Nanaimo bars Recipe
Nanaimo bars
Flavors of British Columbia
Total time: more than 2 hours

Preparation time: 15-20 minutes
Cooking time: few minutes
Cooling time: 1 hour + 1 hour

Difficulty: Easy
Chef's Note

There are a number of stories as to where this cookie came from. It's thought to be native to Nanaimo, British Columbia on Vancouver Island (hence the name), and it gained widespread popularity in the 1950s. This creamy, chocolatey treat's origin is elusive, shrouded in mystery, and claimed by many as their own.

In 1986, Nanaimo Mayor Graeme Roberts, in conjunction with Harbour Park Mall, initiated a contest to find the ultimate Nanaimo Bar Recipe. During the four-week long contest, almost 100 different variations of the famous confection were submitted. The winner: Joyce Hardcastle. Her recipe becomes the official Recipe.

For 16 servings

Bottom layer
- 125 ml / ½ cup butter
- 60 ml / ¼ cup sugar
- 80 ml / ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 500 ml / 2 cups crushed graham crackers (packaged graham cracker crumbs may be used)
- 250 ml / 1 cup shredded coconut
- 125 ml / ½ cup chopped walnuts

Middle layer
- 60 ml / ¼ cup butter
- 500 ml / 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 2 Tablespoons vanilla custard powder (available in Canada, but not in the United States; instant vanilla pudding powder may be substituted)
- 3 Tablespoons milk

op layer
- 120 g / 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
- 1 Tablespoon butter

Bottom layer

  1. Grease a 23 cm / 9-inch square cake pan.
  2. Combine butter, sugar, cocoa, egg, and vanilla in a heavy sauce pan. Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens.
  3. Add graham crackers crumbs, coconut, and chopped walnuts, stirring to combine. Press the mixture in the greased pan.

Middle layer

  1. Beat together butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla custard or pudding powder, and milk, until the mixture is creamy.
  2. Spread over graham cracker base in cake pan. Refrigerate bars until firm, at least 1 hour.


  1. Melt semi-sweet chocolate and 1 Tablespoon butter. Drizzle over chilled bars. Return to refrigerator to chill until firm (at least 1 hour).
  2. Cut into squares and serve.
More recipe ideas

Photo by Peter Arthold

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