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Nanaimo Bars

The 2nd part of Daring Bakers' January challenge hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen is making Nanaimo Bars.

The Nanaimo bar is a Canadian dessert made up of a base containing graham crackers, cocoa, coconut and nuts, a middle custard layer, and a topping of chocolate. This no bake dessert is named after the West-Coast city of Nanaimo, British Columbia and is popular across North America.

Nanaimo Bars

Bottom Layer

  • 115 g (¼ cup) unsalted Butter
  • 50 g (¼ cup) granulated Sugar
  • 5 tbsp unsweetened Cocoa powder
  • 1 large egg (beaten)
  • 1 ¼ cups (300 mL) graham crackers crumbs (home-made or store bought)
  • 55 g (½ cup) Almonds (finely chopped)
  • 130 g (1 cup) Coconut (Shredded)

Middle Layer

  • 115 g (½ cup) unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp & 2 tsp (40 mL) heavy cream or crème frâiche
  • 2 tbsp vanilla custard powder (or vanilla pudding mix may be substituted)
  • ½ cups (127 g)Icing Sugar

Top Layer

  • 115 g Semi-sweet chocolate
  • 28 g (2 tbsp) Unsalted Butter
Nanaimo Bars
    For bottom Layer
    1. Melt unsalted butter, sugar and cocoa in top of a double boiler.
    2. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken.
    3. Remove from heat. Stir in graham cracker crumbs, nuts and coconut.
    4. Press firmly into an ungreased 8 by 8 inch pan.

    Middle Layer

    1. Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well.
    2. Beat until light in colour. Spread over bottom layer.

    For Top Layer

    1. Melt chocolate and unsalted butter over low heat.
    2. Cool. Once cool, pour over middle layer and chill.
    Nanaimo BarsNanaimo Bars
    The Verdict

    They are sinfully rich in taste and flavour. We like it but aren't so hot about it, as it is simply too rich and creamy for our taste. Pierre ate 2 slices and he doesn't want to touch it again. Poppet loves the rich creamy taste of it and would gladly eat more if I let her. As for me, I tried to eat more of it as I didn't want to see it go to waste but it is just too rich for my digestion. I'm glad that I have the hindesight to make only half of the above quantity stated. The rest of the bars are in the freezer.

    As it is extremely rich, it is probably best to make these bars in very small bite size.


    These bars freeze very well, so don't be afraid to pop some into the freezer.

Nanaimo Bars
#1, by Sarah, Maison Cupcake (01/27/2010)

Nice fat Nanaimos Pam. That's a whopping thick custard layer... did you double the amount?

#2, by Lyrical Lemongrass (01/28/2010)

Hi! I love rich desserts, so I may just try this recipe.:-) Just one question, though - you mentioned gluten free flour in your footnote, but I don't see any flour in your recipe? Thanks.

#3, by The Cooking Ninja (01/28/2010)

@Sarah, Maison Cupcake: No. I did half the amount of the amount stated. Maybe that's why we felt it was so rich. LOL!

@Lyrical Lemongrass: Ooops! Wrong post. Corrected. Thanks for bring it to my attention. It is mention for graham crackers.:-) When you make this, make sure you make it in bite size.

#4, by meeta (01/28/2010)

oh this is nice - lovely thick layers on your bars. i preferred the graham crackers too the bars were nice but still on the sweet side after i reduced the sugar to half!

#5, by Sunita (01/28/2010)

Your layers look so neat. We loved the crackers too, but the bars were way too rich for us.

#6, by diva (01/28/2010)

check out those generous layers you've got there?!?!!? fat layers i love!:-D cos we're greedy, yes. xx

#7, by Aparna (01/28/2010)

Lovely. I reduced the sugar in mine even though I couldn't do much about the butter! LOL
I've found the best way to do justice to desserts like these is to share them.:-)

#8, by The Cooking Ninja (01/28/2010)

@Meeta: Yes it is still kinda sweet for us too. I didn't use semi-sweet choc for top layer but 65% dark choc (listed sugar as 2nd ingredient)- figured that will do instead.

@Sunita: Thank u.:-) Wish I had thot of making teeny tiny ones like you and others did.:-)

@Diva: I gladly give you the rest in my freezer.:-)

#9, by The Cooking Ninja (01/28/2010)

@Aparna: I totally agree with you but we have no one to share these here.:-(

#10, by MMC (01/29/2010)


#11, by deeba (01/29/2010)

Gorgeous nanaimo's Pam. I like how high and full yours are. My hub and kids LOVED them. I too the cue from Aparna and reduced the sugar...they were fab!!

#12, by Asha@FSK (01/29/2010)

Gorgeous bar! and looks so RICH!:-D Btw, how is your custard layer soo thick??? I felt mine was too little!

#13, by The Cooking Ninja (01/29/2010)

@Deeba: Thank you. We like it but felt it was too rich.

@Asha@FSK: hmm...everyone asked me that. I thought I reduced the custard quantity. Perhaps I might have done the full quantity due to distraction, hence the thick layer. Now that would explain why we felt the middle layer was too thick. LOL!

#14, by Coffee and Vanilla (01/29/2010)

Yummy, I see them recently all over the blogs what makes me hungry!:-)

Talking about lunchboxes: I have only 4 (for my daughter), but I need one more so I could have different one every day of the week, thanks for asking:-)

#15, by Natalie (01/29/2010)

Gorgeous job! I ended up having to add extra milk and flavoring to my custard layer. I couldn't get the butter mixture to absorb all the powdered sugar and custard powder. When I added extra milk the flavor of the custard powder was rather nasty and over powering. So I added a little more milk and vanilla extract to change the flavor. So my middle layer turned out a little thick.

Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

#16, by Jeanne @ Cooksister (02/09/2010)

Wow - those look fabulous. I can imagine they would make good petit fours, cut up into dainty bite-sized chunks...