I will never outgrow Easter egg hunts. Nor will I ever tire of Nanaimo bars, even though their sweetness level is high enough to turn off a lot of grown ups. How to bump them up a notch? combine the two – hide a few Cadbury’s Easter Creme Eggs in the middle frosting layer. I did this for the Eyeopener this week. Oh yes.
I love how most Canadians lose their minds when they see a Nanaimo bar. Are those NANAIMO BARS?! And yet I don’t know many people who actually make them, despite the fact that they require no oven time, can be made vegan (or gluten-free, for that matter) and (almost) everyone adores them. Even without chocolate eggs hidden inside – next time I’ll add Mini Eggs, and someone suggested I bash them up first for easier slicing and to get flecks of coloured shell throughout the filling – a Nanaimo bar is reminiscent of an Easter Creme Egg. Only – and this is likely the only comparison in which Nanaimo bars win out in this way – not quite as sweet.
I admit I’m a Nanaimo bar purist – I don’t love the mint kind, or the peanut butter kind, or the Oreo kind. I love the Bird’s custard powder in the filling kind, and try to always stay close to the city of Nanaimo’s official Nanaimo bar recipe, but I do like using less crumbs… I sometimes use chocolate crumbs (or a mixture of chocolate + graham, if I have the dregs of both in my baking drawer), which also happen to be vegan. (For gluten free Nanaimo bars, pick up gluten free graham crackers.) Hiding the eggs is easy – no matter what recipe you use, cut the eggs in half lengthwise and set them cut side down on the bottom layer, and spread the frosting over and between. To make them vegan, use Earth Balance or another plant-based spread in place of the butter (and a bit of water in the frosting instead of the cream-you’ll only need 1 Tbsp, depending on which spread you use), and instead of the egg in the base, add a couple tablespoons of Roger’s Golden syrup and/or a spoonful of date puree to help bind it together. For the chocolate top, use dark chocolate (without milk solids) and another spoonful or two of Earth Balance so that it doesn’t crack when you cut it chilled.