Tag Archives: Coconut

Nanaimo Bars

3 Jul

On July 1st, 1867 the three British Colonies to the north of the United States (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Province of Canada) united to form the country we all now know and love called, Canada. On July 1st of every year, the anniversary of Canada’s birth is celebrated all over Canada in a similar fashion to how the United States celebrates their Independence from the British: food, fireworks, parades and sensational nationalism. This day, formerly known as “Dominion Day,” is now simply called, “Canada Day” or, if you’re French Canadian, “Fête du Canada.” Whatever you call it, it’s an excuse to throw a party, eat, drink, and generally be merry — even if, like me, you aren’t the tiniest bit Canadian.

Canadians are great at many, many things. Don’t ask me what those things are, though because I haven’t the slightest clue — I’m American. I’m a New Englander. We are basically raised to think that English speaking Canada isn’t really a “big deal.” But here’s what I do know about Canada: they are better at providing healthcare for their citizens, many great bands are from there, they are good at hockey even though they lost the Stanley Cup to the Boston Bruins this year. Most relatedly though, their cuisine is somewhat of a hodgepodge of the beauty of French cuisine, the drabby goodness of English cuisine, and the “whateverness” of American cuisine.

Over the past few months I have been fortunate enough to befriend some real live Canadians. Well, I mean, as “real” as one can be when they’re from Niagara Falls, which is practically upstate New York. I’m just being cheeky. Jokes about their hometowns and funny accents aside (they actually really do pronounce things properly — PS: that’s a word they seem to like to say a lot), these Canadians are pretty great and proper folks. And lucky for me, they’re all vegan! So, when I was invited to a small, impromptu gathering centered around celebrating this wonderful country’s birth with authentic persons, I gladly accepted. And I agreed to do something pretty scary — feed Canadians something Canadian. I thought, “Well as long as I center the dish around sugar, nothing can go wrong.” And so that’s what I did. I baked, rather — un-baked, because Nanaimo bars, one of Canada’s most famous desserts, don’t require baking.

I’m not sure I can tell you very much about Nanaimo bars other than that they are easy to make, fun to make, fun to eat, deliciously messy (see photos) and very hard to resist. Basically, they’re a three layer bar of glorious unapologetic indulgence. The bottom layer is a chocolate, cookie, coconut, and nut base, the middle is a layer of sweet vanilla pudding, the top is just all-out chocolate. Yeah, it’s like celebrating Canada Day in your mouth. The best part is, you don’t even have to be skilled at Canadian cuisine to make them or enjoy them and it doesn’t have to be Canada Day! I can’t really testify to much else about how amazing these bars are so, you’ll just have to make them and see for yourself! I can say this though: there were six of us and less than half were left after 5 minutes. You do the math.

Because vegan graham crackers are hard to find, I used vanilla snaps that happened to be vegan. You could use ginger snaps, but the flavor might be a bit too overpowering. I adapted this recipe from the Joy of Baking website. There is a helpful video there that walks you through the process (pronounced “PRO-cess” if you’re Canadian). Don’t be misled that this is “hard to make” because there’s a video. It’s quite the opposite. Happy un-baking! And an extended Happy Canada Day to all!

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Easy Peanut Butter Cream Pie with Chocolate Cookie Crust — aka “The Cow Farmer” Pie

27 Apr

I’ve had this pre-made chocolate pie crust for what seems like…ever. But really, it’s only been a few weeks. Lately, I’ve been going back in forth on how to use it. I had my “a-ha!” moment yesterday when an old friend posted something on my Facebook wall that reminded me and reinforced to me, just how awesome she truly is. When I was in high school, this girl loved Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. She loved them so much that she wore a bright orange Reese’s t-shirt pretty much any chance she could. That’s how I mostly remember her.

She was vegan (we called her “Cow Farmer” or “Cowf” for short), and I remember how she lamented that Reese’s weren’t. I remember that it was the only non-vegan food item she couldn’t give up. Eventually, knowing that the pleasure of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup does not outweigh the horror that goes into making it, she gave them up. Yeah, she’s pretty cool like that. She also speedily stepped in for me last week when I really needed her help. So, in honor of her past and present awesomeness, I have made a Reese’s inspired peanut butter cream pie with a chocolate crust.

I wish this pie could really encompass how amazing this girl is, but it just can’t because…it’s a pie. Still, it’s pretty damn close.

But I suppose I should tell you a little about the pie…

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Banana Coconut Rum Cake

26 Mar

Look at this cake. Just look at it! You can’t go into a sugar coma or gain 5 pounds by just looking at it, but you might if you make it. This cake is so indulgent, so moist (a little more moist and it would be bread pudding), so sweet, and so decadent. And it’s my first drunken cake! You might ask what the special occasion is, but I had no reason to make this cake other than wanting to make something sinfully delicious. This is the kind of cake you make when you want to impress someone’s family. It’s just that good and that beautiful.

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Mango-Blackberry-Coconut French Toast

12 Feb

Did I go on a tropical island getaway? No, not so much. Just another Saturday morning in snowy New Hampshire. Saturday mornings have become all about getting up to make a big breakfast, leaving the dishes for later, cuddling with the dog, catching up on Dexter, and not “officially” getting out of bed until noon. Now all I need is someone to come make this for me so, I don’t have to get up at all. Until then, here’s a quick recipe that won’t take away too much of your laze time and proves you don’t need dairy or eggs to have a delicious breakfast. What more can I say about french toast? Oh yeah: It’s freaking delicious!

Go ahead, have it with a mimosa. You deserve it. It’s the weekend. Continue reading
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