Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo Bars


Another one of my favorite holiday treats are nanaimo bars. Nanaimo bars are another Canadian dessert and they consist of a chocolate and coconut wafer layer topped by a a layer custard butter icing and a layer chocolate. I really like the chocolate, coconut and custard combo and these chilled treats are always welcome. I had not had a nanaimo bar in a long time and I thought that it would be great to make my own this year. Since this was my first time making nanaimo bars I decided to stick with the standard recipe that seems to be everywhere on the web. As I was making the bars I was thinking that it would be nice to try tweaking the flavours in the different layers and I was thinking about mint in particular; though I will save that for another time. Because there are three layers that each required time to chill before the next layer can be added these bars take a bit of time to make. Despite the time needed they are super easy to make and well worth the effort. The nanaimo bars turned out great, just like I remembered them. I like to eat the nanaimo bars chilled, directly from the fridge but, they are also really good at room temperature. These bars also freeze well so you can make them ahead of time and store them until needed. I like to keep them in the freezer and pull one out at a time to snack on whenever I feel like one.

Ingredients:

Base
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
5 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 egg (lightly beaten)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup walnuts (chopped)

Filling
1/3 cup butter (room temperature)
3 tablespoon custard powder (or vanilla pudding powder)
1/4 cup milk
3 cups icing sugar (powdered sugar)

Topping
8 ounces semisweet chocolate
2 tablespoon butter

Directions:

Base
1. Melt the butter in a sauce pan.
2. Stir in the sugar and cocoa powder until smooth.
3. Whisk in the egg and vanilla extract and remove from heat.
4. Stir in the graham cracker crumbs, coconut and walnuts.
5. Press into a greased 8 inch square pan and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Filling
1. Cream the butter.
2. Beat in the custard powder and milk.
3. Beat in the sugar slowly.
4. Spread over the the base layer and chill in the fridge until it sets.

Topping
1. Melt the chocolate and butter in a pan and stir until smooth.
2. Spread over the filling layer and chill in a fridge until the chocolate begins to harden.
3. Score the chocolate where you will cut it into bars and chill in the fridge.
4. Before the chocolate hardens, cut into bars. (Use an hot knife and wipe clean after each cut.)

Similar Recipes:
Rolo Cheesecake Bars

127 comments:

VeggieGirl said...

Oh my, those are beautiful.

Lisa said...

These look so good!

Hayley said...

I've never heard of these before...they look so professional!

Emily said...

You are killing me with these delicious desserts! Yum...

And they do look professional - really beautiful!

soulchocolate said...

These look beautiful! I love how straight and neat the edges are! Bet these taste fabulous too! Double thumbs up!!!

Helene said...

They look like they came from a good bakery. I love the one with Crème de Menthe in the middle also.

Rita said...

How funny! I have been thinking about Nanaimo bars for a week now, probably because I will be in BC next week and will have some for sure. I remember one layer being a litte more yellow though...Don't know why. Yours look good, enjoy it!

Ann said...

Honestly kevin,why are you torturing me with the delicious beauty ? Its seriously tempting..

Melissa said...

I've never heard of these. They sound like fun!

Cheryl said...

OH MY GOD, I love those things, havent had one for years and years! I must make them and yours look perfect!

timboxyz said...

Yum, can I have one? ;-)

Esi said...

This looks great! The combo of flavors sound so good. I bet a mint version would be great.

Elra said...

Very interesting name for bars, I honestly never heard it before.
Sounds delicious.
Cheers,
Elra

Sharon said...

I love nanaimo bars!!!!

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

Oooh! My mom used to make these and I loved them! Yours look great. Chocolate and coconut is a sacred combination to me! ;)

Debby said...

Funny, I was thinking of making these. I've made them every Christmas (I leave out the coconut) and use Burd's Custard Powder. These are always a big hit and so easy to make. Nice photo...
I know what I'm making tomorrow!

rhonalala said...

Wow! For your first time in making these bars, they sure look excellent. I love this blog by the way. From one Canadian to another.

toxobread said...

