2 In Canada/ Cookies & Bars/ Recipes

How to Make Nanaimo Bars

Hello, everyone! Here’s the first recipe in our July Baking Challenge!

We’re making Nanaimo Bars in celebration of Canada Day (which is July 1).

If you make Nanaimo Bars, I hope you’ll share a photo with me on Instagram (tag me @internationaldessertsblog and use #idbholidaychallenge so I can find you!) or tell me how¬†they turned out in the comments below. ūüôā

We’re making 2 more easy and delicious desserts from 2 different countries in celebration of 2 more July holidays so be sure to check back to see what we’re making. You can read all about the July Baking Challenge here.

Turns out I’ve been pronouncing the name of this delicious Canadian dessert incorrectly since I was six years old.

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How do you pronounce Nanaimo bars? (Besides the obvious de-li-cious.)

Last summer, my Canadian friend,¬†Sabrina, set me straight while visiting her in Vancouver, BC. Turns out they’re pronounced Na-NEYE-mo –¬†not¬†NAA-ni-mo – bars.

Glad to finally know that!

Having grown up eating peanut butter Nanaimo bars, I decided to try the custard variety when I got back to North Carolina. Wow, these Nanaimo bars are tasty. Very rich, dense, creamy, and buttery.

The nutty chocolate crust balances out the sweet filling, and the chocolate topping just makes it rich and delicious.

These are the ultimate Nanaimo bars – a quick and easy no bake dessert!

Recipe for Canadian Custard Nanaimo Bars

You've got to try these Canadian Custard Nanaimo Bars! Chocolate-y, creamy, nutty - delicious! | International Desserts Blog

Recipe notes:

  • You can use a double-boiler to melt the butter, but I don’t have one, so I used a sauce pan over low heat and it worked just fine.
  • Make sure the butter that you use for the filling is room temperature. Otherwise you may end up biting into chunks of butter in your bars!
  • Since these bars are already very sweet, I highly recommend unsweetened coconut. I prefer using the finely shredded coconut in this recipe.
  • I like to use dark chocolate in the top layer to balance the sweet middle layer but feel free to use milk chocolate if you prefer it.
  • The recipe suggests cutting the bars into 9 slices. Those slices will be big! These bars are quite rich, so you might want to make them smaller. I often cut each of those 9 slices into 2 bars or 4 bite-sized pieces and find one of those more than enough.
  • If you’re ever in Nanaimo, Canada, use this guide to follow the Nanamio bar trail!
Best Canadian Custard Nanaimo Bars
Prep Time
20 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

These nutty, chocolate-y, buttery bars are rich, delicious, and super easy to make. No baking required!

Servings: 9 slices
Author: International Desserts Blog
Ingredients
Bottom Layer
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 5 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
Filling
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla pudding or custard powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
Top Layer
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) chocolate (chopped)
  • 2 Tbsp butter
Instructions
Bottom layer
  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan, then add cocoa powder and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. 

  2. Add one beaten egg. Stir well to cook egg while the mixture is hot.
  3. Take off heat and stir in shredded coconut, chopped almonds, and graham cracker crumbs. Stir well until combined. 

  4. Press into an ungreased 8x8 pan. (I like to line my pan with parchment paper to make it easy to lift out of the pan.) Chill the bottom layer in the fridge while you make the filling. Doing so will make it easier to spread the filling on the bottom layer.

Filling
  1. In a medium bowl, cream softened butter, powdered sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla pudding mix (or custard powder). Beat until light and fluffy. Spread custard mixture over the bottom layer. Chill in the fridge while you prepare the layer. 

Top layer
  1. Melt chocolate and butter on the stove or in the microwave. Let chocolate mixture cool slightly, then spread over the chilled custard filling. The chocolate is easiest to spread when the cream layer is well chilled. 

  2. Once you have all three layers, cover and chill in the fridge until solid.

  3. Cut into 9 slices and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Based on this recipe.

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Click here for more recipes from Canada!

Or try this…

Easy no-strain lemon curd! | International Desserts Blog

 

Move Over Sugar Cookies!

You'll love the 10 traditional European Christmas Cookies in my free ebook!

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Eva
    March 6, 2017 at 9:28 pm

    You instructions in step 3 says something about shredded coconut. I don’t see it in the list of ingredients. Is that an oversight either in the ingredient list or instructions?

    • Reply
      Cate
      March 7, 2017 at 9:29 pm

      Yep, there’s 1 cup shredded coconut (I just fixed the ingredients list)!

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