I had my fortune told, or rather I had my cards read (tarot cards to be exact). Apparently, my 2012 was all about endings. Endings and changes. Ain't that the truth!
I think the hardest part of 2012 was taking the plunge and going to culinary school, only to withdraw after the first term. 2012 was the first time that I didn't finish something I started. 2012 was the first time that I called it quits. When I look back at this past year and all the hopes I had for it, 2012 has me completely horrified with the haunting question: "How did I let this happen?"
2012 tossed me around and made me cry.
2012 made me fight.
2012 was draining.
2012 could not have been all bad, and so I have to wonder: where's the silver lining in all this? Cue Bradley Cooper. It can't be all negative, and focusing on all the bad and viewing 2012 as a complete failure isn't very helpful. So, when I look back on 2012, I have to remember that I made so many amazing connections and friends in 2012, and they will undoubtedly have a lasting, positive impression on me. And, as L pointed out to me: 2012 was a struggle, but I survived. I plowed forward despite everything.
Oh, 2012, I don't want to say that I hated you, but I won't deny that I'm glad to finally see you go.
Here's to 2013 and new beginnings. A ten of pentacles full of hope.
This Nanaimo bar recipe was originally published in Canadian Living Holiday Special Baking Edition. It was one of those recipes that I saw and was instantly curious about. A typical Nanaimo bar is made up of a dark chocolate/graham/coconut/walnut crust with a sweet, thick custard filling and a dark chocolate top. The reversed Nanaimo bars are kind of opposite to that, so a white chocolate/graham/coconut/almond crust with a deep dark chocolate custard filling and a white chocolate top. Honestly, I think I like the reversed Nanaimo bar variation better than the original. Shocking, but true. I found this version full of flavor and less cloyingly sweet.
Reversed Nanaimo barsPublished: December 31st, 2012, Bake time: 10 minutes
Makes 25 squares
For the crust
- 150 grams (1 1/2 cups) graham cracker crumbs
- 75 grams (1/2 cup) unsweetened shredded coconut (for a sweeter base, use sweetened)
- 25 grams (1/4 cup) sliced almonds
- 30 grams (1/4 cup) white chocolate, chopped (I used Cacao Barry white chocolate)
- 60 grams (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 77 grams (1/3 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 61 grams (2/3 cup) cocoa powder (I used Cacao Barry extra brute)
- 153 grams (1 1/3 cups) icing sugar
- 3 tbsp cream
- 2 tbsp custard powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 225 grams white chocolate
- 1/2 tsp unsalted butter
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare an 8x8" pan by lining the bottom with parchment.
- In a bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, coconut, almonds and white chocolate. Add the melted butter and mix to combine, then mix in the egg.
- Press the crumb mixture into the prepared pan and use a flat-bottomed glass to flatten the crust into an even layer.
- Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Place the pan on a wire rack to let the crust cool completely.
- When the crust is cooled, make the cocoa filling by beating the butter, cocoa powder, icing sugar, cream, custard powder and vanilla together, first on low, then on medium-high til it's smooth.
- Spread the cocoa filling over the cooled graham cracker crust. Cover the pan with foil and refrigerate it to set it, at least 1 hour.
- When the filling is completely chilled and firm, make the white chocolate topping by melting together the white chocolate with the butter over low heat or in the microwave.
- Pour the melted chocolate over the filling and spread it with an offset spatula.
- Refrigerate the pan for about 15 minutes to partially set the chocolate, then with a sharp knife, score the chocolate layer into 25 squares to make cutting easier later on.
- Refrigerate for another hour or so, until the chocolate is completely hardened.
- Cut the squares along the score lines to serve.