Categories : Belly Fat Cure Guilty Pleasures Health & Fitness Recipes

 

Sugar-Free Nanimo BarsOne of the biggest challenges on Jorge Cruise’s Belly Fat Cure program is not the cutting actual meals down to no more than five grams of sugar and two carb servings per meal. In fact, that’s been fairly easy and very easy to do with store bought meals or even restaurant food for those of us like me who are not cooks. However, as someone who’s always had a bit of a sweet tooth, I get a craving for desserts, and that’s where the problem comes in. Ready made or store bought sugar free desserts that aren’t made with those toxic artificial sweeteners are near impossible to find.

In the 17 weeks I’ve been on the Belly Fat Cure program I have lost 54 pounds thus far and a large part of my continued success has been learning how to make sugar free desserts. (To learn more about Jorge Cruise’s Belly Fat Cure, download the free special report from JorgeCruise.com.) I’ve have made sugar free Brownies, sugar free chocolate chip cookies, and even some homemade sugar free ice cream in a variety of interesting home made flavors. And while the sugar free chocolate chip cookies have been some of my favorite of the desserts I’ve made, it was time for a more ambitious project.

With a little assistance from my mother, she provided me a recipe for a Canadian dessert delicacy, called “Nanaimo Bars.” It’s a layered cake that is not baked, but one that must be chilled due to it’s middle custard layer. The base layer is basically made from a blend of cocoa powder mixed with coconut, walnuts, and graham crackers. The middle layer is custard, and then toped with chocolate. According to legend (basically it’s been unable to be verified, but the story keeps getting told) is that the dessert originated from a housewife in a dessert contest who lived in Nanaimo, British Columbia and decided to name her dessert after the town. The town which is now a city has offered the “official” recipe on their website and having looked at that recipe it is a little bit different than the one I got from my mother (for example they recommend almonds instead of walnuts). Click here to see the official recipe on the city of Nanaimo’s webpage.

I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to make a sugar free version, but I was up for the challenge if I could figure out how to do some substitutions for the ingredients that had sugar already in them.

The full sugar version of the recipe I got from my mother is as follows:

Nanimo Bars (Regular Version of Recipe):

Ingredients 1st Part:
1/2 Cup Butter
1/2 Cup White Sugar
5 tablespoons Cocoa
1 Egg
2 Cups Graham Crackers (crushed)
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut

Ingredients 2nd Part:
1/4 cup butter
4 tablespoons custard powder (or vanilla pudding powder)
2 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup milk

Ingredients 3rd Part:
1 tablespoon butter
2 Squares Semi-Sweet Chocolate

Directions Part 1:
Melt butter in a double boiler
Add sugar and cocoa.
Beat egg and add
Mix well and take off stove.
Add crushed graham crackers, chopped nuts, and coconut
Mix well and pack loosely in 8″x8″ cake pan.

Directions Part 2:
Melt butter
Add custard powder (or vanilla pudding powder), icing sugar and milk
Beat Well and pour over Part 1 and chill.

Directions Part 3:
Melt butter and squares of semi-sweet chocolate
Spread over cake.
Put in refrigerator and chill for 48 hours.

Taking a look at the recipe, the items that need to be replaced to make the recipe sugar free are the graham crackers, the sugar, the icing sugar, the custard/vanilla pudding powder, the milk, and semi-sweet chocolate squares.

I was having a devil of a time figuring out what to do about the graham crackers as I scoured the supermarkets to find sugar free ones, but it essentially proved to be impossible, as the crackers are made with honey, which is not sugar free no matter how you shake it. I even went so far as to look up a recipe for making graham crackers but ultimately determined I was going to go to that much effort just to crush the damn things to be mixed in with cocoa powder, nuts, and coconut. As I recalled, I would never have guessed there were graham crackers in Nanaimo Bars so I figured they were pretty much filler to help bind the bottom layer together. So after scouring the shelves of the supermarket, I decided, I was going to try non-salted Saltine crackers. I figured I could crush those, add a little cinnamon, and a little bit of the sugar free Maple Syrup and end up with an equivalent.

The sugar was an easy challenge, that I was just going to replace with Xylitol. However, I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to replace the icing sugar. I found a website online that said how to make icing sugar with sugar substitutes is to mix 2 tablespoons of Cornstarch for ever 3/4 cup of sugar substitute and then grind it in a food processor until it becomes a fine powder. So for 2 cups of icing sugar, I decided that’s about 5 tablespoons of cornstarch, so I put the cornstarch in a measuring cup then just added Xylitol until the measuring cup was filled to the 2 cup mark. Then threw it in the food processor and turned it into sugar free icing sugar.

