Nanaimo Bars

Desserts | April 1, 2014 | By

Gooey Nanaimo Bars

Over the weekend, I finally made the “big move” into the new apartment. (There was nothing big about this move as I only moved down the hall and in with my friend Marta). It was quite the ordeal though, and three days later I’m left with large piles of stuff (a mixture of clothes I forgot I owned and miscellaneous niknaks that didn’t fit in my chaotic version of organized packing), two freaked out cats that haven’t left the bathroom cupboard since the “big move,” and the realization that I’m not as good as I originally thought at putting together Ikea furniture.

 This move brought on a lot of realizations… mostly that I really need to hold an intervention … for myself. You see, while moving over the contents of my pantry, I realized I’m a dried goods hoarder. Not only do I have five bags of sugar (in all its forms), but two bags of flour, three different types of salt, two boxes of assorted teas, instant and regular coffee, three jars of rice, two containers of pasta, a dozen or so cans of soup and much, much more. It gets worse when you get to the fridge, where I realized I have FIVE boxes of organic butter. Who needs that much butter?!? Unless I plan on opening a pastry shop or go on a week-long baking spree, I think Marta and I have a pretty stocked emergency kit in case of any future earthquakes.

 With the move taking up my whole weekend, I didn’t have time to prepare anything. I made this dessert a few weeks ago for a coworker who wanted his birthday dessert to reflect his Canadian heritage. He actually asked me to make him a cake with a Maple leaf on top, but as my artistic skills are not up to par, I decided that Nanaimo bars would be a good compromise. According to the city of Nanaimo’s website, the origin of this sweet treat is disputed, some saying that the first recipe appeared in a cookbook in the 1950s. The one thing that is not disputed is that this dessert is distinctly Canadian.

I hope you enjoy this no-bake, three-layer dessert!


Plate of Nanaimo Bars


Nanaimo Bars (Recipe Courtesy of The City of Nanaimo)

Bottom Layer

½ Cup of Butter

¼ Cup of Sugar

5 Tbsp. of Cocoa

1 Egg, beaten

1 ¼ Cups of Graham Cracker Crumbs (see here for our recipe)

½ Cups of Almond Slivers

1 Cup of Shredded Coconut


In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, sugar and cocoa together. Remove from heat and stir the egg until the mixture starts to thicken. Stir in the graham crumbs, almonds and coconut until fully mixed. Compact completely into the bottom of a 8” x 8” ungreased pan and set aside.

Middle Layer

½ Cup of Butter, room temperature

2 Tbsp. and 2 Tsp. of Heavy Cream

2 Tbsp. of Organic Vanilla Pudding Mix

2 Cups of Powdered Sugar


Place all the ingredients in a medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer until the mixture looks like a light, fluffy frosting. Spread the frosting over the bottom layer and set aside.

Top Layer

4 Oz. of Chocolate

2 Tbsp. of Butter


Melt the chocolate and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.* I found that due to the added fats in the butter, you don’t need to use a double boiler, but feel free to use one to be on the safe side. Let the mixture cool slightly, but while the mixture is still a liquid, pour over the middle layer. Chill the dessert. For best results, allow it to sit overnight before cutting into bars.

*Note: I had to add extra butter and sugar to fully cover the middle layer.

**I do not try to claim that these are in any way healthy. 

Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo Bar Crust 2




  1. Leave a Reply

    Butter, Basil and Breadcrumbs
    April 1, 2014

    Congratulations on your big move!! I know your cats will calm down very soon… when we first moved into our house (20 years ago), our cat Rosie spent about two weeks in an upstairs closet on a shelf that was hidden behind winter coats!!

    These bars look so delicious! I’m definitely trying them… I can’t bake. I’m not a baker, but I think that I need to give these a try!! I know that they’d be so popular in my house… and maybe, just maybe, I can impress the family that I was able to bake a delicious dessert!! :-)

    • Leave a Reply

      April 2, 2014

      Haha! Thank you! My boy (Pip) has started exploring but my girl (Sophie) will come out of the cupboard only to hide under the couch.

      I hope you family likes the dessert!

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