Not only is the origin of Nanaimo Bars a hot topic of debate, the bars themselves are still hot as a favourite Canadian treat. Since the 1950's, endless variations have included Minted, Grand Marnier, Cherry, Pina Colada, Mocha, Peanut Butter and Orange. I have not seen a Raspberry Nanaimo Bar, and found that raspberry liqueur added a touch of elegance to this familiar three-layered bar cookie. (From A Taste of Canada - A Culinary Journey by Rose Murray, 2008)
- 1 1/2 cups graham wafer crumbs
- 1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
- 1/2 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts
- 2/3 cup unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 2 tbsp seedless raspberry jam
- 2 cups icing sugar
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 tbsp raspberry liqueur
- 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp liqueur
- Grease an 8-inch square baking pan and line with parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch extending over two edges for handles for handles. Set aside.
- Base: In a large bowl, stir together the crumbs, coconut and walnuts; set aside.
- In a saucepan, heat the butter, cocoa and sugar over low heat, stirring until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat and whisk in the egg. Add to the crumbs and stir until well mixed. Press evenly, into the prepared pan and bake in a 350 F oven for 10 minutes. Cool on a rack. Spread the raspberry jam in a thin layer overtop.
- Filling: In a bowl, beat half the icing sugar with the butter. Beat in the liqueur along with the remaining icing sugar. Spread over the cooled base.
- Topping: In a bowl over a saucepan of hot (not boiling) water, melt the chocolate (no need to chop) with the butter, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat, and stir in the liqueur. Spread over the filling. Refrigerate until the chocolate topping is firm. Let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes to soften slightly. Using the paper handles, lift out of the pan and cut into bars. The bars can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
Makes 16 bars