Nanaimo Bars
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Canadian
Makes: 16-20
Based on the official recipe from the City of Nanaimo, this recipe uses slightly fewer crumbs in the base. Recently, local food writer Julie van Rosendaal reshared this recipe for Easter, tucking a few Cadbury Creme Eggs in the custard layer; she also shared a vegan version on her site.
Bottom (Crumb) Layer
  • ½ cup (125 mL) butter
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) sugar
  • ⅓ cup (85 mL) cocoa
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1½ cup (325 mL) graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup (250 mL) shredded or flaked coconut
  • ½ cup (125 mL) finely chopped almonds
Middle (Custard) Layer
  • ½ cup (125 mL) butter
  • 3 Tbsp (45 mL) cream or milk
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) vanilla custard powder (i.e. Bird’s custard powder)
  • 2 cups (500 mL) icing sugar
Top (Chocolate) Layer
  • 4 oz (114 g) semisweet chocolate or chocolate chips
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) butter
  1. In a double boiler (or a regular saucepan on medium-low heat), melt the butter with the sugar and cocoa. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat and stir in the crumbs, coconut and almonds. Press firmly into a parchment-lined 8x8-inch pan and refrigerate while you make the custard (middle) layer.
  2. Cream butter, cream, custard powder and icing sugar together well. Beat until light. Spread over bottom layer.
  3. Melt chocolate and butter over low heat or in a bowl in the microwave. Cool slightly, spread over second layer and refrigerate until set. Cut into 16-20 squares.
Recipe by Vincci Tsui, RD | Calgary Registered Dietitian at