Nanaimo Bars

Christmas is this weekend! Whoa.

Have I told you that I work in a shopping mall? Well, I do. While I’m going to school I work in a bookstore so that I can pay for college, but it’s more than that. I really like the people I work with, I like talking to customers about books AND I get a mad discount. So things are usually good.

As you know it is currently the holiday season, so this is the time of year where going to work is not so fun. Customers can be angry, rude, and plain and simply crazy! If we don’t have a book they are looking for many of them freak out. Here is some stuff I hear on a daily basis:

Customer: “Five cents for a bag? I donate to enough charities and don’t need to donate to yours”.
My thoughts: I don’t care.

Customer: “Why the hell are you selling books at the Canadian price when the American dollar is at par”?
My thoughts: I don’t make the prices, the publishers do.

Customer: “I’m looking for a book. It’s blue”.
My thoughts: ?

Customer: “I ordered that book a week ago and now it won’t make it for Christmas? I need it NOW”.
My thoughts: Stop last minute shopping.

There are nice customers too. There always are, and of course they usually out number the crazy ones. But it’s the crazy ones that I remember because they’re so ridiculous! People just need to relax. Sit down, have a coffee, and breathe. When I’m stressed I like to run. And when I’m not running I like to bake. It’s a vicious cycle.

I love these nanaimo bars. I was never really into the whole nanaimo thing until I went to my boyfriend’s Grandma’s house back in October and she served these. I fell in love and added them to my Christmas baking list as soon as I got home. The center is more of a buttercream, but still has that custard texture. The crust is buttery and soft and will blow your mind! I hope you enjoy these. I did. My thighs not so much.

Let’s start with the crust. Melt together the butter, brown sugar, and cocoa. I did mine in a pot, but a microwave or a double broiler would be great too!

Beat the egg, and quickly whisk it into the hot chocolate mixture. You need to add the egg slowly and keep the whisk moving, otherwise you will have scrambled eggs! Mix in the graham crackers, coconut, and walnuts.

Press the crust into an 8×8 pan that has been lined with parchment. Put the crust into the fridge to chill for a half hour. I hate waiting.

Cream together the powdered sugar, butter, and custard powder. Add the cream slowly, and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Spread the cream layer evenly over the crust. Back in the fridge for another half hour or so.

Melt together the butter and chocolate (either a double boiler or microwave) and pour over the chilled cream layer. Put the pan back in the fridge for it to set up.

Cut into small squares (since they are really rich) and keep in the fridge until ready to serve. Enjoy!

Namaimo Bars
Makes enough for an 8×8-inch pan
Recipe adapted from Baked Bree

Ingredients
Crust:
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 Tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Middle Layer:
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup room temperature butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 Tablespoons custard powder

Chocolate layer:
3 ounces (1/3 cup) chocolate chips
1/4 cup (1 stick) butter

Instructions
Crust:
Start with the crust. Melt together the butter, brown sugar, and cocoa. I did mine in a pot, but a microwave or a double broiler would be great too!

Beat the egg, and quickly whisk it into the hot chocolate mixture. You need to add the egg slowly and keep the whisk moving, otherwise you will have scrambled eggs!

Mix in the graham crackers, coconut, and walnuts. Press the crust into an 8×8 pan that has been lined with parchment. Put the crust into the fridge to chill for a half hour.

Buttercream Layer:
Cream together the powdered sugar, butter, and custard powder. Add the cream slowly, and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Spread the cream layer evenly over the crust. Back in the fridge for another half hour or so.

Chocolate Topping:
Melt together the butter and chocolate (either a double boiler or microwave) and pour over the chilled cream layer. Put the pan back in the fridge for it to set up.

Cut into small squares (since they are really rich) and keep in the fridge until ready to serve.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

I love when things go right. You know? Like when you do well on that test you studied so hard for? Or even better – you change your hair colour and get a happy surprise when you look in the mirror. I love that. Seriously. Sometimes I want to take my hair stylist out for a fancy dinner and shower her in gifts.

