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Nanaimo Bars 5-min

Named after the city of Nanaimo in British Columbia, these indulgent bars have been one of my favorite treats for many years. No trip to Canada is complete without stopping for one (or two!) bars at a local bakery. But if you aren’t able to make a trip north of the border I’ve got some good news– Nanaimo Bars are much easier to make than they might appear. Don’t let those layers intimate you!

Nanaimo Bars 1-min
Nanaimo Bars 2-min
Nanaimo Bars 3-min

The base layer of these bars is made up of graham cracker crumbs, shredded coconut, walnuts, sugar, butter, and an egg. The mixture is pressed into the bottom of a baking dish and baked for just 10 minutes (the only baking required in this recipe!). Next comes the custard. Most traditional recipes use custard powder, an ingredient that I had never used before. I found it in the Kosher section of my grocery store, not the baking section where I assumed it would be. Something to keep in mind while you’re grocery shopping!

Nanaimo Bars 8-min
Nanaimo Bars 6-min

The other important step to note in this recipe is scoring the top of the bars before the chocolate fully hardens. This will make slicing the bars a breeze and prevent the chocolate from cracking. Whether you’re making these Nanaimo Bars for the holidays or just a sweet treat, they’re sure to disappear in no time. Give the classic recipe a try and let us know what you think!

Nanaimo Bars 12-min
Nanaimo Bars 11-min

Yield(s): Serves 16

30m prep time

10m cook time

Rated 3.3 out of 5
Rated by 3 reviewers
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you're making mealtime meaningful.
100% of the Share to Care sponsor fees fund meals for families in need. Learn More
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • ⅔ cup walnuts, chopped
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ cup butter, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons custard powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 ⅓ cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
Chocolate Topping
  • 6 oz semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 ½ tablespoon butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9x9-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium-size bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sweetened coconut flakes, walnuts, cocoa powder, and granulated sugar. Add melted butter and egg, then mix until full incorporated.
  3. Transfer mixture to the prepared baking dish and press into an even layer. Bake for 9-11 minutes, then set aside to cool.
  4. For the custard layer, mix together butter, custard powder, and vanilla extract until smooth. Slowly add the milk and powdered sugar and mix until thick and smooth.
  5. Spread custard over the base in an even layer and refrigerate for 45 minutes, or until set.
  6. Once custard has set, prepare chocolate layer by microwaving chocolate and butter in 30 second increments until fully melted. Pour over custard and spread to edges.
  7. Chill bars for about 20 minutes, then remove and use a sharp knife to score the top chocolate into squares. If you skip this step the chocolate will crack when the bars are sliced.
  8. Return bars to the refrigerator and chill for at least 30-60 minutes before serving.

Recipe adapted from