With a delicious cookie base, ice cream filling and frozen chocolate coating, Nanaimo bars are a Canadian obsession. Our neighbors to the north have been keen on these over-the-top specimens at least since the 1950s. The treat may be named after its place of origin, Nanaimo, British Columbia: The local tourism board there is so proud of the town’s signature snack that it created a self-guided walking tour around the dessert. Suggestions in the Nanaimo Bar Trail brochure include stops for classic Nanaimo bars and more unusual tributes, like a Nanaimo “Bar-tini” at Acme Food Co., made with vanilla vodka, coconut rum, milk, chocolate and toasted coconut.
In fact, you can “Nanaimo-ize” almost anything, according to chef Amanda Cohen of New York City’s Dirt Candy. The Canadian-born chef was at a loss to find the bars stateside so she decided to create her own with sweet pea and mint ice cream. It’s one of the most popular desserts on her menu.
So imagine our surprise when some of F&W’s Canadian Twitter followers were aghast by the homemade version we featured in the October issue. Dessert pros Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito of Baked NYC concocted a dream combo with mint chocolate chip ice cream and salted pretzels in the base. Admittedly, the color of the filling differs from classic vanilla, and the crust Lewis and Poliafito came up with eschews the usual mixture of graham crackers, almonds and coconut—so we can’t claim authenticity—but we definitely suggest trying the recipe. It’s our craving of the month.