These cookies went right into my mouth. Not only are they totally cute, but they crackled perfectly while baking AND had the chewiest, fudgiest, center! A total success and a new favorite cookie of mine.

So, add these to your holiday baking list! Because you like it when things go right too. I can feel it.

Let’s begin, shall we? In a medium bowl, mix together cocoa, white sugar, and vegetable oil.

Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt and stir it into the cocoa mixture. Cover dough, and chill for at least 4 hours. Waiting is stupid…but necessary.

Roll dough into one inch balls with lightly oiled palms (you can use a cookie scoop to portion the dough, a tablespoon or a rounded teaspoon depending on what size you like).

Coat each ball in confectioners’ sugar before placing onto prepared cookie sheets.

Ok, now that’s just pretty…

Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Let stand on the cookie sheet for a minute before transferring to wire racks to cool. Enjoy everyone!

Chocolate Crinkle Cookie
Recipe adapted from 17 and Baking
Makes 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

Directions
In a medium bowl, mix together cocoa, white sugar, and vegetable oil. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into the cocoa mixture. Cover dough, and chill for at least 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Roll dough into one inch balls with lightly oiled palms (you can use a cookie scoop to portion the dough, a tablespoon or a rounded teaspoon depending on what size you like).

Coat each ball in confectioners’ sugar before placing onto prepared cookie sheets.

Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes.

Let stand on the cookie sheet for a minute before transferring to wire racks to cool.

Christmas Baking – Buckeyes

WARNING if you want to consume mass amounts of peanut butter and chocolate immediately this post is not for you. You must let the dough set for a couple of hours in the fridge before the chocolate dipping begins. Life is hard.

It’s Christmas baking time. I have been thinking and re-thinking my baking list non-stop this year. I’m. So. Excited!! Every post this month will be something from my Christmas baking list. The list I have contains easy recipes that I bake every year for the holidays, all of which are freezable. For my first post I thought I’d share my Buckeye recipe with you. This recipe comes from my sister’s Grandma (yes, my parents are divorced) who bakes up a storm every year.

To begin, grab some peanut butter (2 cups to be exact).

Put that peanut butter in a bowl along with 4 1/2 cups of icing sugar, a stick of butter, and 1 tsp of vanilla.

Mix all the ingredients together and put your bowl in the fridge. Yes, I switched bowls (this one was smaller for my fridge).

Now is the sad part – you have to wait to roll the peanut butter goodness into balls. I always make this recipe the night before the chocolate dipping, but if you like things done NOW, it’s ok! You can refrigerate the dough for 4 hours or so, and it is still fine. Once you have waited for your dough to cool, you can roll it into 1-inch balls. Set them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and insert a toothpick into each ball.

Now you have to wait again. Really? Yes, really. You want perfect buckeyes remember?! Chill your balls (tee hee) in the freezer until hard, approximately 30 minutes. While the dough is in the freezer melt your chocolate chips and shortening over medium heat. Remove the pan from heat.

Dip balls in chocolate and place back on cookie sheet.

Refrigerate (again) until chocolate is set, approximately 2 hours. And now, the good part. Eat your heart out beautiful. You deserve it.



Grandma’s Buckeye’s
Makes 40 peanut butter balls

Ingredients:
Balls
2 cups peanut butter
4 1/2 cups icing sugar
½ cup (1 stick) butter
1 tsp vanilla

Chocolate dip
4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup shortening

Directions:
1. Mix together the “balls” ingredients, and refrigerate overnight, or for at least 4 hours.
2. Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Set them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and insert a toothpick into each ball. Chill in freezer until hard, approximately 30 minutes.
3. Melt chocolate chips and shortening over medium heat. Remove the pan from heat. Dip balls in chocolate and place back on cookie sheet. Refrigerate until chocolate is set, approximately 2 hours.