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!