Thursday, 18 August 2011

A bit of baking

Every so often I get inspired to bake.  When I was first on maternity leave (just before I had Penelope) it was cookies and then, for Penelope's christening, it was cupcakes.  All recipes coming from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook.  The only problem is really that baking is not particularly compatible with Slimming World.  Baking + lack of willpower = a weight gain rather than loss!

Having watched "The Great British Bake Off" this week I was inspired to make something again.  Paul had seen a recipe in one of the Sunday magazines recently and had been on at me to make it.  This added to the fact that the MM are coming round tomorrow with the kids meant that yesterday I made Mocha-top Nanaimo Bars:

Biscuit base:
150g unsalted butter melted plus extra for greasing the tin
100g digestives broken into pieces (I used gluten free digestives so Jo could partake tomorrow too)
60g walnut pieces
40g cocoa powder
100g golden caster sugar
80g dessicated coconut
2 medium eggs, beaten

Custard cream:
100g unsalted butter softened
2 tbsp custard powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
250g icing sugar
2 tbsp milk

Mocha top:
150g dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
25g unsalted butter
4 tbsp strong black coffee

1. Preheat oven to 180c.  Butter a 23cm square cake tin.
2. Whizz the digestives and walnut pieces to crumbs in a food processor.  Add the cocoa powder and sugar, whizz again and transfer to a large bowl.
3. Mix in the coconut, the melted butter and beaten eggs and stir until combined.  Transfer the mixture to the tin, level off and bake for 15 minutes then leave to cool.
4. Using an electric whisk, whisk the butter for the custard cream filling in a large bowl for about a minute until pale and fluffy.  Whisk in the custard powder and vanilla extract and then the icing sugar.  Once the mixture appears crumbly add the milk and continue to mix until it becomes pale and moussey.  Spread over the biscuit base and chill for about an hour until set.
5. For the top layer, break the chocolate and melt it with the butter over a pan containing a little simmering water.  Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in the coffee.  It may separate but keep mixing until the mixture is smooth and glossy.
6. Smooth the chocolate mixture over the custard cream.  Loosely cover with clingfilm and chill for several hours until set.
7. Cut the bars about 3cm wide and half the width of the tin.  They keep for several days and are best served chilled.

Apparently this is a variation on a Canadian national treasure (Nanaimo refers to a town and, slightly coincidentally I read a book recently where this town featured) that, so the story goes, can be traced back to the 1950s when the original recipe came first in a competition held by the local WI.

Here's what they should have looked like

And here's what they actually turned out like - I didn't have quite the right sized pan!

Although this is only half of them - the rest are on another plate!  Paul thought they were "awesome" but I doubt they would be up to Mary Berry's exacting standards.  Let's hope the girls enjoy them tomorrow although I think I might have to send them home with some too - it's either that or risk ruining the diet completely :)

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