Nanaimo bars are a national institution in Canada. I’d always assumed these delicious bars of nutty, creamy, chocolatey goodness were first in Nanaimo (a town on Vancouver Island) – and research bears this out.
Loved across the country, there was even a knockout round in the first season of MasterChef Canada where competitors had to make desserts inspired by Nanaimo bars.
My brother’s wife always makes a batch of these super-sweet goodies at Christmas in northern BC and now I carry on the tradition with my own family in the UK. My girls love them, as do any guests we serve them to over the holidays.
(makes about 25 squares)
For the base:
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 4 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups digestive biscuit or graham wafer crumbs
- 1 cup coconut
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
For the filling:
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 cups icing sugar
- 2 tbsp instant vanilla pudding
- 3 tbsp milk
For the top:
- 4 squares semi-sweet chocolate
- 1 tbsp butter
- For the base layer, melt butter, sugar, cocoa powder, egg and vanilla in a double boiler or microwave. Combine well and remove from heat.
- Stir in the biscuit crumbs, coconut and walnuts. Spread in a 9″ x 9″ pan and chill.
- For the filling, cream together butter, icing sugar and vanilla pudding. Stir in milk.
- Spread evenly over the bottom later, and chill.
- For the topping, melt chocolate and butter in double-boiler or microwave, and spread over the filling.
- Chill thoroughly before cutting, using a sharp, warm knife.