I'm such a sucker for nanaimo bars! The only time I ever made them was out of a box (with the bright green mint custard filling), but now I don't have to wait until I go home for these. Bookmarked!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Beautiful! That's a gorgeous treat I'll soon have to make...

Cheers,

Rosa

chefectomy said...

You are looking awfully skinny for all that baking Kev. What's so bad about chocolate and coconut? :)

--Marc

Anna at Mediocre Chocolate said...

I made Nanaimo bars for the first time last year--turned them into a cheesecake bar, and everyone at the office went NUTS! Yours looks amazing with that thick crust! It's the best part.

MeetaK said...

simply delish Kevin. There is something similar here in Germany too but they are not chilled. This sounds even better!

Manggy said...

I love the beautiful layering on these Kevin! (And of course butter custard can't hurt either ;)

Peter M said...

Nanaimo bars are one of faves too...gotta have them during Christmas.

Jan said...

I haven't heard of these before but they do look good!

Nina Timm said...

What's with the sweet tooth Kev? This is so unlike you! I would not mind having a few of these bars in my fridge! Delicious!!!

Dani said...

these look better than the bakery's :)

Parker said...

These look perfect. They really are my favorite christmas bar.

The Mediocre Cook said...

Truly these are my favorite dessert! I loved them as a kid growing up and I love them even more today. Yours look like they turned out great.

Marija said...

Never had those! Sounds absolutely perfect! I'll give them a try definitely!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I've always wondered about the origin of the Nanaimo bar. Any ideas?

sugarlens said...

I agree with everyone else - it looks so professional! Something from a fancy pastry shop...

bird's eye view said...

mmmm, these are one of my favourites. a lot of your recipes have made it into this year's family christmas eve dinner. sadly these will not, but i'm drooling on the keyboard anyways.

Debbie said...

They look wonderful....Once again, everything you make looks wonderful!!!!

Passionate About Baking said...

Beautiful Kevin..just perfect. I 'unbelievingly' did a recce of the list of ingredients & found these very 'doable', cosidering the lack of ingredients in out part of the world. A few small substitutes...& I shall be singing nanaimos! Have a great holiday season!

Robin Sue said...

I lost my Nanimo Bar recipe and here it is, right here on your site. Thanks for sharing, I used to like to make these at Christmastime in the past and probably tossed my recipe with my baking mess as I cleaned up. Thanks! Oh how did you cut them to be so perfect, please share!! Pretty please!

Katrina said...

I made these last year, but the middle layer was peanut butter. They were so good. Yours look delicious!

lisaiscooking said...

I've never seen these before. They look great, and I'd love to try one!

Aggie said...

Those look gorgeous and I bet they were unbelievably delicious!

Maria said...

Never tried these, but I am sure I would love them!

Marjie said...

These look terrific! I do love a good chocolate!

Darius T. Williams said...

Looks good...and I love the "clean knife" cut you did!

Sandie said...

These look great, and worth whatever effort they took to make (chilling the layers)!

Diana Evans said...

oh wow Kevin!!! very lovely...you always make the food look as good as it tastes!!!

I am snowed in and baking up a storm in the kitchen today....

Hugs
Diana

Rosie said...

I loooove Naniamo bars! My boyfriend's mom makes mint ones every Christmas. They are delicious!

Paula said...

Oooh, these look great. I like the idea of eating the bars cold, too. YUM!

Thankful said...

Mmm, I love them out of the freezer. My Canadian mother-in-law makes them every year at the holidays. Yum.

Joy the Baker said...

FANTASTIC! I'm making these bars with my darling boyfriend's Canadian mother next week. I had no idea what they looked like. Now I'm even more excited! Lovely Kevin!

Jeanine said...

Those look great, Kevin! My husband wanted me to make some of these, maybe I'll give them a try now. Yours look fantastic!

Katie Barlow said...

Oh my Gosh YUM! I'm drooling right now!

kickpleat said...

i haven't had nanaimo bars in years! these look great.

