Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Oh No Nanaimo!

Perhaps my first mistake was not following my friend Sam's recipe for Nanaimo Bars. After all, as a native Canadian (from Vancouver), she should know her Nanaimo Bars. Instead, I trusted my friend Dori, a native New Yorker (from the Bronx), to supply me with a recipe for the famous British Columbia treats.

I'm not sure what my second mistake was, but clearly I made one because the bottom layer of the bars I produced pretty much crumbled in my hands. And the middle layer was just an ooey gooey mess of sickeningly sweet goop.

I can't blame Dori since she was just trying to make my life easier by presenting me with an Americanized version of the Nanaomo Bar (translated by Kraft). After all, I could barely decipher Sam's recipe, which called for vanilla custard powder. It took me several days before I realized that custard powder is the same as instant pudding.

Since I didn't have any Graham Cracker Crumbs around the house, I had fun crumbling graham crackers by hand. Ditto for the walnut pieces, which I smashed to bits with a potato masher. So it was a good recipe for working through any excess aggression.

I also liked the fact that I didn't need to use the oven for this recipe. Otherwise, I'd say it was pretty much a disaster.

The middle layer -- which consists of dry pudding mix, softened butter and powdered sugar, was sickeningly sweet (not surprisingly, that was the girls' favorite part). The bottom layer was a crumbly mess and the top layer was too bitter (I mistakenly used bittersweet chocolate instead of semi-sweet).

Jesse and Ruby enjoyed squeezing out the inner goop, dipping their fingers in the mess and then licking it off. But even they lost interest when it came to the chocolate.

I forced Avo to try just one bite.

"Well, it's better than anchovies," he said. Avo hates anchovies.

This morning I was about to dump the messy creation in the trash, but Jesse asked me to hang on to it so she could play with it after-school. So I may not have succeeded at creating a delicious dessert, but I did make an after-school activity!

After a heavy week of baking, I am getting heavier by the minute. I think it's time to get back to some lentil and bulgur dishes!


Bernie Bernstein said...

It's Me, Mom - Maybe you should have tried my Apple Coffee Cake after all.

Tell Avo that I hate anchovies also, but Dad loves them.

Undomesticated Me said...

I think I'll make your coffee cake for Dori's Hanukkah party.

Kathy N. said...

Ooohhhh...that looks pretty bad. These bars might fall into a very unique category: candy. These items are tricky because they involve different temperatures and textures.

I think I take for granted how many mistakes I used to make (and still make) when baking. When I was 10 years old I made the same "Wacky Cake" recipe 6 times. I made 6 DIFFERENT mistakes. On the 7th time I got it right.

Good luck with the cake!

Muffy Sainte-Marie said...

Oh nooooooo!!! I blame it on Kraft. Apologies to Dori, but no way can Kraft get the Nanaimo Bar right, no WAY! F*^k the corporatization of the Nanaimo Bar! What you have there is Nanaimo Bar ANARCHY!! Nanaimo Bars around the world unite! Just say NO to big American corporate co-opting of your little choco-creamy Canadian souls!!!
I've never made them myself (always relied on mom's) - I'll give it a shot this weekend and keep you posted! xoxo

Dori said...

While I will not defend the recipe, which I have not made and could care less about defending anyhow, for the record this recipe comes from Kraft's kraftcanada site, developed by Canadians. Sorry it didn't work out--rate and review and let them know!

Thankfully I get Mom's coffee cake...hehehe

Undomesticated Me said...

I'm beginning to think I might have made a mistake with this one (aside from not using Sam's recipe). Perhaps I didn't leave the middle layer in the fridge long enough before topping with chocolate. Either way, the center layer (butter, confectioner's sugar and dry vanilla pudding mix) was too sweet for me! Once again, mom was right. Let's hope I have more luck with the coffee cake.