Sunday 25 November 2012

Nanaimo Bars

For the last few months I have been craving, absolutely craving, a dessert treat I'd had occasionally in Canada before I moved to Australia. I'd never made it, it was so sweet you'd only ever have the one (or two) piece(s). If I wanted to have it Down Under, my only option was to make it.

It's not a recipe that I'd trust to Googling, and all the ones I came up with just didn't look quite right. Cue a Facebook post asking my Victoria, BC friends for help. Within minutes I had a recipe fromThe Complete Canadian Living Cookbook to start from. (Thanks Helen!!) Yes, I moved to Australia without one of the quintessential cook books of Canada. I'll have to rectify this - and try to replace my out of print Five Roses Cookbook that was lost in a flood years ago.

Nanaimo Bars

The recipe Helen gave me would make a HUGE batch, more than the 5 of us should realistically eat. (Maybe I should have waited a couple weekends, where we'd be going to a summer party...) It's on the fridge waiting for that party in December. The Canadian Living website version of the recipe Helen sent me is subtly different.

Then Diana linked me to a smaller version from the City of Nanaimo webpage. In hindsight, this should have been my starting point, having believed for many many years that Nanaimo Bars had nothing to do with the city, I'd eliminated it as a suspect from the get-go.

Then came hurdle number one. There are no Graham Crackers in Australia. (That I have been able to find here in Canberra.) I bought 3 different types of Arnott biscuits, Marie, the most recommended as a substitute, and because the image on the packaging looked right, Shredded Wheatmeal and Granita.

I had thought I'd divvy the batch into three to test, and decided I'd likely get them mixed up and have to start again. Besides, using one at a time meant more days of experimentation and treats!

Shredded Wheatmeal was Tiger-monkey's choice. Clearly, she knows something I don't. The result was PERFECT. The squares are tiny, but packed with yum. 

Tuesday 6 November 2012

Rainbow(ish) Cupcakes

Normally when I get a hankering to bake - I make C4 - Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. I'm currently on a no caffeine order, and this includes (cry) chocolate. Off to the idea factory (Pinterest) I went. Rainbow Cakes always catches my eye, and it looked simple enough. (It was.) I usually make my cakes from scratch, but lately in favour of getting things done sooner with Tiger-monkey trying to help - I've been using pre-packaged mixes. Today's mix was Butter Cake from Aldi.

I'm loving my gel dyes.
Tiger-monkey gets so excited when I go into the kitchen area - I'm guessing because she knows I make the treats in the household. (My husband makes the sustenance. He's far better at it than I am.) It may also be because I don't chase her out of the kitchen when I am working - I'm not using sharp things, or working with fire. Just stuff that makes a lot of mess. It may also be because chasing her out wouldn't work, she's inquisitive, and we always have someone run interference at dinner time. Trying to keep her hands off the cupcake liners is trouble enough!

Some I just dropped the batter in, others I tried to smooth it around. 
The red was much more RED than the pictures show. The blue was very vibrant, and the green was just amazing. The purple was a let down - maybe I didn't use enough or this particular purple isn't the purple I thought it was.

Next time green is on top. Just cause.
The two I selected fopr snacktime had very different patterns - the one in the green bowl below I think had the purple and green evenly layered, red dropped in, and blue nicely layered on top. The blue bowl you can almost see the pattern made by the purple, green and red being added in neat layers, and the blue just dropped in. If I felt like standing for longer, I'm sure I could come up with some interesting patterns.

Snack treat time!