Nanaimo Bars

One of my closest friend is a Canadian and every time we talk about food I always ask him if there are any Canadian specialty that I can make, it’s quite hard for him to choose might be because Canada is like New Zealand where we don’t have intricate traditional dishes like what if found in Asia. His answers are always maple syrup based desserts or the most popular Canadian dish called poutine, I am really interested in the latter but still lazy to make my own cheese curd I hope I can find it in supermarket here so it would save me time if I wish to make it. But before we do that I guess I will make something simple and Canadian as I never had any Canadian dish on my category and this will be the first, the Nanaimo Bars.

Nanaimo bar is a no bake dessert bar made out of three layers, first of which is the base made out of biscuit or cookie crumbs. Second layer is a made out of custard vanilla icing while the final layer is made out of melted chocolates. This dessert is named after a city in British Columbia called Nanaimo and it is very popular within the surrounding regions. It was first seen in a recipe submitted by Mabel Jenkins for the annual Ladysmith and Cowichan Women’s Institute Cookbook during the 1950’s. It then became really popular and was sold in several coffee shops on Nanaimo’s Commercial Street, initially it was called “Mabel Bar’s” but tourists who did not know Mabel call it “Nanaimo Bars” due to the street where it is sold at. Since then it is named and published as “Nanaimo Bars” and continued to become popular and at one stage it was voted to be the “Canada’s Favourite Confection” in a National Post reader survey and the rest was history.

While I am writing this I am anxiously waiting for it to be chilled in the fridge so I don’t have any idea yet how it would taste but I had some taste test of each layer so I know this would be good, I can just imagine the combination of all of those layers melting in your mouth. Anyways will let you know how it went through the comments below.

Nanaimo Bars
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Bottom Layer
  • 2 cups crumbed graham cracker
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • ½ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup butter, cubed in room temperature
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Middle Layer
  • ¼ cup butter, cubed in room temperature
  • 4 tbsp cream
  • 2 tbsp custard powder
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
Top Layer
  • 120 grams dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp cream
  • 1 tbsp butter
Bottom Layer
  1. In a saucepan melt butter over low heat, once totally melted add sugar and cocoa powder.
  2. Remove from heat then gradual add the beaten egg while whisking the butter mixture.
  3. Place the saucepan back to low heat while whisking, cook until mixture thickens.
  4. Remove from heat then add the graham crackers, desiccated coconut, walnuts and vanilla. Mix well then place in a 10 x 6 inch baking tray or equivalent. Press the crumbs firmly until they fuse together. Cover with cling wrap then place in the fridge for at least an hour to harden.
Middle Layer
  1. Place butter in a mixing bowl, make sure it is soft but not melted. Using a hand mixer beat butter until it is smooth, creamy and whipped.
  2. Add the remaining Middle Layer ingredients and gently mix using a spatula until it resembles big crumbs.
  3. Now using the hand mixer beat mixture until smooth.
  4. Remove the baking tray with bottom layer from the fridge, spread filling over top of bottom layer then cover it with cling wrap, refrigerate for at least an hour.
Top Layer
  1. In a double boiler add butter, chocolate and cream. Melt mixture then turn heat off.
  2. Remove baking tray from the fridge then pour melted chocolate evenly on the top then cover again with cling wrap, refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Once ready cut into squares then serve.



No Responses

  1. I love the textured look of these bars Raymund. They would make a great hostess gift.
    🙂 Mandy

  2. Very interesting looking bar, never heard of this creation before

  3. Tessa says:

    I really like the layers on the bars. They look lovely and delicious!

  4. I like layered desserts, it’s like getting the perfect bite every time. 🙂

  5. mjskit says:

    I’ve never heard of these bars but I sure want one! They look delicous. I could eat each layer separately or all together. 🙂

  6. These bars sound great, but you have to make poutine…it’s sooo good.

  7. My Canadian friend also makes these and they are one of my favorite desserts!

  8. This must taste really good with all those ingredients. I have never had Nanaimo. Did you know that if you say it, it sounds like nanay mo, LOL! jok lng. Have a good weekend, Raymund! 🙂

  9. meri says:

    ooh these look delicious!

  10. peasepudding says:

    Sound rather good and nice for this hot weather not to put the oven on! I have just made a slice this weekend too.

  11. Kristy says:

    The photo is gorgeous Raymund. You know I don’t much care for chocolate, but these are just pretty. I like that there’s no baking involved too. My kids and Mike would love these.

  12. Your picture looks amazing! I am a fellow Canadian and this is one of my guilty pleasures. If you add some espresso powder to the custard filling or even grand marnier, with a white chocolate ganache, that’s a pretty rad switch up too. Thanks for your lovely post!

  13. foodjaunts says:

    Poutine is amazing 🙂 Not something I indulge in frequently but crazy delicious. These bars look fantastic! I basically love anything with a custard layer.

  14. waraenab says:

    Mmmm Looks yummy 🙂 Im new to this whole blogging thing
    I hope you will check out my new food blog 🙂

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