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The Original Nanaimo Bar

The Original Nanaimo Bar	Opens photo in lightbox. Hit Escape or X to exit lightbox.

Nanaimo Bars are a traditional Canadian bar cookie whose origins are in Nanaimo, British Columbia.


1/2 cup unsalted butter (Euro-style cultured)
1/4 cup sugar
5 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg, beaten
1 3/4 cup graham wafer crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
1 cup coconut

Melt first 3 ingredients in top of a double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, coconut and nuts. Press firmly into an ungreased 8 X 8 pan.


1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons and 2 tsp. cream
2 tablespoons vanilla custard powder (such as Birds -- see Note below)
2 cups icing sugar

Cream butter, cream, custard powder and icing sugar together well. Beat until light. Spread over bottom layer.


4 squares semi-sweet chocolate (1 oz. each)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Melt chocolate and butter over low heat. Cool When cool, but still liquid, pour over second layer and chill in refrigerator.

Note: Birds custard powder is widely available in the UK and Canada and is available in the USA at Cost Plus World Market and online at and If you are unable to find it, try the Napoleon Creams recipe which uses vanilla pudding. It's not quite the same, but it is a good substitute.

Photo by crd! under Creative Commons license.

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Reviews of The Original Nanaimo Bar:

1-5 of 65 reviews   Next >>

  AlexNanaimoBar in México  Sep 26, 2015
Would make this again.
Delicious easy to follow recipe.Not good results for presentation,because is not easy to make it right and I did follow everything according to recipe.
Thanks for sharing I love this bars, except that I'm more of a cook and pastries and baking is not my strength with this said you can see is actually a real challenge to me. it was hard to control the filling and the mess came all along with my chaotic baking style...pots and pans everywhere phone ringing, cat purring on my leg, kids playing music outloud,Jehovah's Witness at the door ( no offense to religious believes) but they came at the very wrong time.The reason why I tried this recipe is not only because I love the bars, but also because you don't use the oven to make them so I thought it would be easier,right? well is just like cooking. I convinced myself but then again nope! AlexNanaimoBar wishes luck to all frineds who want to make this. and I got to try it again and see if with peace of mind without kids on the weekend I can concentrate better and success on my enterprise, he he he !
(promise a photo if I make them right)...
5 stars

  marie brady in Florida  Aug 22, 2015
Would make this again.
Had these in Vancouver & asked for the recipe, they are very good & easy to make. The hardest part is finding the vanilla custard powder but I found it at Winn Dixie! Try them you will love them! 5 stars

  Me  Dec 22, 2014
Would make this again.
To whoever couldn't cut the from the previous comment, you keep these in the fridge and cut them when cool not room temp. The chocolate has to be soft enough to cut through and the custard layer cool enough to remain semi solid. We have made these all my life and at a favourite. 5 stars

  The Elder  Oct 23, 2014
Would not make this again.
These tasted delicious, but the filling never set. It was very loose and it was impossible to cut them into squares without squishing the filling out everywhere. Yes, the recipe was followed to a T and there were no substitutions made.

I couldn't in good faith give only one star, because they did taste delicious. I'd make them again if I knew why the filling would not set up.
2 stars

  A cookie baker in British Columbia  Jun 5, 2014
Would make this again.
Amazing Desert 5 stars

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