Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Peppermint Patty Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo bars. How could you NOT make these--I mean, look at how fricking awesomely goopy and tasty Melissa's version looks. *Sugar coma-ed sigh*

Granted, I *DID* end up making some modifications, basically just to Christmas-ify them. And the white sugary layer did not come out thick like the one pictured on Melissa's Vegan Blog, but I suspect this is mostly just because I don't have a hand-held mixer and have to resort to using a food processor to satisfy all my hand-held mixing needs. But I have to say, despite the fact that I was initially disappointed with regard to the consistency, after actually *tasting* my pepperminty variation (one that tastes strikingly similar to a peppermint patty--also fitting for the X-mas season...), I can't really complain one bit.

They are uber-minty, refreshing, and sugary as all get-out. They were also very popular, so I definitely recommend. The recipe doesn't make a ton, but they are extremely rich--so trust me, it makes enough.


Bottom Layer:
  • 3/8 c. (6 T.) vegan nonhydrogenated margarine

  • 2 T. water

  • 1/4 c. vegan white sugar

  • 1 3/4 c. vegan graham cracker crumbs

  • 3/8 c. (6 T.) cocoa powder

  • 1 c. shredded unsweetened coconut

  • egg substitute equivalent of 1 egg

  • 1/2 c. finely chopped walnuts

Middle Layer (peppermint frosting):
  • 1/8 c. + 2 t. vegan nonhydrogenated margarine

  • 5/8 t. vanilla extract

  • 3/8 t. peppermint extract (may want to adjust the ratio of vanilla to peppermint a bit if you're not super-fond of peppermint--these are VERY pepperminty)

  • 1 T.+ 1 t. soy milk

  • 2 1/2 c. powdered sugar

Top Layer (chocolate ganache):

  • 1 T. vegan nonhydrogenated margarine

  • 5 squares (5 oz. total) Baker's unsweetened chocolate

  • 1 ungreased 8 x 8 square pan

  • 1 candy cane, smashed


Bottom layer:

Combine graham crumbs, coconut and walnuts in a mixing bowl & stir well. Put vegan margarine in a saucepan evenly along the bottom. Heat gently until it begins to melt. Add sugar and cocoa and melt on low heat and stir.

When the sugar & cocoa have dissolved, remove from heat. Add in the egg substitute and the 2 T. water and stir to blend the chocolaty mix evenly. Add the mixture of graham crumbs, coconut and walnuts. Mix well. Press this mixture firmly into the bottom of the 8x8 square pan. (Pressing it well is very important, so don't be afraid to use your hands). Refrigerate to chill while you prepare the middle layer.

Middle layer:

Combine the vegan margarine, vanilla extract, peppermint extract, and soy milk. Microwave for a minute to heat. While this mixture is still hot, put it in a food processer and gradually begin to add the confectioner's sugar. (Alternately, you could follow the original directions and use a handheld mixer to blend the two--you may get better results. With the food processer, you will get a consistency that's like an oozier version of the inside of a peppermint patty--no fluff.) When you're done, it should be thick enough that it doesn't seem to ooze around in the food processer. You will need it at least that thick to keep it from oozing off the bottom layer.

Take the bottom layer out of the refrigerator. Use a spatula to spread the filling over the bottom layer. Don't start the top layer until you are done with the middle.

Top layer:

Break the five chocolate squares in two. Coat bottom of a saucepan (or double boiler) with 1 T. vegan margarine. Heat gently until it begins melting. Add unsweetened chocolate and melt on low heat. As soon as it is evenly melted, remove from heat and pour immediately on top of the bars, spreading with a spatula. Before the top hardens, sprinkle your crushed candy cane all in the chocolate for decoration.

The contrast between the super-sweetness of the middle and the dark, bitter chocolate is key. Chill the bars in the refrigerator or freezer until the chocolate ganache hardens. Cut into 16 2" squares. At this point they are ready to serve, or you can freeze them ahead of time; they freeze very well. Serve chilled at room temperature. Enjoy.

Makes 16 small but very rich, sinful servings

(Original recipe HERE)

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