How to Make Nanaimo Bars {Recipe} (2024)

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For those of you unfamiliar with Nanaimo Bars, you don’t know what you are missing! These little cubes of deliciousness area no-bake square with a Canadian origin and named after the west coast city ofNanaimo,British Columbia. Every self-respecting Canadian baker has a recipe for these amazing squares in their repertoire!

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They consist of a chocolatecrumb-based layer topped by a layer ofcustardflavoured buttericingand then the entire works is slathered with meltedchocolate. How could you go wrong?

I remember my Aunt Joan making these and bringing them to just about every family gathering. I was quite young whenI fell immediately in love with these squares, which my aunt called, Black and White Squares. I can see how they came to have that name as there are definitely dark and light layers to these squares.

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Some of the images you are going to see will show a different sized pan and two eggs. I don’t want to confuse you. This is because I doubled the recipe and divided it between a 9″x13″ pan and an 8″x3″ loaf pan.My daughter and I were splitting the squares so we wanted a bigger batch. If youstick to the recipe below, which includes the proper pan size, these will turn out perfectly every time!

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In the top of a double boiler (or in a heatproof bowl over simmering water), melt butter, cocoa and white sugar together, stirring occasionally until mixture is warm(not too hot or when you add the egg, it will scramble).

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Beat egg with a fork and then slowly add the beaten egg to the chocolate mixture. Continue stirring for a couple of minutes, until the mixture thickens a bit and the egg cooks.

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Because I like to dirtyevery dish in the house and I’m a bit lazy; I transferred the coconut, nuts, and crumb mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer. Then poured the chocolate mixture over them and used the paddle attachment to mix everything together.

How to Make Nanaimo Bars {Recipe} (6)Dump combined mixture into a parchment lined pan. Using your hands, an offset spatula or the back of a large spoon, press mixture evenly into pan.

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For the middle layer, mix together butter, milk, custard powder and icing sugar.

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Below is a pic of the custard powder I used. I’m in no way promoting this particular brand, just giving you an idea of what to look for when you go to the supermarket.

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Beat until light and creamy.

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Spread evenly over bottom layer.

Now, oddly enough, despite the seemingly thousands of photos I have of these squares being made, I don’t have one shot of the melted chocolate or the chocolate being spread on the middle layer!

However, if you just follow the directions below, you will be fine. Just melt the chocolate and spread on top of the middle layer.

The delicious finished product. These freeze very well and in the realm of full disclosure…Ihave been known to eat a frozen Nanaimo Bar or two!

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5.0 from 2 reviews

Nanaimo Bars

How to Make Nanaimo Bars {Recipe} (13)


Serves: 36


  • ½ cup butter
  • 5 Tbsp. cocoa
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup fine coconut
  • ½ cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 3 Tbsp. milk
  • 2 Tbsp. vanilla custard powder
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 1 Tbsp. butter


  2. In the top of a double boiler (or in a heatproof bowl over simmering water), melt butter, cocoa, and white sugar together, stirring occasionally until mixture is warm (not too hot or the egg will scramble).
  3. Add beaten egg and stir to cook the egg and thicken the mixture.
  4. Stir in crumbs, coconut, and nuts.
  5. Press mixture evenly into a 9"x 9" pan.
  7. Mix together butter, milk, custard powder, and icing sugar. Beat until light and creamy.
  8. Spread evenly over bottom layer.
  9. TOP LAYER -
  10. In a double boiler, melt chocolate and butter.
  11. Cool slightly
  12. Spread over the middle layer.
  13. Cool chocolate until firm but not hard.
  14. Score chocolate into 36 even squares to facilitate cutting squares without cracking chocolate.
  15. Cool completely
  16. Cut into 36 squares

I hope you will give these yummy Nanaimo Bars a try. They are so good, I’m sure they will soon become a family favourite in your home too!

If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to ask and I will do my very best to answer.

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How to Make Nanaimo Bars {Recipe} (2024)


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