White Maple Mousse Chocolate Chip Nanaimo Bars
Cuisine: Canadian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: Depends on how you cut them.
 
ingredients:
Chocolate Graham Cracker Base
  • ½ cup butter
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup white chocolate chunks or chips
White Chocolate-Maple Mousse:
  • 7 ounces high-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt, Valrhona Ivoire), finely chopped
  • ⅓ cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons maple liqueur**
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 8- to 8.8 ounce container mascarpone cheese***
  • ¼ oz package of powdered gelatin
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
  • 1½ cups miniature chocolate chips
Chocolate Topping****
  • 6 oz semisweet chocolate (you can use milk or bittersweet chocolate, depending on your preference), chopped.
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
White Chocolate Polka Dots
  • 8 oz good quality chopped white chocolate, chopped
Maple Candied Walnuts
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • ⅔ cup of walnut halves, toasted
  • Coarse sea salt, such as Fleur de sel (optional)
directions:
For the Chocolate Graham Cracker Base
  1. Line a 9-inch square pan* with lightly greased aluminum foil, making sure you leave a decent amount of overhang on two sides (this aids in lifting out the bars when they're set).
  2. Beat the egg in a small bowl or cup. Place butter, light brown sugar and cocoa in a bowl set over hot, simmering water, then stir until melted and uniform. Temper the beaten egg with a little of the hot butter mixture, then add it all back to the main bowl and let simmer, whisking or stirring constantly, until slightly thickened.. Remove from heat. Add graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and vanilla extract. Let cool a few minutes, then add white chocolate chunks or chips. Press firmly into the bottom of the foil lined 9-inch square pan. Place in the refrigerator while preparing the mousse.
For the White Chocolate-Maple Mousse
  1. Combine the white chocolate, maple syrup, maple liqueur and water in a bowl set over simmering, hot water. Stir and cook until the chocolate is melted and everything is uniform and hot (mixture will be very liquidy). Add vanilla extract. Transfer the white chocolate-maple mixture to a large bowl and gradually add mascarpone, whisking until mixture is smooth. Cool mascarpone mixture until barely lukewarm.
  2. Sprinkle the gelatin over1/4 cup water in a small bowl. Let sit until the gelatin is softened, then heat the bowl over hot water to dissolve it, or dissolve it in the microwave for 10 - 40 seconds. Keep checking every 10 seconds until it's liquid and smooth. Whisk dissolved gelatin into the lukewarm mousse base until thoroughly combined, making sure it's uniform and smooth..no lumps or bits of anything should remain. Pour it through a fine mesh strainer to be sure, if you'd like.
  3. Using an electric mixer or whisk, beat the 1 cup of cream in a medium bowl until peaks form. Fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture in 4 additions. Fold in miniature chocolate chips. Pour over chocolate graham cracker base, and let chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours
For the Chocolate Topping*
  1. oz semisweet chocolate (you can use milk or bittersweet chocolate, depending on your preference), chopped.
  2. T unsalted butter
  3. Melt chocolate and butter together in a bowl set over simmering, hot water. Mix well until melted and uniform. Remove from heat and let cool until it's lukewarm. Pour over the top of the set mousse and spread quickly. Chill in refrigerator until ready to pipe white chocolate polka dots.
For the White Chocolate Polka Dots
  1. Place chopped white chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan with simmering, hoi water. Be careful not to let the bowl with the chocolate in it touch the water as it could seize up and/or burn (I like to remove the chocolate from the heat before it's fully melted and stir, letting the residual heat melt it completely until smooth). Pour the melted chocolate it another bowl, and let it cool a little before continuing.
  2. Pour the melted chocolate into a cornet (parchment cone), snip off the end, and pipe large (or a variety of sizes) 'heaping' polka dots over the 'set' chocolate topping. You can also use a plastic or ziplock bag, just snip off one end. Let chill in the refrigerator until set, but about an hour before serving, take it out, and let it come to room temperature, as the chocolate coating will crack if cut into while cold. You could cut into them immediately, using a knife dipped in very hot water, or run over a gas flame, wiping the knife in between each cut, and dipping it into the hot water or running it over the gas flame again. Personally, I prefer to let it come to room temperature. As the old gem of wisdom goes, patience is virtue!
For the Maple Candied Walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spread the walnut halves out on a baking sheet. Toast for about 5-8 minutes, stirring occcasionally, until you can smell them and they've turned a little darker. Split one open to make sure it's toasted through before removing from the oven. You can also do this in a dry skillet, stirring until toasted. Place the toasted nuts on another sheet pan lined with a silpat or parchment paper or lightly greased. Let cool.
  2. Pour maple syrup into a small to medium saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until it reaches the hard crack stage (about 300-310 degrees F). Add nuts to syrup and coat well. Working quickly. Immediately remove them from the saucepan, using a slotted spoon, to the lined baking sheet and separate them as best you can (using anything but your fingers, unless you have asbestos hands!). Using a spoon, drizzle any leftover syrup over each nut and sprinkle lightly with sea salt, if using. Do NOT touch until the candy coating has set and cooled. Scatter a few over individual bars, and/or around the plate you serve them on.
notes:
* Most Nanaimo Bar recipes use an 8-inch sqaure pan, resulting in a very high chocolate-graham cracker base, but..since I'm trying to be different here, a 9-inch square pan results in a lot less 'height', with the filling being the main component
**You can substitute 1 teaspoon pure maple extract plus 1½ tablspoons of water if you can't find the liqueur, or would prefer not to use it.
***Cream cheese can be substituted for the mascarpone, although it's not as smooth, creamy and mild as mascarpone. If you do use cream cheese, make sure it's at room temperature and soft before incorporating it into the hot maple-white chocolate base.
****Use 8 oz of chopped chocolate and ¼ cup (half a stick) of unsalted butter if you want a thicker topping.
Recipe by parsley sage sweet at http://www.parsleysagesweet.com/2008/06/27/o-canada-yummy-canada/