Blue Eyed Mama's Blog – Family Recipes, Crafts, and Homeschool Ideas

Nanaimo Bar Recipe

Tap Into Your Inner Canadian!

During our Canadian studies for school, we came across a list of Canadian foods, one was called Nanaimo Bars.

Nanaimo Bars are a no-bake treat named after Nanaimo, British Columbia, which is on Vancouver Island. The bars have 3 layers that consist of a coconut crumb base, a butter icing middle layer, and a chocolate ganache top layer. They apparently can be made without coconut, though I love coconut, and the icing can be flavored with things like peanut butter, mint, mocha, and more!

There is a little controversy about where these bars come from, some have even said that they were once called London Fog bars, but to Canadians, especially on the west coast, these are a staple dessert!

Anyway, the kids and I set out to make these and they were very easy, super rich, and incredibly addicting!

What You’ll Need:

How to make namaimo barsYou will need…

  • Butter
  • sugar
  • cocoa powder
  • graham crackers
  • an egg,
  • shredded coconut
  • heavy cream
  • vanilla
  • powdered sugar
  • baking chocolate

Did I mention these are sweet?

Though the above list might seem long and the three layers might seem intense, these are easy… and because they are no-bake, they can be easy for little kids to help with!

When making them, pop them into the fridge between layers, that will especially help with the 3rd layer!

We’ve made them for gatherings, cutting the squares smaller, and even for the holidays and a bake sale!

It’s Fun When You Are In the Know

If you are a fan of Schitt’s Creek, there is a scene when Jocelyn is bringing over a batch of these Nanaimo Bars to the Rose clan, my hubby and I were like… “we know what those are!” If you haven’t watched Schitt’s Creek… make a batch of these and binge it (after the kiddos are in bed)… you be glad you did both!

For those interested in the Canadian study part of this post, I am slowly building a section for that… and eventually for many more countries, so check back! You can see the Canadian Homeschooling page here… just remember it is a work in progress.

If you make these please let me know what you think! You can comment below or head over to Instagram or Facebook and share your pics… tag me @bemandfam!


Enjoy your treat!

BEM and Fam 🙂


PS. This post has some affiliate links, read more about those here.

Nanaimo Bars
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Canadian
Keyword: easy, homemade, Kid approved, no bake, sweets
Author: Bettina Zabel
Layer 1
  • ½ cup Butter 1 stick softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 5 TBSP Cocoa powder unsweetened
  • 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 cup shredded coconut you can use either sweet or unsweet, depending on your taste
Layer 2
  • 3 TBSP Heavy Whipping Cream
  • ½ cup butter 1 stick softened
  • 2 TBSP corn starch
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
Layer 3
  • 4 oz baking chocolate semisweet
  • 2 TBSP butter
First Layer
  1. Combine 1/2 cup butter, sugar, and cocoa powder in a pot and on low, melting the butter and ingredients together. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth.

    canadian desserts
  2. Whisk an egg in a separate bowl and then mix into the cocoa powder mixture until smooth. Stir for 2-3 minutes. It is important that you cook the cocoa mixture on low as to not "cook" the egg. Alternatively, you could "temper" the egg by putting spoonfuls of of the warm mixture into the whisked egg and then pour it all back into the mixture on the stove.

  3. Take off the heat and mix in the graham crackers and coconut. 

  4. Press the mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 8x8 pan. Set aside or chill and move onto the Second Layer!

Second Layer
  1. Cream together 1/2 cup butter, heavy cream, cornstarch, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Mix in the powdered sugar until smooth. 

  2. Spread over the first layer in the pan. Chill to set.
Third Layer
  1. While the second layer is chilling, melt the semisweet chocolate and 2 teaspoons butter together over low heat. 

  2. Spread over the chilled bars. 
  3. Let the chocolate set before cutting into squares.
Recipe Notes

The second layer is supposed to be a custard flavor and often many people don't have custard powder at their fingertips. Some people will substitute with vanilla pudding, but I like the cornstarch and vanilla approach better, it helps fluff up the icing!

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