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+ servings
Nanaimo Bars
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
12 mins
Chilling Time
30 mins
Total Time
1 hr 12 mins
Ahhh, Nanaimo Bars... the first dessert nibble to disappear at any Canadian bake sale, holiday celebration or any pot luck party.
Course: Desserts/Sweets
Cuisine: Canadian
Keyword: Holiday Favorites
Servings: 16
Calories: 432 kcal
Author: Meredith Laurence
Crust Layer:
  • ½ cup unsalted butter 1 stick
  • 6 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts or almonds or pecans
Middle Layer
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¾ cups sugar
  • teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Chocolate Layer
  • cups 9 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into small cubes
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan and then line it with parchment paper, allowing two sides of the parchment to hang over the edges of the pan.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the cocoa powder and sugar and whisk well. Then, add the egg and whisk well to combine. The mixture should thicken quite quickly. (If the mixture looks broken at any point, don’t worry, just whisk it back together and proceed with the recipe.) Stir in the graham cracker crumbs, shredded coconut and walnuts. Combine the ingredients well, pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan and spread it into an even layer. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove and cool.
  3. While the crust is cooking, make the middle layer. Combine the milk and heavy cream in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Whisk the cornstarch, sugar, salt, whole eggs and egg yolk together in a bowl until well combined. Temper the eggs into the cream by slowly whisking the warm cream into the bowl of eggs and then pour the whole mixture back into the saucepan, whisking constantly. Return the saucepan to medium-low heat and cook gently until the custard thickens. You can bring the mixture to just below the boil, but don’t boil the custard. Once the custard has thickened, stir in the vanilla extract. Pour the warm custard over the crust and smooth it out. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, until the custard layer has set.
  4. To make the chocolate layer melt the butter in the top of a double boiler, or in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Set ½ cup of the chocolate chips aside for later. Add the remaining 1 cup of chocolate chips to the butter and melt, stirring until smooth. Once the chocolate has melted, remove the pan from the heat and add the remaining ½ cup of chocolate chips. Stir until melted and smooth. Let the chocolate cool for a few minutes. It should be warm, but not hot and still pourable. Pour the chocolate over the chilled custard layer and smooth it out, banging the pan on the counter to help create a completely smooth surface. Transfer the pan to the refrigerator to chill until the chocolate has set.
  5. When you are ready to serve, cut into bars or squares with a clean hot knife, wiping the knife in between slices.
Nutrition Facts
Nanaimo Bars
Amount Per Serving
Calories 432 Calories from Fat 270
% Daily Value*
Fat 30g46%
Saturated Fat 16g80%
Cholesterol 102mg34%
Sodium 131mg5%
Potassium 222mg6%
Carbohydrates 37g12%
Fiber 3g12%
Sugar 24g27%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 625IU13%
Vitamin C 0.2mg0%
Calcium 56mg6%
Iron 2.3mg13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.