Nanaimo Bars

November 30, 2011

I have started my own catering company and since Christmas is coming, I am testing a whole bunch of desserts and appetizers to serve at cocktail parties and at the same time, I am deciding what I will be making for Christmas dinner! Now, Karl and I have 4 Christmases this year. For two of the four, I will be making the meals (one is a Brunch and one is a Dinner). So as I am testing recipes, I will post the ones I really like so you can also get ideas for your Xmas meal(s). I also loveeeeee decorating the table so I’ll be posting my DIY Christmas Decos! If ever you have any ideas, please e-mail me!!!

Ok so back to the food…Wikipedia tells me that this dessert is in fact a Canadian dessert. Well I am a proud Canadian today because this is the best bar ever!!!! AND….it’s a no bake bar!! You have to make this if you are entertaining during the holidays!! People will devour them!

Recipe slightly altered from:

  • Course: Dessert
  • Servings: 16
  • Prep. time: 30 min
  • Cook time: 0 min


  • 1/2 Cup of butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 Cup of white sugar
  • 5 Tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 3/4 Cup of graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 Cup of coconut flakes
  • 1/2 Cup of butter, room temberature
  • 3 Tablespoon of heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoon of vanilla pudding powder (the instant stuff)
  • 2 Cup of icing sugar (confectioners)
  • 4 Ounce of semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2 Teaspoon of butter

Cooking instructions:

  1. (The first 6 ingredients are for the bottom layer) On top of a double boiler, combine 1/2 cup butter, white sugar and cocoa powder. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Beat in the egg, stirring until thick, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in the graham cracker crumbs and coconut .
  2. In a 8x8 inch pan, put parchemin paper (enough to overlap on all 4 sides). Press the batter down in the pan to form the first layer.
  3. For the middle layer, cream together 1/2 cup butter, heavy cream and the vanilla pudding powder powder until light and fluffy. Mix in the confectioners' sugar until smooth. Spread over the bottom layer in the pan. Chill to set.
  4. While the second layer is chilling, melt the semisweet chocolate and 2 teaspoons butter together in the microwave or over low heat. (I personally take the chocolate out every 10 seconds or so to mix it and make sure it does not burn. The whole thing usually takes about 90 seconds or so.)
  5. Spread over the chilled bars. Let the chocolate set before cutting (in the fridge for half an hour). When the chocolate has set, lift the whole thing out of the pan by lifting with the parchment paper. Cut about a centimeter trim on the four sides and then cut squares, making sure you clean your knife frequently so the bars are immaculate.
  6. Enjoy!
  • Susan Moran

    These are mouth watering!  I’m sure they’ll be a hit.

  • Alex – I Adore Food!

    They didn’t even last 5 minutes here!!! :) I hope you enjoy them!

  • Jo

    This looks delicious. Would love for you to come and share this with us over at

  • Alex – I Adore Food!

    done :)

  • CLHBix

    Is there anything you could replace the coconut with?  Rice krispies perhaps?

  • Alex – I Adore Food!

    Rice Krispies would be a great substitute! I would lightly crush them so the pieces are a tiny bit smaller :) Let me know how it turns out!

  • Steph W

    I am so excited that you posted a recipe that DOESN’T use custard powder!!! It is impossible to find custard powder in the states. I am soooo excited about making these and introducing them to my American in-laws!

  • Alex – I Adore Food!

    Woohoo:):) I hope they like it!!:)

  • Linda1982

    What are Graham cracker crumbs? And what is heavy cream?  

  • Alex – I Adore Food!

    Graham Crackers are cookies :) and Heavy Cream is whipping cream (35%).

  • pattie

    can they be frozen?

  • Alex – I Adore Food!

    Airtight container! Don’t leave them in for too long, they might get frost bites. :)

  • Gigi Grongbell

    I have been making these for many years. Probably my first batch about 1972 or so. Every recipe I have seen calls for semi-sweet chocolate on the top layer. I use unsweetened chocolate. It is even better, it cuts the sweetness of the middle layer when you eat it, but, you cannot pick the top layer off and eat it alone. Too bitter.
    I have tried many recipes from others and still prefer the unsweetened. I also don’t care for the ‘improvements’ of adding mint or Baileys to the middle layer.
    I have a double batch made that I am bringing to a Christmas due tomorrow.

    There is a real problem with the top layer cracking when you cut it, the chocolate is especially brittle with the unsweetened chocolate as it has less butter in it, I think. Tonight I waited just until the top layer set, then cut it. Perfectly clean looking squares.

    How come Bird’s Custard Powder is not available in the States? I think it would be worth importing just for this recipe. I can’t imagine that pudding is the same.

  • Jayme

    This is a great recipe! Thank you for sharing. These were really easy to make and I didn’t find them overly sweet. Delicious and always a hit!

  • Alex – I Adore Food!

    Great to hear Jayme! Thanks :)

  • booklogged

    Have been making these for years. We were fortunate a few years ago to visit Nanaimo on Vancouver Island where this recipe originated. We sat in a small diner and ate these yummy treats in that picturesque small town. They were the best I’ve ever had but still very much like this recipe, which is the one I use. I wish I’d known that I should have bought some custard while visiting Canada.

  • Alex – I Adore Food!

    Thank you for sharing :):)

  • Christie Rich
  • Alex – I Adore Food!

    Great! Thanks! :)

  • Mae

    Hi! Found you while searching for no bake bars. What can be used as substitute for pudding and custard powder? Thanks!