Because it's three layers, this sounds hard but it's worth it. My son is famous for making and taking these in to work. I've heard other names but here in the Northwest everyone knows them as Nanaimo bars. They are sold on British Columbia Ferries and at coffee stands. If you can't find custard powder, I've used instant pudding mix with good results.

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Ingredients

16
Original recipe yields 16 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • In the top of a double boiler, combine 1/2 cup butter, white sugar and cocoa powder. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Beat in the egg, stirring until thick, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in the graham cracker crumbs, coconut and almonds (if you like). Press into the bottom of an ungreased 8x8 inch pan.

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  • For the middle layer, cream together 1/2 cup butter, heavy cream and custard powder until light and fluffy. Mix in the confectioners' sugar until smooth. Spread over the bottom layer in the pan. Chill to set.

  • While the second layer is chilling, melt the semisweet chocolate and 2 teaspoons butter together in the microwave or over low heat. Spread over the chilled bars. Let the chocolate set before cutting into squares.

Tips

The magazine version of this recipe uses instant vanilla pudding powder instead of custard powder.

Partner Tip

Reynolds® parchment can be used for easier cleanup/removal from the pan.

Nutrition Facts

310.5 calories; 2.8 g protein; 34.1 g carbohydrates; 47.3 mg cholesterol; 160.1 mg sodium. Full Nutrition

Reviews (245)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
01/27/2008
These were delicious. Here's a tip for beginners. Don't add the egg to the saucepan...if it's too warm the egg will CURDLE. My mom told me to slowly beat about half of the chocolate mixture into the egg, a little at a time, so that it won't curdle from the heat. Hope this helps, thanks for the great recipe, I will make again for sure! Read More
(400)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
12/14/2014
NEVER microwave your chocolate - it makes it crack during cutting! I prefer to double the icing and double the chocolate topping. I garnished my bars with fresh cranberries to add a pop of edible colour - place one whole berry in the centre before placing the pan in the fridge and it will set nicely. Also, I usually end up cracking the chocolate when I cut into squares anyway, so I use muffin tins! Read More
(39)
329 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 235
  • 4 star values: 68
  • 3 star values: 14
  • 2 star values: 6
  • 1 star values: 6
Rating: 5 stars
01/27/2008
These were delicious. Here's a tip for beginners. Don't add the egg to the saucepan...if it's too warm the egg will CURDLE. My mom told me to slowly beat about half of the chocolate mixture into the egg, a little at a time, so that it won't curdle from the heat. Hope this helps, thanks for the great recipe, I will make again for sure! Read More
(400)
Rating: 5 stars
12/01/2006
Excellent Recipe!! Living in Canada I've been making Nanaimo bars every Christmas for as long as I can remember! The recipe I usually use is a little different than this one but what a difference a few changes can make. The filling is nice and firm, the crust moist and the topping not too hard! It cuts into squares excellent (I line my pan with parchment paper so it's easier to get out of the pan and cut.) The top doesn't crack when you're cutting it and the filling doesn't squish out the sides and the bottom stays together nicely. This is my new Nanaimo bar recipe that I'll be using from now on!! Thanks for the great recipe! Read More
(185)
Rating: 5 stars
12/06/2007
So very delicious! I doubled the recipe to fit a 9x13 pan and it turned out fabulous. Tip for bottom layer: To avoid curdling the egg, I beat the eggs in a separate bowl and slowly added 1/2 cup of the melted cocoa mixture to the egg while whisking, then slowly added the egg mixture to the rest of the cocoa mix while whisking. Turned out perfect! Read More
(177)
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Rating: 5 stars
07/15/2011
This is one of the BEST desserts I have ever made. I had 20 of my husband's co-workers over for tea today and every single one of them asked me for the recipe. I had catered goodies from a local bakery yet nearly everyone bypassed those treats for this homemade one. We recently returned from Vancouver where I tried these bars for the first time and fell in love. They are delicious. FIRST TIP: Use "digestive cookies" instead of "graham crackers" to make your crumbs. Graham crackers are sweet whereas digestives are a little saltier and crunchier -- yum yum! SECOND TIP: Use custard powder (you can find Bird's Eye Custard Powder at Cost Plus and in the British Foods aisle of many specialty grocery stores). Instant vanilla pudding mix is too sweet! Custard powder is just corn starch with some flavoring and coloring and salt but it gives you the perfect texture taste and look. Don't use anything else. THIRD TIP: Be sure to use almonds which you have ground up in the food processor (where I also grind up the digestives). FOURTH TIP: You'll probably want to double the recipe because these go fast. FIFTH TIP: Be sure to read "the most helpful reviews" for how to avoid curdling/scrambling the eggs when you add them to the hot chocolate mixture. The tips worked like a charm for me! Read More
(129)
Rating: 5 stars
09/25/2007
I am from Nanaimo BC and we have Nanaimo Bars everywhere in this town. Of all of the Nanaimo Bar recipes I have tried this recipe is the closest to what I have always known as the original Nanimo Bar recipe. Read More
(79)
Rating: 3 stars
12/14/2014
NEVER microwave your chocolate - it makes it crack during cutting! I prefer to double the icing and double the chocolate topping. I garnished my bars with fresh cranberries to add a pop of edible colour - place one whole berry in the centre before placing the pan in the fridge and it will set nicely. Also, I usually end up cracking the chocolate when I cut into squares anyway, so I use muffin tins! Read More
(39)
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Rating: 5 stars
04/18/2011
Hubby says they are TOOO good! That's good! Guess we'll make them lots. After reading reviews and making I have some recommendations. I did not have an issue with the eggs curdling, maybe because my double boiled mixture was not overly hot. Perhaps the coconut could be reduced to 3/4 C next time. But my non-coconut friends even liked these. We do not have custard powder around SO...I did some research and I was pleased with how they turned out. DO NOT USE VANILLA pudding. Custard powder is NOT pudding. Simply substitute 2 TBSP of cornstarch and vanilla. I had vanilla powder, so I used a tsp of that. I also only used one cup of p. sugar. It was the right sweetness but I wish there was a little more of that layer, so next time I might try two cups of p. sugar, if that is too sweet, than I will add another stick of butter to increase volume. Used semi-sweet chips for topping. Turned out beautifully! Can't wait to make these when it's too hot this summer to bake. Read More
(35)
Rating: 5 stars
12/23/2003
5 stars and more! I just came back from Vancouver Canada and had them for the first time at a 5 star hotel. One bite and I just had to have the recipe. Thanks for sharing it. These were identical to the ones I had... (I used the instant vanilla pudding mix). Read More
(31)
Rating: 4 stars
06/08/2008
these were easier than i first thought they would be. I used nilla wafer crumbs instead of graham instant vanilla pudding mix and took the suggestion of others and mixed some of the chocolate mixture into the beaten egg before adding to prevent curdling. To make spreading the chocolate on top easier i put the pan in the freezer for about 20 minutes and let the chocolate cool for the same amount of time and it spread easily. I cut them by using a serrated knife that i dipped in warm water. They cut easy with no cracking. Nice presentation. Theses bars are very rich and very sweet. I cut them into very small squares and no one could eat more than one. Nice flavor. Read More
(29)