I said this to one of my nephews this week and he looked at me with the face that said, “Oh Auntie Kar….”. Jason and I had great intentions of posting delicious holiday cookies and New Year’s party bites, however cooking, family and fun conspired to monopolize our time. For Christmas Day dinner, my sister and I cooked the best organic chickens from my friend’s farm; a farm that doubles as a recovery centre. Roasted brussels sprouts, southern sweet potatoes, maple glazed carrots and a simple stuffing completed our meal. We had piles of homemade cookies and bars and boxes of chocolates to get through. I also hosted five other holiday parties and meals for which I cooked and baked everything from scratch and by January 2nd I was totally exhausted. Via skype, my brother showed off the 15lb prime rib he was cooking for the parents, along with a magnum of champagne. We all giggled as Jason tweeted a live feed of his wife baking macarons – especially when she yelled, “Steward!” from their kitchen. The macarons were utterly picture perfect by the way!
We are both settling into new projects this year and we’re getting ready to bring you new ideas, tips and tricks – once again bringing Michelin Star cooking home. A new set of knives and a digital, red kitchen scale were my favourite gifts. I know it’s a bit late, but if you make a pan or two of these Nanaimo Bars now…..you don’t have to share them!
This makes 2 pans (why would you settle for just one pan?).
2 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 cup sweetned flaked coconut
2/3 cup finely chopped walnut
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup butter, melted
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Butter 2 9-inch square metal cake pans. Pre-heat oven to 350. Mix together graham crumbs, coconut, walnuts, cocoa powder and sugar. Add melted butter and eggs and stir until combined. Divide the crumb mixture evenly and press into the prepared pans. Bake for approximately 10 minutes. Set aside and let cool completely.
3/4 cup butter
6 tbsp custard powder
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
5-6 cups sifted icing sugar
4-7 tbsp milk
Use your mixer for this if you have one – the custard filling will be lighter and fluffier. Beat together butter, custard powder and vanilla until fairly smooth. Beat in one cup of icing sugar followed by a tablespoon of milk. Alternate until smooth, adding a little more milk if too thick to spread. The filling should be pale yellow and fluffy. Spread over cooled base; refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate
2 tbsp butter
Use a double boiler or the microwave to melt your chocolate and butter. If I am really honest, I sometimes just melt the chocolate in one of my All-Clad pots, directly over the heat. Make sure the chocolate is smooth and shiny. Immediately spread over filling and refrigerate until almost set, about 30 minutes. It’s best to cut them when cold. You’ll probably eat too many, it’s just the way it is.
Coming up! Valentine’s Day Help for the guys and Jana’s famous Macarons!