Saturday Snapshots: Beavertails and Nanaimo Bars

Another wee dip into my holiday photos – today I want to share a couple of Canadian snacks that I’d certainly never heard of. I mean, I’m a food blogger, but I can’t go around knowing everything. My brains would leak out of my ears. Maybe. Also if I did I wouldn’t have anything left to discover, and that would surely be a tragedy.

First up, something that seemed to divide opinions a little – Beavertails. Beavertails is a company specialising only in fried pastry items, stretched and shaped to look a bit like… well… beavers’ tails.  I’m pretty sure I didn’t have to finish that sentence. Think of a doughnut, but instead of being shaped into a ring and left to rise before frying, Beavertails are stretched flat and fried, then coated in various sugary concoctions – chocolate is also a strongly encouraged option. The advertising for Beavertails is all based around kids with chocolate all over their faces and hands, grinning from ear to ear. Not a parent’s ideal scenario, but look how happy they are!

We sampled Beavertails the day we visited Toronto Zoo – pastry for breakfast is OK, right? Right. Especially if it’s deep fried and covered in Nutella. Or maple butter.


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I can’t lie – I thoroughly enjoyed mine. The dough is crispy and sweet, with chewy bits where it’s thicker, and the chocolate hazelnut topping was divine. Apparently the pastry is wholewheat. That should count for something.

The other new cake I got to try was a Nanaimo bar – these are in the same vein as tiffin, refrigerator cake and caramel shortcake, but different from any of those.


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The bottom is a biscuit base, which I’m positive had coconut in it, then there is a layer of sweet fondant, topped off with a layer of plain chocolate. I’m given to understand that you can get different flavours of fondant, and different types of chocolate – I’m interested in constructing my own pretty soon, and you can bet I’ll be taking the opportunity to play around with the flavours. The ones we had were very sweet in the middle – I had mine over two goes, which is unusual for me – and had no colour or flavour other than sugar, sugar, sugar. Apparently some common variations are mint and mocha, both of which work for me, but I think I can come up with some other varieties, hopefully without bringing down Canadian wrath upon myself.




About Rock Salt

Seasoning while rocking out since 1983. View all posts by Rock Salt

8 responses to “Saturday Snapshots: Beavertails and Nanaimo Bars

  • thekalechronicles

    All of the versions of Nanaimo Bars I’ve ever seen featured graham cracker crumbs in the base. Since I don’t like graham cracker crumbs I’ve never made them — I’ll be interested to see what you come up with.

    • Rock Salt

      Shouldn’t be a problem to skip them – it’s hard to get graham crackers here. My go-to substitute is always digestives, I wonder if you’d like those more?

  • movita beaucoup

    I find the chocolate combined with graham crackers in the base totally cancels out the graham cracker grossness of the crust. (I hate graham crackers.) Also, those bars look positively white in the centre – I’m used to a more custardy appearance, so I’m wondering what they used up there! Here’s a good basic recipe – which I’m sure you could tweak very successfully! (Canadian Living is a fairly reliable source.)

    Also, beaver tails rock!

    • Rock Salt

      Yeah they were really white – of course I didn’t know that was weird until I looked them up online. I think they mostly used a small country’s export of sugar to make the filling, beyond that other flavours paled. Thanks so much for the link, that will be super handy!

  • jingersnaps

    I have never had a Nanaimo bar, but have heard about them from so many different people, and that description sounds pretty delicious. I’m excited to see what you do with them.

  • annika - all the live long day

    Ah, good ol’ Canadian junk food. I’ve only ever had plain beaver tails, but the Nutella version looks good! I was thinking that the Nanaimo bars looked weirdly whitish, too. They do contain coconut. My Canadian husband Marco kept asking me to make some, but I never did. I think he’s given up on it now.

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