Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo Bars

Over the years, Ole and I have taken our fishing boat north through the Inside Passage. One of the fun stops along the way is a town called Nanaimo in British Columbia. Many of the local coffee and donut shops along commercial street sell these creamy chocolate treats called Nanaimo Bars. I’m hooked on this slice of heaven, one bite and you will be too!


for the bottom layer:
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup sugar
⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup sweetened coconut
½ cup walnuts, chopped

for the middle layer:
¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
2-3 tablespoons milk or cream
2 tablespoons instant vanilla pudding
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups confectioner’s sugar

for the top layer:
4 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 tablespoon unsalted butter


Butter an 8 by 8 inch baking dish. Set aside.

the bottom layer:
In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Stir in the sugar and cocoa
powder and then gradually whisk in the beaten egg. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens (1 – 2 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract, graham cracker crumbs, coconut and chopped nuts. Press the mixture evenly onto the bottom of the prepared dish. Cover and refrigerate until firm, about an hour.

the middle layer:
In your electric mixer or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until the mixture is smooth. If the mixture is too thick to spread, add a little more milk. Spread the filling over the bottom layer, cover and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

the top layer:
In a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter. Spread the melted chocolate evenly over the filling and refrigerate until the chocolate has set.

To serve, to prevent the chocolate from cracking, using a sharp knife, bring the squares to room temperature before cutting. Enjoy!

Makes about 25 squares

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