Nanaimo Bars

Author: Evergreen Serves: 12 Time: 30’prep+30′

Difficulty: easy


Three layers:

Bottom Layer

  • 1⁄2 cup (125 mL) unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsp (75 mL) cocoa powder
  • 1⁄4 cup (50 mL) granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups (473mL) graham wafer crumbs from graham wafers*
  • 1/2 cup (250 mL) shredded coconut
  • 1⁄2 cup (125 mL) chopped walnuts

*graham wafers are cookies/ biscuits made from graham flour. Substitute in other countries- digestives or vanilla wafers

Middle Layer

  • 1/4 cup (125 mL) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp + 2 tsp (40 mL) whipping or heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) Bird’s vanilla custard powder**
  • 2 cups (500 mL) icing sugar

**if custard powder is not available substitute 2 Tbsp cornstarch and vanilla or vanilla pudding powder


  • 4 oz (115 g) semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) unsalted butter


First layer

1. Pour 2 cups (500 mL) water into bottom of double boiler. Place on stove over medium heat and bring water to simmer. (If you don’t have a double boiler, half-fill a saucepan with water and heat over medium heat until water begins to simmer. Then, place a metal or glass bowl over the simmering water and proceed as directed.)

2. In top of double boiler; combine butter, cocoa and sugar; place over simmering water. Heat, stirring, until butter has melted and mixture is smooth.

3. Add beaten egg & vanilla; stir until thick.

4 Remove from heat. Stir in graham wafer crumbs, coconut and walnuts.

5 Spoon into parchment paper-lined 8-inch (2 L) square baking dish and press evenly and firmly into pan.

Middle layer

In bowl, cream together butter, cream and custard powder. Gradually add icing sugar; beat until light and fluffy. Place over bottom layer, smoothing top with spatula.

Top layer

1. In clean double boiler, melt chocolate and butter together. Remove from heat; let cool slightly. When cool, but still liquid, pour over custard layer.

2 Cover and refrigerate until cold and cut into squares or bars. They also freeze well in case you are tempted to eat too many or want to keep until Christmas.

Hint- when partially set you may want to score the top into squares/bars so the chocolate doesn’t break when cutting.

Story of the recipe

Nanaimo Bars (pronounced na-NIE-mo) are an iconic Canadian sweet named after the city which made them famous. The bars are a popular treat and often part of the Christmas baking goodies offered to family and guests.

Nanaimo is a city on Vancouver Island, BC Canada. The Sussexes stayed on the island last Christmas. Canada House in London offered these bars to the Duke and Duchess when they visited London. Here is your chance to make your own.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: