling by beating the butter, cocoa powder, icing sugar, cream, custard powder and vanilla together, first on low, then on medium-high til it's smooth.
  2. Spread the cocoa filling over the cooled graham cracker crust. Cover the pan with foil and refrigerate it to set it, at least 1 hour.
For the white chocolate layer:
  1. When the filling is completely chilled and firm, make the white chocolate topping by melting together the white chocolate with the butter over low heat or in the microwave.
  2. Pour the melted chocolate over the filling and spread it with an offset spatula.
  3. Refrigerate the pan for about 15 minutes to partially set the chocolate, then with a sharp knife, score the chocolate layer into 25 squares to make cutting easier later on.
  4. Refrigerate for another hour or so, until the chocolate is completely hardened.
  5. Cut the squares along the score lines to serve.


  1. I wish you much happier and better New Year 2013! :)

    I have only heard about Nanaimo bars.. In your pictures they look really tempting!

    1. Nanaimo bars are so easy and a great sweet treat! You should definitely give these a shot.