Soma said...

One of the most beautiful desserts I hav ever seen.

Elle said...

I've always wanted to make these, and these look particularly delicious, Kevin!

cindy* said...

yum! impressive, i love the layers!

Shannon and Scott said...

My mom used to make these! But i have a question. What is icing sugar? Is it just powdered sugar?

Andrea said...

These are the most beautiful nanaimo bars I have ever seen. Literally, they look gourmet.

Kevin said...

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry): According to the wikipedia entry Nanaimo bars original from Nanaimo, British Columbia.

Robin Sue: After the bars finished chilling in the fridge I cut them with a knife that I ran under the hot water tap and wiped the blade clean after each cut.

Shannon and Scott: Icing sugar is powdered sugar.

Bridgett said...

How decadent!

Cynthia said...

I have missed many of your excellent posts and dishes. Do forgive me.

Happy Holidays!

Jan said...

I have never heard of these treats, but they look and sound fab.

Ginny said...

mmm...I've never heard of them! They look great! :)

Ginny said...

mmm...I've never heard of them! They look great! :)

Mrs Ergül said...

This is so nicely done you can already sell it Kevin!

Grace said...

what a perfect slice of deliciousness--nicely done, kevin!

Gretchen Noelle said...

Gorgeous and tasty, I am sure. Love these bars!

pixen said...

Now that's really scrumptious Kevin. U never heard of Nanaimo Bars, not even from my Canadian neighbour! Very well executed cut and the photography is so tempting. You know what, I may just try your recipe and surprise my neighbour :-D Thank you for the recipe.

Happy Holidays!

Lorraine E said...

Wow those layers are so beautiful! It looks so chic! :)

Eliza28 said...

These look wonderful with the different layers and the mint sounds great.. holiday party dessert idea filled. Thanks!

Jaime said...

i've never heard of these but the picture instantly caught my attention...yum!

Marie said...

YUMMO!! A Canadian Christmas given!!! I always made Nanaimo bars at Christmas for on my baking trays. Yours look fabulous!

once in a blue moon... said...

you take super pics and this has been on my to do list for months... never enough time to gobble it all up!

your profile pic is great, mykonos?

Ingrid said...

I love desserts where you can see the distinct layers. Your slices came out perfect, too!
~ingrid

ak said...

Kevin, I've never left a msg before but I'm an avid reader:) Your Nanaimo bars have tempted me to make a batch - this is the first I've heard of them - but I am taking them home for X-mas, I think my family will love them. Thanks!

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

I love nanaimo bars!

Mochachocolata Rita said...

loving this shot, kev...and love the layers

Robin Sue said...

Kevin- Thanks for the cutting tip!

Ameet said...

I love nanaimo bars. I use to date a girl (from Canada, no less) that introduced me to these. You've inspired me to make this again. Thanks Kevin!

Amanda said...

I saw these in a brewpub over Christmas and I was like, "I KNOW WHAT THESE ARE! THESE ARE CANADIAN!"

Everyone was very impressed with my little trivia knowledge. Thanks! (I had a Irish Cream one and it was delish!)

Jeanne said...

I've never heard of these before, but I don't see how you can go wrong with these flavours. Beautiful!

Kevin said...

once in a blue moon...: Close, the profile pic was taken in Santorini.

EAT! said...

I am not waiting until next Christmas to make these wonderful looking bars!!

gastrodiva said...

Jako lijepo...

Foxglove said...

wow! that nanaimo bar looks delicious! i'm plannin to prepare it for chinese new year's dessert for the family

Miette said...

Mmmm... What a georgeous recipe ! These look so cute, so perfect ! Thanks !

Cheers,

Miette

Laila said...

I heard of these bars from my sister in law (she is Canadian).. but now only i know y she likes it that much ... will be trying it soon ... Laila .. http://limeandlemon.wordpress.com/

lacucinadimarble said...

my compliments Kevin, you are very... bravo!!!
I discovered your blog recently and I really like it!

