These imperfect yet luscious and delicious Blueberry Lavender Nanaimo Bars are my farewell to this summer.
Hi, my friends! Are you excited about the fall? Now it’s true – this is my last summer post this year. Personally, I don’t mind autumn at all. Indeed, I do love the beginning of fall, especially if it’s dry and warm. If it’s too rainy and gloomy – no, thanks, take it back, please :)
There are only two things that upset me about fall. First of all, it’s the time when you clearly realize ¾ of the year are gone, and so you’ve become one year older (But let’s not talk about this sad topic).
Another thing is a lack of the natural light. This is absolutely fine for now, but imagine November or – worse – December? It’s like going to work when it’s still dark, coming back from work when it’s already dark, and missing everything in between because you are at work. Grrr! Besides, being food photographers, this is obviously a huge drawback for all us, right? Oh boy, I’ve already missed the summer days, when I could shoot food at 8 p.m.!
Anyway, the days are gradually getting shorter, and we cannot do anything about that (Although I like the idea of hibernating).
As you might know, I commute to my work. Also, instead of taking both a bus and subway, I often skip the subway part having a nice 1-hour intense walk (And also saving 3$ for a token which is a nice bonus). I used to walk on the streets; however, this summer I discovered a nice trail which I consider a more enjoyable way. It goes parallel to the major streets, still, it goes through the parks and forested areas, so it’s really nice. There are no traffic lights and traffic (except a few bicyclists). You can only meet very few pedestrians and lots of bunnies. Awesome, isn’t it?
It’s necessary to say that I’ve been leaving home 15-20 minutes later lately. This Monday I was finally able to catch an earlier bus…and I realized this does make the difference in September. If the previous weeks I started my trail when the sun was getting up, this time it was completely and sinisterly dark. And mist.
I grabbed my phone to slightly light up my way hoping not to frighten any bunnies, raccoons, or skunks (Obviously, scaring out a skunk would be the worst scenario).
A few minutes later my path was crossing a little road, with a few lamps illuminating it. Now, imagine the theatre when it’s entirely dark, and there’s only one lantern shining on the only one actor. Beautiful and dramatic, isn’t it?
Blueberry Lavender Nanaimo Bars
So, I clearly saw an animal pacing in that sinister light. Raccoon, – I thought first. Nope, it doesn’t look like a raccoon. This’s a dog! – I realized. A dog with a nice bushy tail. Honestly, I am fine with dogs (I’m a cat person, though), but I was happy it was running in the different direction. Because it didn’t have a leash, and I feel more confident with a huge dog being on a leash. Well, I didn’t see its owner either. It feels safe when both the leash and the owners are involved.
Wait. Bushy tail. Huge size. No owner. BUSHY TAIL!!! Coyote!!!
Probably, that wasn’t a coyote but a fox or something else. Luckily, that guy didn’t want to introduce to me, and you know what? I didn’t mind!
I remembered a story Kelsie recently shared. Thanks to Kelsie’s sense of humor, it didn’t sound too scary. I’m telling you now, it was quite scary in a real life! Thankfully, shortly after that meeting, the dawn started, and it wasn’t that bad anymore.
Clearly, I need a plan B when it comes to the completely dark mornings because I don’t want to give up this trail. Flashlights? Fireworks? Cookies (Which I suggested Kelsie take next time so she could bribe or domesticate a coyote. Kelsie, will you kindly bake and send me some of your cookies, please?)
All right, back to the good things. Blueberry Lavender Nanaimo Bars.
There are only a few facts you should know about these Blueberry Lavender Nanaimo Bars:
- The combo of blueberries (blackberries) and lavender is one of my favorite. Check this ice cream.
- Nanaimo bars are one of my favorite desserts.
- Thus, sooner or later, I had to combine blueberries, lavender, and bars.
- These Blueberry Lavender Nanaimo Bars were delicious but unfortunately, imperfect.
Why imperfect? Look at the middle layer. It turned out a little runny which is not supposed to be. I even though I shouldn’t call these bars the “Nanaimo bars” not to disgrace the famous Canadian dessert and embarrass myself. On the second thought, I decided that a home-made dessert doesn’t need to be impeccable. Yes, this is the imperfect bars but so what? If I had added 1/3 – 1/2 cup of powdered sugar more, this would have turned out well. So, if you’re going to make these Blueberry Lavender Nanaimo Bars, just keep in mind this little advice.
Happy Fall, friends! Have you ever met a coyote?
- 1 cup graham cracker (or waffle) crumbs
- 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup finely chopped cashews
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- Custard Layer
- 1/3 cup fresh blueberries
- 1/2 teaspoon blueberry baking emulsion
- 1/3 teaspoon lavender extract or to taste
- 1/3 cup butter, softened
- 5 tablespoons custard powder
- 3 cups icing sugar (You will likely need more)
- Chocolate Layer
- 150 gr. dark chocolate, chopped
- 1 tablespoon butter
- In a bowl, stir together the graham crumbs, coconut, walnuts, cocoa, and sugar. Stir in the butter and egg. Mix until combined. You can also mix all the ingredients in a food processor. Press into parchment lined 9 inch square pan. Bake in the preheated to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F) oven for about 7-10 minutes, until firm. Let completely cool.
- In a food processor pulse the blueberries and extracts. Add and beat the butter and custard powder. Gradually add the icing sugar (The mixture should be thick but spreadable. Keep in mind it will a little harden once refrigerated). Spread over the base. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
- In a bowl over saucepan of hot water melt the chocolate with the butter until smooth. Spread over the second layer. Refrigerate about 30 minutes. With a knife, score into bars and then refrigerate about 30 minutes.