I am still recovering from last weekends trek to the Farm Chicks Antiques Show in Spokane. What is Farm Chicks you may wonder….Farm Chicks is like a huge fancy flea market where women run around in aprons (cute ones) and cowboy boots buying old kitchen scales, banged up lockers, vintage metal garden furniture, old panoramic photos, antlers, pictures of cows, silver cake stands and lots of other fancy junk for really good prices. I love it. It was my fourth year attending and my friend, Kathie’s, sixth year. My sister, Julie, and friend, Gale, also joined us this year.
Kathie is our esteemed leader and we have our Farm Chicks weekend routine down to a science. On the Friday before the show, Kathie clears her mom van of all unnecessary paraphernalia, leaving just the driver and front passenger seat and we head out on the five hour drive over the mountains to Spokane. This year we stopped for lunch at great little place – The Blue Bike Cafe in Ritzville, population 1762. The homemade chips were fabulous. Then off to the Davenport Hotel which is a very nice place to stay. Friday night means dinner at Chaps, a great place to eat for farm chicks aficionados and then back to the hotel in anticipation of the next day. I am sworn to secrecy as to how early we leave on Saturday to get in line for the show at the fairgrounds. Needless to say, it is early, but we always stop at Starbucks along the way so we are happy campers. This year we were fourth in line behind a diehard farm chick from Utah and a couple of friends from Montana. Last year, we were before these cute ladies, so I have a feeling Kathie may want us to leave earlier next year to regain our rightful first place line position.
The gates opened at 9am for early bird ticket holders and we made a restrained mad dash for the doors. We each have our favorite vendors and they are usually in the same spot year to year. Some of mine are great findz, Retreat, June Bug, Krown Sisters, Wild Whimsy, Lisa Souers….oh, the list is endless – they are all so awesome. And, so we shopped. Kathie’s van had room to spare, but Julie’s van was stuffed to the gills by the time we departed many hours later. We had an awesome lunch at Luna and then back to the hotel to rest for another day at the show. Sunday is much more relaxed, so we just got there in time for the 10 am opening and spent a couple of hours trying to see what we didn’t the day before. Then we hit the road for home. It is now Thursday and I am still struggling to catch up with my architect mom duties!
So, now to the Nanaimo Bars…..Farm chick ladies are wonderful and a lot of bonding happens in line since we are there for so, so, sooooo long. The ladies behind us were from Nanaimo in British Columbia, Canada. As soon as they said they were from “Nanaimo”, I automatically thought “Bar” which is why today’s recipe is a tribute to our neighbors to the north, the inventors of the world famous Nanaimo Bar. If you have never eaten one of these, just stop what you’re doing, run to the grocery store for ingredients and whip yourself up a batch. You will thank me and the great nation of Canada for it and I hope to see you next year at the Farm Chicks Show.
Nanaimo Bars for Farm Chicks
- Bottom Layer ***********************************
- 1 cup butter
- 2/3 cup cocoa
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 t. vanilla
- 4 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1 cup walnuts or almonds, finely chopped
- 2 cups coconut, shredded and sweetened
- Middle Layer *************************************
- 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 4 T. vanilla custard powder (Birds or Westco)
- Top Layer **************************************
- 1 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels
- 1/2 cup butter
- Line 10×15 baking pan with parchment paper (for easy removal of bars later).
- For bottom layer – melt butter, sugar and cocoa in top of double boiler. Add eggs and vanilla and stir to cook until thickened. Remove from heat and add graham crackers, nuts and coconut. Mix thoroughly and press firmly in pan. Refrigerate or freeze until firm.
- For middle layer – cream butter, cream, powdered sugar and custard powder together until light and fluffy. Spread over chilled crust and refrigerate until firm.
- For top layer- melt chocolate and butter together over low heat. Cool. Once cool, but still liquid, pour the glaze over the second layer spreading evenly.