Feasting on the New Millennium

Feasting on the New Millennium

(in my best Sophia voice)
Picture this...  The year was 1999 – December 31st..Vancouver, BC – on the cusp of a new Millennium… I had just dealt with a rather devastating personal blow and decided I wanted to spend two weeks at the dawn of the next great age in someplace completely different and new…

The idea (in my mind) was to have the biggest blow-out of my life where no one (except for a couple of friends, and I expected them to be just as shameful as I) knew me. I thought it was what I needed.

Things don’t always turn out like we plan…

Friends had booked me a room* with a view on Granville Island looking out over False Creek onto the shining glass mego-tropolis that is Beautiful Vancouver, and promised me they had all the plans made for an “exciting” night ahead.

*Room – (n)” a partitioned part of the inside of a building; especially :such a part used as a lodging.”No one told me my particular “partitioned” part  was going to be an 8′ x 8″ box,  with combination bed / sofa / table, and private shower / sink /(no toilet) … it was tiny.  But – it did have a view –  the entire east facing wall was a floor to ceiling window looking out to the expansive city beneath the snowy peaks of Grouse Mountain.

What I thought was to be cocktails and dinner before the evening – turned out to be “The” evening. We never left the restaurant. We ate and talked – watched the fireworks at 10:30 from our seats in the restaurant – drank and talked – and before we knew it, 1am had arrived . and I was completely content.

I fell into a fast routine those two weeks:
– Get up at 6 am
– Walk down to the Second Cup
– Grab a cuppa coffee and a Nanaimo Bar
– Walk down to the Public Market
– Watch the boats in the Causeway until 8
– Call and wake my friends up
– Sight-see
Any first trip to a new place is a wondrous time, it makes the place special. Everything you encounter is squeaky fresh; everything you eat is something exotic and delicious. I tell people that being in Vancouver renewed my spirit – but what it really left me with was a huge monkey on my back craving for Nanaimo Bars. You just can’t get them in the States.

According to Wikipedia, “The Nanaimo bar is a bar cookie which requires no baking, and is named after the West-Coast city of Nanaimo, British Columbia. It consists of a wafer crumb-based layer, topped by a layer of light vanilla or custard flavoured butter icing, which is covered in chocolate made from melted chocolate squares.”

I decided to do a Plate Fodder spin on the traditional Nanaimo Bar, and make one that was Gluten Free / Dairy Free, so:
1). Butter has been replaced with a butter substitute mixed with shortening
2). In the Base layer – the Graham Crackers have been replaced with crushed Diamond Brand Rice and Nut Thins, and I’ve added additional almond meal into the mix instead of the crushed Almonds
3). In the Middle Layer – the lack of butter and cream keeps the custard from setting up properly, so we’ve made a few adjustments
4). Although it’s most often served slightly chilled – this works best when the bars are kept in the freezer until you are ready to cut and serve them. The custard layer holds together much better. They will still warm up fairly rapidly and be that chocolaty, gooey treat you love.

This is a Gluten Free / Dairy Free version of the traditional bar

Nanaimo Bars
Makes 15 1″ x 4″ bars
Ingredients and Instructions
Base Layer
5 Tablespoons Cocoa
1/4 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Butter Substitute
1 Tablespoon Shortening
1 Egg – Beaten
1 Cup of Processed Rice / Nut Thins
1/2 Cup Almond Meal
1 Cup Shredded Coconut
Double Boiler
12″ x 8″ Pyrex Baking Pan

  • Process the Nut Thins into coarse crumbs
  • In the double boiler, melt the butter sub, shortening, cocoa and sugar,
  • Add the egg and cook until it thickens
  • Remove from the heat and add the dry ingredients, turning constantly until it becomes a stiff mixture
  • Press evenly into the bottom of the Pyrex dish and chill in the freezer for 30 minutes

Middle Layer
1 Tablespoon Shortening
1/2 Cup Butter Substitute
2 Tablespoons So Delicious Original Coconut Creamer
4 Tablespoons Flan Powder
2 Cups Confectioners Sugar
1 Egg – Beaten
Double Boiler

  • Place all the ingredients except the egg into the double boiler and heat until melted and it begins to thicken a little
  • Add the egg and beat until it stiffens up
  • Pour the second layer over the base layer, smooth to even the layer, and return to the freezer for 30 minutes

Top Layer
4 Ounces Nestle Semi-Sweet Pieces
2 Tablespoons Butter Substitute
1 Teaspoon Shortening
Small Microwave Proof Bowl

  • Place the ingredients in the microwavable bowl and heat in the micro on high for 30 seconds
  • Remove and stir with the spatula until the chocolate is silky and smooth
  • Pour over the prepared layers and return to the freezer to chill for a minimum of 1 hour
  • Cut into 1″ x 4″ bars and serve with a cup of coffee and a view across the water.

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