Friday, December 20, 2013

The Best Christmas Cookie


While planning Thanksgiving with Abe's family, he asked me what food needed to be there for it to really be Thanksgiving to me. Easy answer - mashed potatoes! That, and maybe rolls, are really my favorite thing about holiday meals (even before I became vegetarian, I wasn't a huge fan of turkey). At least, as far the dinner itself. 

Holiday desserts are even better, I suppose; pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving and cookies for Christmas. There are a few kinds of Christmas cookies that my family always has: spritz, sugar cookies, hello dollies. The best, though, are nanaimo bars. I believe, as far as family traditions go, they originated on my dad's side, but my mom's side has them now, too.

If you only ever take away one thing from my blog - make it this recipe!

Ingredients

1/2 cup + 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp margarine (vegan, like Earth Balance, works fine) or butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
5 Tbsp cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg (I haven't had great success with vegan alternatives - it really needs a good binder)
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup coconut
3 Tbsp milk (dairy or any alternative)
2 Tbsp vanilla pudding mix (cook and serve, NOT instant pudding mix)
2 cups powdered sugar
8 oz semi-sweet baking chocolate

Bottom layer

Cook in a saucepan on medium-low heat:
     1/2 cup margarine
     1/4 cup sugar
     5 Tbsp cocoa
     1 tsp vanilla
     1 egg

Mix in:
     2 cups graham cracker crumbs (put crackers in a ziploc, roll with rolling pin)
     1 cup coconut

Press into a 9" x 9" pan and chill.

Middle layer

Mix:
     1/4 cup margarine
     3 Tbsp milk 
     2 Tbsp vanilla pudding mix (the cook and serve mix, NOT instant mix)
     2 cups powdered sugar.

Spread on top of first layer and chill until firm.

Top layer

Melt in saucepan on low heat:
     1 Tbsp margarine
     8 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate.

It is crucial that there is no water in the pan, or you will end up with lumpy chocolate.

Spread on top of second layer and chill.

After the top layer has chilled for about ten minutes, score the top layer (to facilitate cutting into pieces after it has fully hardened). At a minimum cut into 5 by 5 pieces, consider 6 by 6. 

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