What the heck are dainties???? When I first moved to Manitoba a co-worker asked me if I would like to try one of her dainties.  I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about.  I pictured some sort of little tiny delicate piece of lace, or perhaps something that the queen would carry and use while sipping tea out of a very expensive cup and saucer.  Turns out "dainties" is just the Manitoba word for squares or mini desserts.  Everyone in Manitoba uses this term and every time I hear it I giggle.  Recently I captured this photograph at the local co-op grocery store.

It got me thinking, I am always laughing about the word dainties but I've never actually made squares or dainties of any sort from scratch.  Most people that know me well know that I am very intimidated by the kitchen and cooking and baking.  It has only been in the last few years that I have started experimenting in the kitchen and actually feel confident enough to make things.  Last fall I decided to finally overcome my fear of cooking and baking and bought a Kitchenaid Mixmaster.  I've had some things turn out really well, and others that were pretty bad.  I decided my first batch of dainties should be a fairly easy recipe.  I decided on a recipe my mother makes often, one that the family has nicknamed "gram's favourite squares" in honour of my late great-grandmother who routinely requested these squares be made by my mother for family get togethers.  My mother assured me these are the easiest squares/dainties to make.


microwave 2 squares of semi-sweet chocolate.  Add 1/2 cup of margarine and microwave until melted. Mix well.  Blend in 1/3 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, 1 beaten egg, 1 and a 1/2 cups of coconut, 1 cup rolled oats, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts.  Press into a buttered 8 inch square pan.  Then apply a layer of vanilla icing - any basic icing recipe will do, or if you are like me and have no idea how to make icing off the top of your head, use store bought icing, it will taste fine.  Then add a top layer of chocolate by microwaving 4 squares of semi-sweet chocolate, add 2 tablespoons of margarine and microwave until melted.  Mix well.  Spread this mixture over the icing.  Cover and store in fridge.

Here is what it looked like:

I made a few small mistakes.  I should have pressed the bottom layer down into the pan a lot more to make it more firm and less gooey.  My mom told me afterwards that I should have used a potato masher to push it down nice and tight.  I also need to work on my spreading and cutting skills to make them look prettier and more "dainty".  But they sure do taste delicious! Next time these dainties will look perfect!