Sunday, 6 December 2009

Trying to get ready for Christmas...

I'm having trouble getting into the Christmas thing this year.  It could be the nice weather.  It could be that there are more interesting things going on in my life.  It could be that I just really, really don't want to face the yearly trudge to the Toys"R"Us website to get angry about how condescending toys for little girls are.

We got out the tree.  Our cool fiberoptics have burned out.

We tried shopping.  It required a 2-hour nap to recover, and we didn't manage to buy any gifts.

Finally, I decided to make Nanaimo bars: a very, very Canadian Christmas tradition.  And one of my few skills (making them, I mean). 

Since every year someone ends up calling me asking for my recipe, here it is:

1/2 cu. butter or margarine
1/4 cu. white sugar
5 Tbs. cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
2 cu. graham cracker crumbs (I use crushed digestive biscuits in Britain)
1 cu. coconut
1/2 cu. walnuts (I usually skip this)

Combine everything up to and including the egg.  Put it in the microwave and cook (stirring frequently) until it has the consistency of custard.  Then mix in the other ingredients, and press into a 9x9" pan.

Make vanilla frosting/icing as you usually do, but add 2 Tbs. of custard powder.  Spread over the base.

1/8 cu. butter / margarine
1 cu. chocolate

Melt the chocolate and butter.  Spread over the frosting.  Let solidify partially, and then cut into 1" squares.

Keep in mind the better the extremes between the bitterness of the chocolate layers and the sweetness of the frosting layer, the better they seem to go over!

To add a bit of a quilting flavour, when I made these for the Cambridge Quilter's Summer dinner, an elderly lady took the last one and wandered around the rooms asking, "Who made this?".  I admitted to it with trepidation, but she sat down next to me and demanded the recipe.  They really are that good!



  1. By the way, icing sugar is definitely needed to make icing as it turns out. Duh. Anyhoo...

    A deep dish pie crust

    1 lb ground beef
    1 lb ground pork
    1 lb ground venison (if no venison around, substitute with pork/beef)
    Lots of pepper

    Cover with water and boil gently, stirring occasionally to ensure meat is broken into small bits, and cooked.

    Skim off foam, strain water off

    Dice one onion
    3 cloves garlic

    Mix, add more pepper.
    2 tsp Mustard powder
    2 tsp cloves
    6 tbsp beef stock
    2 tbsp worchestershire (or however you spell it) sauce

    Put into pie dish, if you don't have enough liquid in it to feel/see it slosh around, than the Tortiere will be really dry. Some people add bread crumbs to keep the moisture).

    cover with more pastry
    Cook at 350 for 1 hr

    Enjoy with piles and piles of ketchup!!

  2. I understand completely the difficulty of getting into the holiday spirit. Sometimes I think we've turned it into an ordeal we have to "get thru" instead of experience. BUT, wait till you have a little one to share it with. It will be magical and special, and never again an ordeal... :-)