Chocolate Orange Nanaimo Bars – a new recipe with a twist on the classic Canadian treat, the Nanaimo bar. Here the sweet centre gets infused with tangy orange flavour.
2017 update – following the success of my attempts to improve on traditional Nanaimo Bars, I decided to apply the same approach to this favourite recipe. The new recipe includes a thicker base and incorporates some custard powder into the orange filling.
All of my cookie testers loved that addition. I think it gives an almost orange sherbet-like flavour to the rich filling centre.
For those of you who want to stick to the original recipe which has been so popular here, simply use the ingredient list in the Notes sectionof the recipe
Originally published November 24, 2011.
Okay, so maybe I’m a sucker for anything chocolate orange but I don’t know why I didn’t think of this idea before…shocked actually!
I’m thinking it’s because I don’t make Nanaimo Bars very often; and I don’t make them very often because they are one treat I cannot resist. With many of the treats I make, I am content to sample one or two and pass the rest on to family and friends but Nanaimo bars would never make it out of the house. They are the best thing to ever come out of that beautiful British Columbia town.
I’ve sampled many different versions of this classic Canadian favorite sweet, including mint, mocha, Irish cream, even peanut butter but I have never seen a chocolate orange version.
When Spouse and I were talking about which cookie recipes we could add to our growing on-line collection, she mentioned that I hadn’t included Nanaimo bars. As always, my mind goes to, “How can I put a little twist on that?” and almost immediately the chocolate orange idea came straight to mind.
With just a little orange juice concentrate and the finely minced zest of a single orange, these amazing no-bake bars are transformed into something new and spectacular. You MUST try these…and no, none of these left the house; we all fought over the last crumbs.
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- 3/4 cup butter
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 8 tbsp cocoa
- 2 beaten eggs
- 2 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 3/4 cup fine or medium unsweetened coconut
- 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
- 3/4 cup butter
- 3 tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate
- zest of one small orange finely minced
- 3 cups icing sugar i.e., powdered sugar or confectioners sugar
- 1/4 cup custard powder
- 1 tbsp milk or enough to get it to a very thick but spreadable consistency
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 2 tbsp butter
In a small saucepan, melt together the butter, sugar and cocoa over low heat.
Add the beaten egg and continue to cook, stirring constantly to fully cook the egg with the mixture resembling a soft scrambled egg texture.
Add the graham crumbs, coconut and walnuts.
Mix together until well combined then, press into the bottom of a parchment paper lined 9×9 inch baking pan.
With an electric mixer, beat together the butter, orange juice concentrate, zest, icing sugar custard powder and milk until smooth.
This frosting should be very stiff but spreadable. If you think it’s too thick, you may add a few drops of milk at a time to bring it to the right consistency. If it is too soft, add a littel more icing sugar.
Spread evenly over the bottom layer. Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours before adding the chocolate topping.
Melt together over low heat, just until the chocolate is melted, don’t over heat it.
Spread quickly over the chilled frosted layer. Return to the fridge until the chocolate sets.
Cut into squares or bars. These freeze very well.
Here is the ingredient list for the base and filling of the original version of this recipe as written in 2011.
For the Base Layer
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
5 tbsp cocoa
one beaten egg
1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup fine or medium unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
For the the Orange Frosting Filling
1/2 cup butter
2 tsp pure mint extract
2 cups icing sugar i.e., powdered sugar or confectioners sugar
Zest of one orange finely minced
2 tablespoons frozen Orange juice concentrate
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