Nanaimo Bars Activity

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Updated on Sep 6, 2012

The home of the 2010 Winter Games is also the birthplace of the Nanaimo bar, a popular Canadian cookie named after the city of Nanaimo. Luckily, you don’t have to be Canadian to enjoy such rich and tasty treats! These layered, no-bake bars are super easy-to-make, but sure to impress even the most discerning sweet tooth! Let your budding chef develop his culinary skills as well as his patience as he follows this simple—but multi-stage—recipe. Make a batch to enjoy as the excitement of the Winter Olympics unfolds!

What You Need:

  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1-1/2 cups crushed graham crackers
  • 3/4 cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate

What You Do:

For the bottom layer:

  1. Ask him to grease a 9 x 9-inch baking pan.
  2. Have him combine 1/2 cup butter with granulated sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and egg in a saucepan.
  3. Urge him to stir the mixture constantly over low heat, until the butter melts and the mixture thickens.
  4. Invite him to stir in the graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and walnuts; mix well.
  5. Time to get your hands dirty! Show him how to press the mixture into the bottom of the baking pan.

For the filling:

  1. Beat together ¼ cup softened butter, powdered sugar, pudding mix, and milk until creamy.
  2. Help him spread the filling mixture over graham cracker layer in the baking pan.
  3. Refrigerate for 30–60 minutes, or until chilled and firm.

For the top layer:

  1. Over low heat, melt the semi-sweet chocolate and 1 tablespoon butter in a saucepan.
  2. Ask him to smooth the chocolate mixture over the filling layer in the baking pan.
  3. Refrigerate until the chocolate topping is firm.
  4. Cut into squares and enjoy!

Nanaimo bars are made with infinite variations in terms of ingredients and flavors. Encourage him to get creative with this basic recipe, and you two can develop your own favorite! For example, try adding peppermint extract to the filling, use almonds instead of walnuts, or top them with milk chocolate instead of semi-sweet chocolate.

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