authors note: today’s entry about the Whalesbone isn’t so much about what I was tasked with on Friday night… but rather, about one of our own… his last shift, a treat I baked for him… and the farewell party that had people dancing… it was awesome
Richard has left the Whalesbone. Friday was his last shift. :0(
I haven’t really talked about Richard before… since I seem to have stuck to talking about Charlotte, Kshonze, Jenna, Chloé… the chefs. Richard is front of the house – leading the crew that shucks those oysters, keeps everyone’s glasses full… and basically makes sure that customers are happy (btw – he’s joined by a group of amazing people… I need to blog about them soon). So everyone… meet Richard :0)
Something you should know about him… he has the sweetest tooth I have ever seen in my life. SERIOUSLY. You should see the sundaes he comes up with: ice cream, fluff, ganache, cookie dough, brownie bites, graham crackers, cream cheese filling… peanut butter cups. The WORKS! If The Whalesbone makes it – he eats it. All. Together. :0) Knowing this meant that I had to make him a super sweet treat. And what is sweeter than nanaimo bars? And how perfect to make him a batch of them… especially since he’s leaving us and moving to British Columbia. I say… PERFECT!
I will admit it… I’ve made nanaimo bars quite often (especially as a teenager)… but always from a box. I KNOW! So I was excited to try my hand at them. I discovered a couple of things: 1. super easy. As easy as taking the box, opening it, and following the instructions. 2. using unsweetened coconut flakes… well… certainly decreases the sweetness factor in these bars. I wanted sickeningly sweet bars… I didn’t get that. BUT it certainly means that you can enjoy a square and not get that sickly feeling you can sometimes get. These bars are ready in 3 easy steps. Factor in the chilling time – but you can make these the same day (heck, the same afternoon) as you want to enjoy them.
(richard’s moving to BC) nanaimo bars
3/4 c. butter
1/4 c. sugar
1/3 c. dutch cocoa, sifted
1 egg, room temperature
1 3/4 c. graham crumbs
3/4 c. flaked coconut
combining the sugar, cocoa and butter in a pan
In a medium saucepan, over medium-low heat, combine butter, sugar and cocoa; stir well. Add the egg, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat.
Dump the mixture into the bowl of your stand-mixer (using the paddle attachment), and add the graham cracker crumbs and the coconut. Mix well at medium-low speed.
Line your 9-inch square pan with tin foil (you want the foil to overlap the edges). Spray the foil with non-stick spray. Press the base into the pan. Chill (I chilled mine for about 90 minutes… I was baking other things).
1/2 c. butter, softened
3 tbsp heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
zest of 1 lemon
2 c. icing sugar
flecks of lemon zest… beautiful!
Using your stand-mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, cream, vanilla, lemon zest and icing sugar. Start at a low-speed and then increase to medium until your mixture gets light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl when necessary.
Spread the filling evenly over the base. Chill (I left mine for an hour in the fridge).
step 2 – the filling. being spread. i know… the photo is self-evident
3/4 c. chocolate chips
1/4 butter, softened
In a double boiler (large glass bowl sits over a medium saucepan) over an inch of simmering water (water shouldn’t touch the bowl), melt the chocolate chips and butter together. Whisk them to smooth. Remove the glass bowl from heat and allow to cool slightly.
Pour evenly over the filling. Refrigerate.
all chilled with the foil peeled off. ready for some cutting action
Once the bars were completely chilled I pulled them out of the fridge. Time to lift the bars out of the square pan (this is where lining the pan with tinfoil is helpful), peel away the foil and trim the sides off. By trimming the sides off you get those perfect edges and can cut perfect little squares (thank you Whalesbone for showing me that trick).
trimming off the sides, creating a perfect square… and perfect scrapes to snack on ;0)
My trick to perfect squares (or as perfect as I have patience for) is using my zester. Yep. The zester provides me with a template to follow – perfect squares! Oh yes… and another little trick is to clean your knife after every cut – wipe it clean and then it keeps your edges clean… I know… I’m becoming obsessive!
So now that you see what I baked for Richard… wanna see how the Whalesbone sent him off? I thought so!
well… Jenna came back and helped me decorate a cake in Richard’s honour ;0)
The place was packed… seriously packed until… well… I left just before 2 and was informed that clean-up ended around 4 am. Solid night eh?
There were lots of heartfelt goodbyes too…
Richard… we’ll miss you. loads. but… I can not wait to get to Vancouver, do laundry and share a drink with you ;0) (inside joke… sorry)