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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sweet Treats Saturday: Nanaimo Bars

In honor of my upcoming week away at dance camp (yes, you read that right) in Nanaimo, I decided to make Nanaimo Bars.  I had never heard of this dessert up until a couple of weeks ago when I stumbled upon a blog that featured them. I thought their name seemed like quite a coincidence... could there really be a bar named after where I was headed? So I did a little research.

It's true: Nanaimo has it's own dessert 'mascot.'  The bar has its origins from the area of the same name in Vancouver Island, Canada.  Even better? It's a no-bake recipe.

I made some minor modifications to the recipe that I used, but I'll call them out.

Nanaimo Bars
Recipe from Cajun Sugar Pie

1st layer:
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
5 tbsp cocoa powder
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup toasted coconut

2nd layer:
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp instant vanilla pudding mix
3 tbsp milk

3rd layer: (I doubled the original recipe as it was a lot easier to spread to cover the entire batch)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp butter

1. Grease a 9 inch square pan
2. Combine 1/2 cup butter, sugar, and cocoa in a medium saucepan.  Stir over low heat until mixture begins to thicken.
3. This is where my recipe differs from the original.  In a separate bowl, beat the egg.  Pour in a tbsp of the melted mixture.  Mix quickly and add a little more of the mixture.  I wanted to temper the egg so that it didn't curdle within the hot mixture.  Once about half of the hot mixture is well incorporate with the egg, pour all back into the original saucepan.  Heat on low until thick, then add the vanilla.  Remove from heat.
4. Add coconut and graham cracker crumbs, mixing until well blended.
5. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan and refrigerate for one hour.

Layer 1
6. After one hour, prepare the middle layer.  In a large mixing bowl, cream together the 1/4 cup butter, powdered sugar and pudding mix.
7.  Add milk slowly while stirring.  Mix until smooth.
8.  Spread evenly over bottom layer.  Refrigerate for one hour.

Layer 2
9.  After one hour, melt the chocolate chips and remaining butter.  I did this in a heat-proof bowl in the microwave in 30 second increments (it only took 2 for me).  Quickly spread over the middle layer.
10.  Refrigerate at least an hour or until hardened.

Final layer after refrigeration

Slice into bars and serve! Refrigerate for storage.  I served these at a Scottish pipe band parade event that we danced in. I thought there might be some Canadians in the group (it seems like there always are amongst the Scottish community) so they might recognize this treat.  When I announced that I had brought Nanaimo Bars, there was definitely recognition and I'm pleased to say that the platter was left with just a few crumbs within minutes.

Back to dance camp.   I'll be spending a week working on my Irish dancing and some other Celtic activities including the bodhran and tin whistle.  I can't wait!  I'll give you a recap when I'm back, and crafting updates of anything that I'm able to work on when I'm there.  I'm only allowed 25lbs of luggage on the sea plane I'll be taking, so whatever I bring will have to be small and light!  See you when I get back!

This post will be participating in the following Linky parties:


  1. We live on Camano Island, WA during the summers. We sometimes boat up to Naniamo...and we love Naniamo bars! Your recipe is a bit different than ours, so I'll have to try it out! Yum!

  2. This looks SO yummy and I happen to have everything on hand to make this! I was looking for an easy recipe to wow my friend & this is it! Thanks for the great recipe & tute! And for linking up @ Whatcha Got Weekend ;)

  3. This looks divine! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Looks amazingly delicious. I have a party every Monday. I would love for you to stop by and link up your nanaimo bars and any other projects you would like to share. http://diyhshp.blogspot.com/

  5. Hope you had fun - this is my town! :)

  6. Hey! Just found your blog through the Thursday Linky Party and am a new follower! Check out my blog and follow back :)

    Can't wait to read more of your recipes!


  7. Whoops! My blog url I left you in the last comment has a typo in it. Here is the right url: http://www.the-not-so-desperate-chef-wife.com

    lol Sorry!


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