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Nanaimo Bars shown on a serving plate.

Nanaimo Bars - building a better version.

Nanaimo Bars - building a better version. Try this revamped version of the classic Canadian treat with a more substantial base layer and an improved filling.
Course Cookies/Dessert
Cuisine Canadian Inspired
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 36 cookie squares
Calories 187 kcal


Bottom Layer

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1/3  cup sugar
  • 8 tbsp cocoa
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 2 1/4 cups graham crumbs
  • 3/4 cup fine or medium unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts toasted

Middle Layer (filling)

  • 2 1/4 cups icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup custard powder
  • 2/3 cup butter at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
  • 2 tbsp whipping cream

Top Layer (chocolate)

  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp butter


To prepare the Base Layer

  1. Melt together the butter, sugar and cocoa over low heat.
  2. Add the eggs continue to cook, stirring constantly to fully cook the egg to a soft scrambled texture.
  3. Add the graham crumbs, coconut and walnuts.
  4. Mix together until well combined then, press into the bottom of a parchment paper lined 9x9 inch baking pan.

To prepare Filling

  1. With an electric mixer, beat together the butter, custard powder and icing sugar until it starts to come together.
  2. Add the vanilla paste and whipping cream and beat well until smooth.
  3. This frosting should be very stiff but spreadable. ( Much thicker than you would use to frost a cake for example) If you think it's too thick, you may add a few drops of whipping at a time to bring it to the right consistency.
  4. Spread evenly over the bottom layer. Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours before adding the chocolate topping.

To prepare the Chocolate Topping

  1. Melt together the chocolate chips and butter over low heat, just until the chocolate is melted, don't over heat it.
  2. Spread quickly over the chilled frosted layer. Return to the fridge until the chocolate sets.
  3. Cut into squares or bars. These freeze very well.

The nutritional information provided is automatically calculated by third party software and is meant as a guideline only. Exact accuracy is not guaranteed. For recipes where all ingredients may not be used entirely, such as those with coatings on meats, or with sauces or dressings for example, calorie & nutritional values per serving will likely be somewhat lower than indicated.

Nutrition Facts
Nanaimo Bars - building a better version.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 187 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Fat 12g18%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Cholesterol 32mg11%
Sodium 113mg5%
Potassium 52mg1%
Carbohydrates 18g6%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 13g14%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 280IU6%
Vitamin C 0.1mg0%
Calcium 18mg2%
Iron 0.6mg3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.