The World As Chocolate -Nanaimo Bars Recipe


These chocolate bars are great for entertaining and can be prepared days before your event.

Nanaimo (pronounced nah-NIGH-moe) Bars are a traditional Canadian bar cookie whose origins are said to be from Nanaimo, British Columbia.


Cuisine: British Columbia
Yields: 1 (8-inch by 8-inch) pan
Prep time: 30 min

Bottom Layer – Crust Base:
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
5 tablespoons unsweetened unsweetened cocoa
1 1/4 cups graham cracker/wafer crumbs
1/2 cup finely-chopped almonds or pecans
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes

Custard Filling – Second Layer:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons vanilla custard powder (Bird’s Custard Powder is preferred)*
2 cups powdered (confectioners’ sugar)

* Bird’s Custard Powder is widely available in the UK and Canada. However, it is harder to find in other areas of the world. If you are unable to find it, you could substitute instant vanilla pudding or corn starch. It’s not quite the same, but it is a good substitute.

Chocolate Topping – Top Layer:
4 squares (1 ounce each) semi-sweet chocolate or 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preparation of Nanaimo Bars:

Line a 8-inch by 8-inch square baking dish or pan with either plastic wrap or aluminum foil. The original recipe does not call for lining the pan, but believe me, this makes for a must neater and easier removal of the finished bars.

Bottom Layer – Crust Base:

Place the beaten egg in a small bowl; set aside.

In a heavy saucepan over low heat, melt the butter, sugar, and cocoa. Whisk a small amount of the hot melted mixture into the egg. Return the egg mixture to the pan, whisking constantly. Cook and stir until mixture reaches 160 degrees F. on your cooking thermometer and begins to thicken. Remove from heat.

Stir in the graham cracker crumbs, almond or pecans, and coconut. Press the cracker mixture firmly into the prepared baking dish or pan. Set aside.

Custard Filling – Second Layer:

In a large bowl of your electric mixer, cream together the butter, cream, custard powder, and powdered sugar until well blended. Spread over the Crust Base. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes or until set.

Chocolate Topping – Top Layer:

In a large saucepan over low heat, melt together the chocolate and butter. Remove from heat and pour the chocolate mixture over the chilled Custard Filling. Refrigerator at least 1 hour or until set.

Nanaimo Bars may be stored in the refrigerator, covered up to 1 month.

Served chilled.


4 responses »

      • Do a taste comparison test: American Vs Foreign or also brand vs brand–like I think of brands like Nestle, Elmer’s, Zachary, and Hershey to be lower end chocolates (esp Elmer’s and Zachary) and ones like Dove and Cadbury to be higher (even though since Dove changed to the silky kind-it’s oily, IMO-and I don’t like it) I like some locally made chocolate, so, I can’t be a chocolate snob and say that I only eat European chocolate. The thing is–I’ve had some good European chocolate and some notsogood–and same with American–so maybe it’s not the continent, maybe it’s the content-like the quality of ingredients? I’d be interested in seeing a blog like that! 🙂

  1. I agree with your assessment regarding American vs Foreign chocolates. I have found the chocolates in Belgium to be my preferred, and I have had amazing chocolate in France. However, my chocolate addiction lends itself to substitutions on occasion, LOL! Thanks for the insight.

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