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Nanaimo Bars Recipe


The Nanaimo Bar is a no-bake bar of Canadian origin, named after the West Coast city of Nanaimo in British Columbia. It consists of a crumb-based layer, a vanilla or custard flavor butter icing layer, and is topped with a layer of chocolate. I was curious to see what these bars were like, so I had to make them. Recipe as follows:

Nanaimo Bars

Bottom layer:

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar 1/3 cup (30 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (regular or Dutch-processed) 1 large egg, lightly beaten 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 2 cups (200 grams) graham cracker crumbs or crushed Digestive Biscuits 1 cup (65 grams) shredded or flaked coconut 1/2 cup (50 grams) walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped

Middle layer:

1/4 cup (56 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature 2 - 3 tablespoons milk or cream 2 tablespoons (20 grams) vanilla custard powder or vanilla pudding powder 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Top layer:

2 cups (230 grams) powdered sugar (confectioners or icing)  sugar4 ounces (120 grams) semisweet chocolate 1 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter


1. Grease a 9x9 inch pan

2. Prepare base: Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar and cocoa powder. Gradually stir in the the beaten egg. Return to low heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens (about 2 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract, graham cracker crumbs, coconut and nuts. Press the mixture into the prepared pan, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour or until firm.

3. Middle layer: Combine butter, milk (or cream) and custard powder and beat until mixture is smooth. Blend in confectioners sugar. If the mixture is too thick, add a touch of milk. Just be careful not to make it runny. Spread over the base, cover and refrigerate until firm (about 30 minutes).

4: Top layer: Melt chocolate and butter over a low heat in a bowl, over a simmering pot of water. Spread the chocolate over the custard layer and refrigerate for 10 minutes or until the chocolate has just set. Cut into squares.

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