Chocolate mint Nanaimo bars are a delicious no-bake layered treat. Each bite is a tasty balance of texture and flavor featuring a soft minty custard middle sandwiched between chocolate and a coconut-graham crumb base.
Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa and milk in a large sauce pan. Heat the mixture slowly over low heat stirring just until the butter melts and it becomes smooth. Remove from the heat quickly, just prior to all the butter melting.
Stir in the graham cracker crumbs, coconut and walnuts. Use a spatula to spread the base evenly into a 9 x 13 pan (see notes below.) Chill this layer for about 20 minutes. Prepare the middle layer while this chills.
Use a stand mixer or electric hand mixer. Combine the butter, milk, mint extract, custard powder, confectioner's sugar, drops of green food coloring and beat until it is smooth.
Use a spatula to spread this layer on top of the first. Chill for approximately 45 minutes.
Combine chocolate and oil together in a glass mixing bowl. Melt over a double boiler or in the microwave at half power for about 1 minute. Stir frequently just until it is almost completely melted. Remove from the heat and continue stirring until it is fully melted. Spread the melted chocolate over the custard layer and evenly distribute it using a spatula. Work quickly.
Chill the chocolate layer for about 30 minutes. Then using a sharp knife, score the chocolate where you will cut it into bars once it is completely set. Chill for at least another 30 minutes before cutting it into squares.
I'd estimate this recipe to serve approximately 12-18 people. It really depends on how small you cut your squares. Smallish is definitely better as they are sweet. The squares in the photos on the blog were cut on the larger side for dramatic visual effect.
It makes it easier to cut these into squares on a cutting board for nice sharp edges. To do this, I recommend preparing the 9 x 13 pan with a sling. Fold a long piece of aluminum foil in half. Ensure that the length of the foil overhangs over the edges of the pan. Place the foil lengthwise in the middle of the pan. Cut out a piece of parchment paper the same size as the pan and place this on top of the foil. Once the layers are all chilled, use the edges of the overhanging foil to lift up the whole block. Remove the foil and parchment. Then cut the dessert into squares along the areas you've scored on the chocolate.
Nanaimo bars freeze well. Use parchment paper in-between each layer of bars. Use air-tight, freezer safe containers. They will dry out if they are not covered well during storage.
To make these gluten-free use gluten-free graham cracker crumbs or Rice Krispies ground up in a food processor.
Bird's custard powder is often found in either an International section or baking section of the supermarket.
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