The custard powder turned out to be a challenge in itself. I wrote a separate blog post to detail the challenge of getting that. (Click here to read the full story on the custard powder.) Essentially I had to get imported Bird’s Custard Powder from the UK at a local store that carries British food imports because the British powder is sugar free, all the US equivalents are loaded with sugar, or are sugar free but use that the toxic aspartame (NutraSweet) artificial sweetener. So it’s well worth getting imported Bird’s Custard Powder for the recipe, the ingredient list on it is four items, as opposed to the vanilla pudding mixes which are loaded with sugar and preservatives.

For milk, that’s another easy fix, I just replaced it with unsweetened Almond milk, I used the Vanilla variety.

And the last ingredient needing replacement was the semi-sweet chocolate squares. I used Ghirardelli Unsweetened 100% Cacao squares. The only thing you need to remember with Ghiradelli baking bar squares is that they are 1/2 oz sized instead of 1 oz sized so you need 4 squares to make 2 ounces. When I melted them down I added 2 Truvia packets to help sweeten up the chocolate layer since I was using unsweetened chocolate and the original recipe calls for semi-sweet.

In the process of making the Nanaimo Bars, I discovered that I didn’t grind the saltine crackers into a fine enough powder as I mixed the ingredients together, so I ended up putting the whole mix into the food processor and let it whirl until it was the right consistency. I was a little concerned about the use of saltine crackers to replace the graham crackers, but they worked like a charm, the bottom layer tasted like it was supposed to, so nothing to worry about there.

The custard layer mixed up great and worked easily. My only complaint about the recipe is that it didn’t state that I should allow the custard layer to chill for a while so it firms up before I did the chocolate layer for the top so my results ended up with kind of a mixed custard and chocolate layer because the custard wasn’t firm enough to support the chocolate layer that I topped it with. I didn’t actually let the Nanaimo bars sit for the 48 hours listed in the recipe I let it chill for 24 hours and it looked firm enough to me. So when I cut out a square to try it, it was absolutely delicious.

When I offered a slice to my roommates, both enjoyed the Squares and one of them even commented that it was the best tasting dessert I’ve made so far. He also said it tasted like it was loaded with sugar, and yet there was none. The only bit of sugar in the recipe is from the coconut, which according to the package has 1 gram of sugar per serving, and not very much was used and spread out throughout the cake so it’s definitely a dessert with less than one gram of sugar per serving. I’m so pleased with how the dessert came out. So here’s how I would modify the recipe so that others can recreate what I’ve made.

Nanimo Bars (Ryan Cameron’s Sugar Free Version):

Ingredients 1st Part:
1/2 Cup butter
1/2 Cup xylitol
5 tablespoons Unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon sugar free maple syrup
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 Egg
2 Cups non-salted saltine Crackers (crushed)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut

Ingredients 2nd Part:
1/4 cup butter
4 tablespoons Bird’s custard powder (Get at a British Foods store)
5 tablespoons cornstarch
1-3/4 cups xylitol
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

Ingredients 3rd Part:
1 tablespoon butter
2 (1 oz.) squares unsweetened chocolate
2 single serving packets of Truvia

Directions Part 1:
Melt butter in a double boiler
Add xylitol, cinnamon, sugar free maple syrup and unsweetened cocoa.
Beat egg and add
Mix well and take off stove.
Add finely crushed non-salted saltine crackers, chopped walnuts, and coconut
Mix well and pack loosely in 8″x8″ cake pan.

Directions Part 2:
Grind xylitol and cornstarch in Food Processor until a fine powder
Set aside mixture
Melt butter
Add Bird’s custard powder, ground xylitol and cornstarch mixture and almond milk
Beat Well and pour over Part 1 and put in freezer for 15 minutes to chill custard layer.

Directions Part 3:
Melt butter and squares of unsweetened chocolate
Mix in Truvia packets until chocolate is smooth
Spread over chilled cake.
Put in refrigerator and chill for 24 hours.

One Response to “Making Sugar-Free Nanaimo Bars”
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  1. Bird’s Custard is also available in any Canadian grocery store.

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