Yesterday, I took on the daunting task of making four batches of Nanaimo Bars using the Sugar Free recipe I developed earlier this year. (For those new to my blog and unfamiliar with my adventures developing my Sugar Free Nanaimo Bar recipe, click here to see all my Nanaimo Bar entries. The recipe also appears below.) It was the first time I have made multiple batches in one day and it was certainly an interesting experience. As the dessert is a layered treat, I did all four sets of each layer before moving on to the next layer. It was definitely a big production and of course, I couldn’t do them all the same, so I did three batches as the regular version of the recipe and one batch in the peanut butter variation.
Part of the reason for doing so many batches at once is that I promised a batch to be a gift for a friend for his birthday, also I’m attending a couple of Thanksgiving events that I don’t want to arrive at empty handed. Also my roommates really liked the peanut butter variation when I first tried that variation of the recipe but I haven’t made a second batch of that one, until now.
I had to set up the kitchen into almost a factory setup with many little “stations” to handle the various preparation work. I had a food processor station, a mixer station, a boiler station, as well as a station to store the pans between batches. And I was jumping between the various stations often working on more than one batch at a time. In some cases I was putting butter into the double boiler to melt for the next batch while finishing the chopping and mixing for the previous batch. It definitely felt like quite like a factory production with various stations I set up in the kitchen to handle the specific preparations tasks. It definitely worked really well for getting the base layer made.
I ran into a little bit of a snag when it came for prepping the middle custard layer, in that I only had one tablespoon measuring tool but would need to use it for two ingredients. I decided it wasn’t going to be practical to make the layer for one before starting again for the second and having to clean the tool twice per batch. So I did it in stages. One of the challenges with a sugar free version of Nanaimo bars is that they don’t sell a “powdered sugar” equivalent in the stores, so I have to do that myself, which is basically taking the granulated Xylitol and mixing it with some cornstarch and running it through the food processor. So I just went ahead and prepped the powdered xylitol for all four batches at once using regular dinner bowls to store the powdered xylitol for each batch. This actually made it easier to just add the required amounts of Bird’s Custard Powder to each bowl and I would just be able to dump the bowl into the boiler once the butter for that batch had been melted. Then it was just a matter of pouring the mixture into the mixer to aerate it a little bit while melting the butter for the next batch, then pouring it over the first layer and putting the pans into the freezer all while waiting for the butter to melt.
The kitchen was an absolute mess after the second layers were done, and since those need a little bit of time in the freezer to set before getting the top layer, I took the time to clean up the kitchen first. Fortunately the top layer is the least messy stage, it’s just a matter of using the double boiler to melt a tiny amount of butter, unsweetened chocolate squares, and throw in some packets of Truvia.
By the end of the last batch it ended up taking about 5 hours to do all four batches. Whew! I do like making the Nanaimo Bars because they just blow the socks off everyone who’s tried them. They never can believe it’s sugar free. In a way it’s become my signature dessert for the Belly Fat Cure. The only down side is they tend to be a little on the expensive side to make because of how much xylitol is in the recipe. When I stopped in at Wal-Mart to purchase the disposable foil pans I needed to make so many batches, I walked past a display where they were selling 5 lb. bags of sugar for $2.38 and thought to myself how not fair that is, because a 5 lb. bag of Xylitol costs me about $23. Oh well, maybe once the Belly Fat Cure book gets released and people realize how bad sugar is for them, good sugar substitutes like Xylitol will come down in price as people start to want them. I doubt I’ll ever see it as cheap as $2.38 for a 5 lb. bag but I’ll definitely be happier to see it closer to $10 a 5 lb. bag.
And without any further delay, here’s the recipe for my Sugar Free Nanaimo Bars (including additional variations for those who want to be creative). For people checking out my blog from the Belly Fat Cure – Thanksgiving Recipe Roundtable, I have additional recipes here on my blog that can be found by clicking here.
Nanimo Bars (Ryan Cameron’s Sugar Free Version):
Ingredients Part 1:
1/2 Cup butter
1/2 Cup xylitol
5 tablespoons Unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Cups non-salted saltine Crackers (crushed)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
Ingredients Part 2:
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 Part 3:
1 tablespoon butter
3 (1 oz.) squares unsweetened chocolate
3 single serving packets of Truvia
Directions Part 1:
Melt butter in a double boiler
Add xylitol 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
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.
Peanut Butter Nanaimo Bar Variation:
In Part 1: Replace Walnuts with Peanuts and leave out the coconut.
In Part 2: Replace butter with 1 Tablespoon (Tbsp) butter and 4 Tbsp of Sugar-Free Peanut Butter
Mint Nanaimo Bar Variation:
In Part 2: Add 1 Tablespoon Mint Extract. If desired, add a couple drops green food coloring
Orange Nanaimo Bar Variation:
In Part 1: You may want to replace the Walnuts with Hazelnuts
In Part 2: Add 1 Tablespoon Orange or Raspberry Extract. If desired, add drops of food coloring
Cherry Nanaimo Bar Variation:
In Part 1: You may want to replace the Walnuts with Almonds
In Part 2: Add 1 Tablespoon Cherry Extract. If desired, add drops of red food coloring
Many thanks to the unknown author of the site that I found that had these additional variations.