I'll make these bars, you can show me how I can change graham cracker crumbs here in Italy we don't know them.

sorry for my English but I translate online

Thanks and compliments again

Anna Rita

Kevin said...

lacucinadimarble: I think that vanilla wafers would work just as well.

lacucinadimarble said...

thanks for the answer!

I will make them soon and then I say to you

:)

Anna Rita

Anna Rita - Marble said...

dear kevin,
finally I made these bars, not beautiful like yours, but very good!!!

you can see my nanaimo bars here: http://www.lacucinadimarble.it/rec.php?id=460

thanks for the recipe and for your help

Anna Rita - Marble

Lori said...

These look so amazing Kevin. I want to make some for a family function that is coming up and I got to tell you- yours look incredible.

Alessandra said...

I was completely shocked when i saw the pic, I had to click on it!!
They look good in a lustful way!
I've found today your blog and it looks amazing, I love to start savouring food from the beautiful pictures.
Greetings from Italy:)
Bravissimo!

Allison said...

I just found your blog through Marie at A Year From Oak Cottage. Wow! You have some incredible looking recipes! Where did you learn to cook?

Do I need to do any measurement converting to make these in the US?

Come visit The Rabbit Hole anytime. I have occasional recipes but mostly just fun this and that.

Kevin said...

Allison: I am mostly self taught as far as cooking goes. You do not need to do any measurement converting, just use the recipe as is. Let me know how they turn out.

Anonymous said...

My mom always made these as part of her Christmas baking. The secret is to use Bird's custard powder or it won't taste/look right.

Lynn said...

Kevin, did you use sweetened or unsweetened flaked coconut? Also, I've tried making these once and my crust did not come out as thick as your beautiful picture....did you use a smaller pan than mentioned in the recipe? Thanks for your advice!

Kevin said...

Lynn: You could go with either. The bars are pretty sweet as it is so it is just a matter of how sweet you want them.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kevin,

It doesn't make sense to eat uncoocked raw egs. I'd like to have your comment.

Thanks- Alex

Kevin said...

Anonymous: In this recipe you are whisking the egg into the contents of a hot pan while whisking to prevent it from turning into scrambled eggs. You remove the pan from the heat as soon as you add the egg but there will be enough heat to render it safe.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kevin,
Your photo shows a white filling rather than the usual pale yellow of the Bird's custard powder which I am not that keen on...what did you use in place to make it white? I might just have to try these again!
Thanks very much, and you have a wonderful site!

s said...

beautiful..i made these once a long time back ..but they were sad:( Yours look stunning!

'Rin said...

I definitely couldn't find custard powder at my grocery. Should the vanilla pudding powder be the cooking-kind or the instant-kind?

Kevin said...

Rin: Go with the instant vanilla pudding.

Cinders Kitchen said...

Kevin, I must say I love your blog. You have a beautiful layout and the recipes look great. This particular recipe seems to be the same one my mother used to make at Christmas. They had a different name but it looks to be the same recipe. These were terrific and I had forgotten about them. Thanks for the reminder as I loved these bars!!

Ruza123 said...

I'm making them,but I didin't know the name !!:)

Jane said...

I read your blog all the time but this is the 1st time I've been compelled to comment. My gal pals & I used to take a yearly pilgrimage from our homes in NE to Nova Scotia via the Scotia Prince. The 1st thing we would do is race up the ship & search for these bars! Thanks for the nostalgia, and all of your very talented recipes!

Mark said...

These look delicious. Im just a kid and im already cooking. I always wanted to find something for Christmas Dinner Dessert and now I have. Thanks for a great dessert blog post. Can't wait tell you post more blog posts. I have Sent you my ULR.

Borso said...

Thanks for this lovely recipe! It is very delicious. :)

Trish44145 said...

These were fabulous! I have celiac so I used gluten-free graham cracker crumbs and they were delicious and looked just like yours. Planning on taking them to my daughter's house for Christmas, if my husband and I don't eat them all in the meantime. Thanks!

~Maria~ said...

