- Food and Cooking
Easy Nanaimo Bar Recipes
West Coast Canadian Favorite
Looking for a no bake easy to prepare dessert treat to take to an office holiday party or Christmas cookie exchange? Ask anyone from the province of British Columbia in Canada about a Nanaimo Bar and they will easily wax nostalgic about this regional indulgence. It's a super sweet, rich chocolate no bake bar composed of three layers: a dense graham cracker coconut base with a vanilla custard icing layer topped off by a thin layer of chocolate.
It's so easy to make just like rice krispy squares. There's nothing that can really go wrong when you're putting it together. It just takes a bit of time to assemble the layers. I'm only a weekend warrior when it comes to cooking and baking so if I can do it, you can too. It's the kind of dessert that's perfect for a church bazaar, a holiday get together, potluck or bake sale which is ironic given there's no baking required.
How will you know if you've made it correctly? The bottom layer is firm and should taste like a cross between a brownie and a macaroon. The middle will be a firm layer of icing slightly thicker than canned frosting. The top will set so it's like a thin chocolate candy bar. Listed below are several easy recipes for nanaimo bars.
But if you want to really wow your guests, try mint nanaimo bars, an orange chocolate Grand Marnier variation and delightfully pink versions that are flavored with raspberries or cherries. Why stop at only one batch when you can try all these fun kinds.
Nanaimo Bar Photo
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Updated 5/17 & 5/20
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The Ultimate Nanaimo Bar Recipe
From the City of Nanaimo
This recipe for the legendary Nanaimo Bar comes from a contest in 1986 initiated by Nanaimo's mayor to find the ultimate Nanaimo Bar. This recipe from Joyce Hardcastle was chosen from over 100 entries.
Nanaimo Bar Recipe
Â½ cup unsalted butter (European style cultured)
Â¼ cup sugar
5 tbsp. cocoa
1 egg beaten
1 Â¼ cups graham wafer crumbs
Â½ c. finely chopped almonds
1 cup coconut
Melt first 3 ingredients in top of double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, coconut, and nuts. Press firmly into an ungreased 8" x 8" pan.
Â½ cup unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. and 2 Tsp. cream
2 Tbsp. vanilla custard powder
2 cups icing sugar
Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light. Spread over bottom layer.
4 squares semi-sweet chocolate (1 oz. each)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Melt chocolate and butter overlow heat. Cool. Once cool, but still liquid, pour over second layer and chill in refrigerator.
Remember to buy unsalted butter & although you can use sweetened or unsweetened coconut, since the whole confection is pretty sweet already, unless you just want to use up sweetened coconut you already have in your pantry, buy a package of unsweetened cocnut. If you can't find custard powder, it's OK to substitute powdered instant vanilla pudding mix.
Nanaimo Bar Photo & Recipe Source
Nanaimo Bars Extraordinaire
Alternate Joy of Baking Recipe
Click on the link below for the interesting backstory on one of Canada's most beloved regional desserts. There are now many variations on the original recipe which can be found including a cheesecake version, cranberries, peanut butter etc. This recipe includes vanilla extract and recommends either walnuts or pecans for the nut chocolate base.
Nanaimo Bar With a Twist
Raspberry or Strawberry Versions
Here's a great variation for Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, baby showers or wedding anniversaries. Instead of a cream colored center, you add strawberry or raspberry jam for a bright tinge of pink color. Isn't that a fun twist without having to add food coloring?
It might be fun to try with your own favorite jams to see what kind of flavor combo would result. I would think most fruits go with chocolate so they would all probably turn out great. I wonder if blueberry jam would look really blue? You could then make a plate for someone's shower if they're expecting a baby boy. I haven't tried it yet, but if you do give it a try, let me know how it turns out.
Source: Robin Hood
Source: Celebration Generation
Now For Something Completely Different - 5 Nanaimo Bar Variations
- Bailey's Irish Cream Filling
Get your favorite after dinner drink as a dessert.
- Mint Nanaimo Bars
Mmmm. MInty good.
- Mocha Nanaimo Bar
If coffee is your thang or you like the flavor of coffee and chocolate.
- Peanut Butter Filling
Sort of like the taste of a Reese's peanut butter cup mashed up into a nanaimo bar.
- Chocolate Orange Nanaimo Bars
It's like enjoying those orange chocolate treats you get in a mixed box of chocolates.
Lazy Gourmet Susan Mendelson - Plus Other Cookie Bars & Squares
If you've had the occasion to enjoy Nanaimo Bars at at special event or one of Vancouver's concert or museum venues, it may have come from Vancouver caterer Susan Mendelson who often includes them as a dessert item. She includes her Nanaimo Bar recipe in her original 1980 cookbook "". The Lazy Gourmet
More Nanaimo Bar Photos
Wanna know where to try one of these delectable treats if you're ever in Nanaimo, BC, Canada? The City of Nanaimo has an official tour map. Just click here.