Our friendly neighbors to the north, Canada, created Nanaimo Bars and they thought it neighborly to share their delightful bar dessert with us too! Much obliged Canada! Nanaimo Bars are a no-bake treat that will amaze you with every bite: a crunchy, nutty bottom with sweet tropical coconut and plenty of rich butter to hold it all together, a creamy center, and of course a luscious chocolate topping! Nanaimo Bars do their homeland proud and will do your tastebuds proud as soon as you make them!

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For the bottom layer:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, diced into pieces
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup almonds, finely chopped
  • 1 cup shredded coconut, sweetened

For the filling:

  • 1/4 cup powdered milk
  • 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For the top layer:

  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


Step 1 –Butter an 8×8-inch baking dish and then line with parchment paper. Butter the parchment.

Step 2 –In a heat-proof bowl, over a saucepan of simmering water set over medium-low heat, melt 1/2 cup of the butter.

Step 3 –Carefully transfer the melted butter away from the heat.

Step 4 –Add the granulated sugar, the cocoa powder, and the salt to the melted butter and whisk until well combined.

Step 5 –While whisking vigorously, slowly pour in the beaten egg in a thin stream.

Step 6 –Return the cocoa mixture to the heat and cook until it has just thickened.

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Step 7 –Transfer the cocoa mixture from the heat and toss in the graham cracker crumbs, the coconut, and the almonds until evenly coated.

Step 8 –Press the graham cracker mixture into the prepared baking dish.

Step 9 –Chill the crust.

Step 10 –In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, add the powdered milk and the heavy cream. Whisk vigorously until the powdered milk is dissolved.

Step 11 –Set the mixer up with a paddle attachment and add 1/2 cup of the butter, the powdered sugar, and the vanilla to the powdered milk mixture. Beat until very light and fluffy.

Step 12 –Spread the whipped powdered milk mixture into an even layer on top of the chilled graham cracker crust.

Step 13 –Chill the cream-covered crust in the freezer.

Step 14 –While the cream-covered crust is chilling, in a heat-proof bowl, melt the semi-sweet chocolate and the remaining butter in the microwave in 20 second intervals, stirring between each, until melted and smooth.

Step 15 –Spread the melted chocolate over the chilled cream-covered crust.

Step 16 –Chill the bars until the chocolate has set.

Step 17 –Cut the bars into squares.

Step 18 –Serve.