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Originally published Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 6:02 AM

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Recipe: Nanaimo Truffle Bars

The British Columbia city of Nanaimo gives its name to this rich no-bake treat. Nanaimo bars are popular in Canada, where they're usually...

The Washington Post

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The British Columbia city of Nanaimo gives its name to this rich no-bake treat. Nanaimo bars are popular in Canada, where they're usually made with a layer of vanilla custard or pudding. This recipe eliminates the extra layer.

10 ounces 50 percent to 65 percent cacao bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

2/3 cup heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

2 tablespoons cognac or good-quality brandy (may substitute freshly squeezed orange juice)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup chopped walnuts or toasted, hulled and chopped hazelnuts

1-1/3 cups fine graham-cracker crumbs, plus extra for optional garnish

3/4 cup flaked sweetened coconut

Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil, letting it overhang two opposite sides. Lightly grease the foil with nonstick cooking oil spray.

Microwave the chocolate in a large microwave-safe bowl on HIGH for one minute, then stir well. Microwave at 50 percent power, stopping and stirring at 30-second intervals, until the chocolate is mostly melted.

Combine the cream, corn syrup, cognac and vanilla extract in a 2-cup measuring cup (or microwave-safe bowl). Microwave on high power for about one minute or until steaming hot; watch carefully to avoid a boil-over. Stir well.

Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate without stirring; let stand for two minutes. Gently whisk the cream mixture into the chocolate until smoothly incorporated; it will look separated at first, but keep whisking and it will gradually come together. Reserve a generous 1/2 cup of the chocolate ganache in a small microwave-safe bowl to use as the glaze.

Stir the walnuts or hazelnuts, graham-cracker crumbs and coconut into the remaining chocolate ganache until well blended. Let cool until barely warm, then transfer the filling to the prepared pan. Refrigerate, uncovered, until firm on top, at least one hour. Lay a sheet of wax paper over the top and press down firmly to compact and smooth the layer.

Remove the wax paper and pour the reserved ganache glaze over the mixture in the pan. (If the ganache is too thick to flow readily, microwave it on 50 percent power for 30 seconds, then stir until fluid. Repeat the microwaving for a few more seconds, if necessary.)

Tip the pan from side to side and rap it on the counter several times to even the glaze surface. Lightly sprinkle the top with graham-cracker crumbs, if desired. Let stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour, then cover and refrigerate until completely cooled, at least 2 hours and up to several days if desired, before cutting.

To cut, use the foil overhang to lift the slab from the pan. Gently peel off the foil and place the slab on a cutting board. Use a large, sharp knife to trim off the edges; discard (or eat) them. The bars are very rich, so cut the slab into thirds in one direction and into eighths in the other for small, narrow bars; or into sixths in both directions for mini squares; or as desired. Let the bars warm up slightly before serving.

Nutrition per bar (based on 36): 110 calories, 1 g protein, 9 g carbohydrates, 8 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 35 mg sodium, 1 g dietary fiber, 5 g sugar

Adapted from "Simply Sensational Cookies," by Nancy Baggett

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