12 Days of Baking

12 Days of Baking: Nanaimo Bars (Day 9)

If you’re Canadian then I don’t have to explain this dessert to you. If you’re not Canadian and live outside of Canada… you’re missing a lot. A whoooollllleeee lot! This dessert is a Canadian table staple. It’s brought to every gathering, every season but you’ll find them more around Christmas. The bottom is an oatmeal cookie type, with a custard-like filling on top then melted chocolate on top of that. Nom. Each person has their own variation of it but the traditional bottom is a oatmeal chocolate crust.

This recipe comes courtesy of Anna Olson.

What you’ll need

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
5 tbsp cocoa powder
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs
1 cup unsweetened grated coconut
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped


1/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 tbsp custard powder
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups icing sugar, sifted


8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
2 tbsp unsalted butter


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom and sides of 8-inch square pan with vegetable oil or spray. For base, melt butter and stir in sugar. Sift cocoa powder into mixture and blend well. Whisk together egg and vanilla extract and add. Blend in chocolate cookie crumbs, coconut and chopped walnuts until evenly incorporated. Press into prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes then chill for 20 minutes.

2. For filling, beat butter by hand until smooth and beat in custard powder. Stir in milk and add sifted icing sugar a cup at a time, combining well. Spread over base and chill while preparing topping.

3. For topping, melt chocolate and butter over a pot of gently simmering water. Pour over vanilla filling and spread to cover evenly. Chill for 30 minutes.

4. To serve, slice with a hot, dry knife into 1 inch squares. Yields 1 8-inch square pan.


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