Chocolate Creamsicle Nanaimo Bar (very, very much adapted from the nanaimo bar recipe provided by the City of Nanaimo)
We do our best to eat as locally as we can, but a long winter of apples, mushrooms, and potatoes can break down even the most devoted locavore, and I’m no exception. When J. asked for oranges, I didn’t put up much of a fight. I bought them.
But unfortunately they weren’t very good. Josh tells me that it’s from drought, and I don’t know enough about oranges to dispute him. All I know is that the bag I got was kind of a dud. They looked pretty, but the taste and the texture were lacking. I felt bad for J. and went out and bought him more, but there was still that big mesh bag of oranges in our fridge and something needed to be done with the damn things.
Enter nanaimo bars. I’ve been on a bit of a nanaimo bar kick lately. It’s not just hometown pride - it’s that the things are so freakin’ versatile. If it goes good with chocolate, you can make it into a nanaimo bar and count on it being spectacular. So despite already having a fridge full of praline nanaimo bars, I set out to make myself some more, this time using up J.’s drought-oranges.
I started with this recipe for chocolate covered candied orange peel from Leite’s Culinaria, the only change being not dipping the finished product in chocolate. My theory is that the chocolate in the nanaimo bars is enough and adding more might end up being overkill (while maybe you can’t overdo it on chocolate, you can overdo it on that thick chocolate texture, IMO. If you’ve got a bar with a soft creamy centre, a granular nutty base, and a solid, buttery chocolate top, you should probably end the texture blast with the candied orange peel and forgo adding anything more - too much complexity can be bad). I digress.
The candied orange peel is an optional addition to the following recipe. It adds pretty and it’s a great use of spare oranges, but it’s not entirely necessary. Orange extract and rich, dark Callebaut chocolate are the real stars here. The rest of the ingredients are just holding them together taste-wise, which is exactly what any good nanaimo bar recipe should do.
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 5 tbsp. cocoa
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup graham wafer crumbs
- 1/4 cup finely chopped almonds
- 1 cup coconut
- 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
- 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. cream
- 2 tbsp. vanilla custard powder (I use Bird’s, but use what you have available, including vanilla pudding mix)
- 2 cups icing sugar
- 1 tsp. orange extract
- 1/2 tsp flake salt (like the Canadian Sea Salt from the Vancouver Island Salt Company)
- 4 oz. dark chocolate
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp. orange extract
- Melt the first three ingredients in top of a double boiler. Add the egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, coconut, nuts, and rosemary. Press firmly into an ungreased 8”X8” pan.
- Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together. Beat until light and fluffy. Spread over the bottom layer.
- Melt chocolate and butter over low heat. Add orange extract. Once the chocolate mixture has cooled but is still liquid, pour over the second layer and chill in the refrigerator.
- And if you’ve gone overboard and made the candied orange peel, place it prettily on top. Aw, shucks - that’s gorgeous!
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