Home cooking: Nanaimo Bars!

A dish from my childhood from my native land, Canada.

Asked for an event in Australia to bring something from my country, I was inspired to make these. Luckily, I found a recipe in Australia (since it offered Australian measurement). Matt Preston, judge on Masterchef, reports for Good Food that a reader had found the recipe and sent it in for a special on ‘slices’ (I think we’d call them ‘bars’ in Canada).

I had to ask a few people in Woolworth’s where to find the custard powder, and had to buy an entire box for the two tablespoons that are required (so I have enough left for about 50 recipes). Of the many varieties of cookies (‘biscuits’ here in Australia) that Arnott’s offers, the Granita biscuits I chose worked just fine.

If you’re in North America, you might as well use a North American recipe, and this one offers some history too (and comes from the city of Nanaimo, appropriately).

The Australians at the party I think found them fine, nothing special but certainly not terrible. For me, they bring back a hazy amalgam of memories, bakeries in my home province, the handful of times my family made them, the sense that these were special, because you couldn’t find them elsewhere, and they tasted so good, and were somewhat complicated to make or come across.

And as you can see, while I fretted that they wouldn’t be the same as I remember, I found them absolutely delicious, and while I shouldn’t have eaten all the leftovers myself… Reader. I did.

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