Nanaimo Bars

September 16, 2010
Author Notes

These Canadian treats are named after a town on Vancouver Island. Since Canada is my home and native land, I've been eating and making them for as long as I can remember. This is my favourite version, a modification of a recipe from Time-Honoured Recipes of the Canadian West. —Stephanie Bourgeois

  • Makes a 9 x 9-inch pan
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 5 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 5 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons custard powder
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
In This Recipe
  1. Place the 1/2 cup butter, sugar and cocoa in a bowl. Set bowl in pan of hot water. Stir until butter is melted. Add egg and vanilla extract. Mix in graham cracker crumbs and coconut. Pack into ungreased 9x9 pan. (If you are worried about the raw egg you can bake in a hot oven for a few minutes.)
  2. Combine the 5 tablespoons of butter, milk, custard powder and icing sugar. Mix until smooth spread over first mixture in pan. Chill until firm.
  3. Melt semisweet and unsweetened chocolate with the one tablespoon of butter and spread evenly over top. Chill until firm. Cut into bars to serve.

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I grew up loving food and cooking in Alberta, Canada. After completing a degree in psychology at McGill University in 2007, I followed my love of food to New York City and enrolled in pastry school. I also completed a masters degree at NYU. I worked for several magazines including, Food Arts, Wine Access, Up!, Food & Wine and Canadian Living. Now, in addition to testing recipes for Food52, I test recipes for the James Beard Foundation. I've been teaching classes at George Brown College since 2013. For more about me, check out the Team page.