Nanaimo Bars

I don’t really know how I first heard about Nanaimo Bars. But ever since the day I first saw them, I have been dying to make them!

The grand final rematch was the perfect excuse. Cricket was due to start, but the league cancelled the match so everyone could watch the footy. Cue impromtu gathering at the club and a request to “bring a plate”. Checking the Nanaimo recipe, it was super simple to make dairy free, so off I went.

Nanaimo bars are a Canadian dessert, it has almost a hedgehog like base (albeit a lot finer), a custard buttercream filling, and covered in a melted chocolate ganache.

They are super simple to make (less than an hour) and while they are a touch tricky to cut up nicely (see below) they taste amazing!

These went down a treat and were gone pretty quickly. My only advice is to keep them refrigerated until serving as on a warm day they will get very soft! So, Canadians, what other sweets are you hiding from us?

Nanaimo Bars

Bottom Layer
½ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup sugar
5 tbsp. cocoa
1 egg beaten
1 ¼ cups graham wafer crumbs (I used Nice biscuits)
½ c. finely chopped almonds
1 cup coconut

Melt first 3 ingredients in top of double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, coconut, and nuts. Press firmly into an ungreased 8″ x 8″ pan.

Second Layer
½ cup unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. and 2 Tsp. cream (I used soy milk. Other recipes use milk so it doesn’t have to be cream)
2 Tbsp. vanilla custard powder
2 cups icing sugar

Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light. Spread over bottom layer. (I refrigerated at this point to cool it down)

Third Layer
113 grams semi-sweet chocolate
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Melt chocolate and butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, but still liquid, pour over second layer and chill in refrigerator. Slice with a warm knife when ready to serve. (If making again, I would make the chocolate first, so it has enough time to cool down before you pour over the slice. If it is too warm it melts the middle layer)

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7 responses to “Nanaimo Bars

  1. Yum! I miss nanimo bars and have been planning on making them sometime soon. I always try to add WAY more icing sugar to the middle layer than it asks for. Helps keep it thicker although if you’re worried about losing the custard flavour, add another tsp of custard powder. Chilling (in all stages) is mandatory (I make them a day ahead at least) and scoring the slightly firmed up chocolate can help prevent breaking.
    (Can you tell I’ve made too many pans of nanimo bars in my day?)

    Can’t think of too many other Canadian desserts (Nanimo bars tends to be the obscure one) beyond pumpkin pie, butter tarts and maple-flavoured things.

    • ooh thanks for the tips! I think extra icing sugar is a great idea. I used a hot knife to do my cutting, but after they were out of the fridge for a bit they kept breaking anyway!

      Mmm maple! yum!

  2. I’ve never heard of Nanaimo bars before! They look rather decadently sweet and awesome, though 🙂

  3. So excited to see so many people loving Nanaimo bars – its what we’re famous for in Nanaimo (where I live). We actually have quite the Nanaimo Bar trail consisting of Nanaimo Bar martinis, cupcakes, cheesecake, fudge, deep fried, organic, ice cream, sundae’s and an exhibit at the Nanaimo museum. Keep enjoying and thanks for sharing!

  4. Yum, this looks fantastic!! I especially like the custard cream layer, it sounds fantastic!

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