I'm trying out this recipe with Pastry Cream as the custard filling (I'm a Patisserie student at Le Cordon Bleu). I'll let you know how it turns out! I love Nanaimo Bars!

Auto Showcase - The Gourmand said...

Wow these are awesome! Thanks for another great recipe. So glad I found your post for Maple Pots de Creme. Those are my all time favorite dessert!

Anne-Marie said...

nanaimo bars are my mst have at christmas time. i've been converting all my american friends into nanaimo lovers too. i was just going to suggest that next year you try with chocolate graham cracker crust. that''s how my mom ad i make them and theres really no way to go wrong with more chocolate!

Katya said...

When I made mine, I mixed the middle layer with a few tablespoons of peanut butter - YUM!!

Charlie said...

Kevin: I love Nanaimo bars!

Here is a recipe for a passionfruit one that I picked up on

BakeinParis

http://bakeinparis.blogspot.com/2010/01/daring-bakers-nanaimo-bars.html

doyle said...

Nanaimo bars are one of the greatest contributions from Canada. Love 'em.

Nuša Vogrinčič said...

Nanaimo bar is really awesome. I was wondering if there's any alternative to middle layer, to me it is delicious but its more or less very caloric due to butter and sugar. Vanilla pudding maybe? Thanks and wishing you a lot of suchlike ventures in advance

Anonymous said...

can you buy Graham cracker crumbs in Australia and where if not what would be the substitute love your web site the recipes are fantastic many thanks wendy

Kevin said...

Wendy: I am not sure if graham crackers are available in Australia but if you cannot find them then pretty much any plain cookie like vanilla wafers or digestive biscuits will work with the cocoa or you could even use chocolate cookies, like the tops of Oreos, without the cocoa.

Carlene & Bob Deutscher said...

We made a cupcake version of the nanimo bar! Check it out here: http://bsinthekitchen.com/?p=177

gj said...

My great grandmother was from Canada and though my grandmother wasn't much of a cook or baker, she always made Nanaimo Bars (which we just call "Nanaimos").

My kids (now in their 20s) love these and demand them every Christmas.

Someone commented about the hazard of using raw egg on the bottom layer. If this bothers you, get some pasteurized frozen egg and use that instead.

Someone else mentioned pastry cream as a substitute for the custard filling, but I don't think that will work. Pastry cream is too soft. The middle layer of the Nanaimo Bars is quite firm.

For those who can't find graham crackers for the bottom layer, I agree that digestives or vanilla wafers or Marie biscuits will work. Any plain, slightly sweet cookie/biscuit.

Becca said...

Kevin, did you end up trying any other versions? As the first American generation in my Canadian family I've had only this original style since I didnt have them often & I love them! However, I developed an allergy to coconut (my all-time favorite flavor) at 18, and have not been able to have these for over 10 years. I'd truly appreciate some ideas as to what I can use in the bottom layer instead. Thanks for all you crave!!!

Kevin said...

Becca: I am really into coconut so I have not tried a version without. You could easily just skip the coconut and use the recipe as it is without. I was recently thinking about trying a version with rolled oats or maybe even quinoa.

Anonymous said...

For those who don't have graham crackers available for the bottom layer: I agree that Kevin's suggestion of vanilla wafers would work, but the closest substitute of all is Digestive Biscuits. And I believe the second best would be Marie Biscuits. If I couldn't find either of those I'd probably settle for vanilla wafers.

Lucia from Madison said...

Okay I have bookmarked this one.

theash13ss said...

Kevin, Kevin, Kevin!
........ thank you, man.
I'm in love with this bars :)

Maureen Fitzpatrick said...

I have been making this exact recipe for a few years now. Every Christmas the first thing my brother-in-law asks is if I made nanaimo bars. I got it in a recipe book that I received as a gift. It is really good.

Henriette said...

This is THE recipe! Wow looks so awesome! Can't wait to taste them!

Jodee Weiland said...

Kevin, this recipe looks delicious and calls out to my chocolate love! I love the idea that you can freeze them. What a great dessert idea!

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