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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 63 reviews   Next >>

  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

  Kathy in Currently, Vancouver Island, but grew up on East Coast  Nov 22, 2013
Would make this again.
My mother and her friends always made these at Christmas. It was my all time favourite. Infact,one Christmas will our family was visiting friends,my mother commented that I would never guess what was for dessert. Of course, I knew that if it was so good that it must be Nanaimo bars -- and I said so! 5 stars

  Cyndy in Wisconsin  Nov 13, 2013
Would make this again.
These used to be in the Electric Company Cookie Book in Milwaukee when I was a child...called Vanilla Cream Bars. My all-time favorite! 5 stars

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