Nanaimo bars

26 May

Nanaimo bars

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.

Nanaimo bars
(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
  1. For the base layer, melt butter, sugar, cocoa powder, egg and vanilla in a double boiler or microwave. Combine well and remove from heat.
  2. Stir in the biscuit crumbs, coconut and walnuts. Spread in a 9″ x 9″ pan and chill.
  3. For the filling, cream together butter, icing sugar and vanilla pudding. Stir in milk.
  4. Spread evenly over the bottom later, and chill.
  5. For the topping, melt chocolate and butter in double-boiler or microwave, and spread over the filling.
  6. Chill thoroughly before cutting, using a sharp, warm knife.


4 Responses to “Nanaimo bars”

  1. Margo May 26, 2016 at 8:53 pm #

    A lovely golden oldie. Nothing else quite satisfies the urge for something chocolaty and piercingly sweet

  2. Yana May 27, 2016 at 11:18 am #

    I love when I come across something I never heard about! Thank you, Andrea, for introducing me to these amazing looking bars 🙂

  3. MyAllegory September 14, 2016 at 2:26 pm #

    I lived in Nanaimo for a few years and those were some tasty little treats.

    • Andrea September 14, 2016 at 6:55 pm #

      They are indeed!

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