Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Nanaimo Bars

I first read about Nanaimo Bars on a few Food Blogs. Ever since I laid eyes on this amazing looking confection I knew I had to go ahead and make it for my family. The Nanaimo bar is a Canadian dessert. It is a no-bake bar that is named after the West coast city of Nanaimo in British Columbia and since the Winter Olympics have just concluded, I figured what better way then to honor our Canadian neighbors with this recipe.

The Nanaimo Bar consists of 3 distinct layers. A wafer crumb-based layer with graham crackers, almonds and coconut, topped with a layer of vanilla custard flavored butter icing and finally a chocolate layer from melted chocolate. Many varieties are possible by using different types of crumb, flavors of icing (e.g. mint, peanut butter), and types of chocolate. Two popular variations on the traditional Nanaimo bar involve mint flavored icing or mocha flavored icing.
This bar is beyond delicious. It is fairly rich, so small squares are perfect. My family could not get enough of these and I will make this Canadian piece of perfection for years to come!

Nanaimo Bars
Bottom Layer:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 egg, beaten
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup almonds, finely chopped
1 cup sweetened coconut

Middle Layer:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons vanilla custard powder or vanilla pudding powder
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners sugar

Top Layer:
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Line an 8"x8" baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a couple of inches hanging over on each side, set the pan aside.

For the bottom layer combine butter, sugar and cocoa powder in a double boiler and heat until melted. Slowly drizzle the hot mixture into the beaten egg, whisking constantly until thickened and glossy. Stir in the graham cracker crumbs, almonds, and coconut. Press the mixture firmly into your prepared baking pan.

For the middle layer cream together the butter, the heavy cream, custard or vanilla pudding powder, vanilla extract and confectioners sugar until light and fluffy. Spread over bottom layer.

For the top layer melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler over low heat. Take off the heat source and let cool for a bit. Once cool but still liquid, pour over middle layer and chill in refrigerator until set, about an hour.

Lift the bars out using the piece of parchment with the overhanging edges and place on cutting surface. Cut into small squares using a knife dipped into hot water. Store uneaten bars in a cool place or refrigerator.



  1. I would have to say that this was one of the best desserts I have had in a while. Bite size mouth watering love.

  2. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm those are the best bars i ever ate. noah

  3. These are gorgeous! I love/hate that you use coconut in so many recipes. I adore coconut, so that's awesome for me. But my family hates it, so I never get to bake with it. So that's sad for me. Do you think I could simply leave out the coconut in these, or would I have to substitute with something else for bulk?

  4. Hi mw,thanks for stopping by and leaving such nice comments :o) I have two great loves, one is coconut and the other is lemon/lime LOL So a lot of my recipes contain those ingredients unfortunately for your family. To answer your question though, I'm not 100 percent sure if it would set up correctly if you left the coconut out but it's worth a try. Also you could just increase the graham cracker crumbs and almonds by a bit and that would definitely work. Let me know if you give them a try how it turned out!

  5. I'm loving your blog and all of your wonderful looking dessert! These nanaimo bars look delicious. I have not made these in over 10-15 years and your photos make me want to make a batch right now. I think your photography is pretty amazing.

    Thanks for sharing your recipes!

  6. Heidi - thanks for stopping by and welcome :o)
    I had never had Nanaimo bars before I tried them for the blog and they have become an instant hit with anyone who got to try them! I'm thinking 10-15 years is waaaay too long and you need to make a batch ;o)

  7. My mom made these and they so good they were the best desert in the world


Leave a comment and make my day


Related Posts with Thumbnails