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The Original Nanaimo Bar

The Original Nanaimo Bar	Opens photo in lightbox. Hit Escape or X to exit lightbox.
  •  4.9 stars stars based on 68 reviews
  •   99% would make this again
  • Review this recipe  Read reviews
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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 68 reviews   Next >>

  A cookie baker in Virginia  Nov 17, 2018
Would make this again.
Love this bar cookie recipe. 5 stars

  Grandma Sue in ontario  Dec 23, 2015
Would make this again.
Make these all the time.
Once the bottom is in the pan I bake for 10 minutes @ 350, just to set the bottom and cook the egg.

I use instant vanilla pudding mix (2 tablespoon fulls well rounded) in the center. It cuts the sweetness and sets the center.

When the chocolate on the top has just about hardened is when I score only the top two layers..
They never last long around my house as the grand kids love them.

Note: Filling can be coloured and flavoured for different occasions .
5 stars

  A cookie baker  Dec 21, 2015
Would make this again.
These are delicious. Big hit, had many requests for the recipe. 5 stars

  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

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