Tuesday, 7 August 2012

tasty tuesday: nanaimo bars

Nanaimo bars have been one of my favourite desserts since I was a kid.  For as long as I can remember they have been a special treat for our family.  And over my many years of trial and error, I believe I have finally perfected our recipe.

As you can see this recipe has seen better days.  Though I believe there is a direct correlation between how dirty a recipe page is, and how good it is.  We used this one so much that it fell out of the cook book it was in, and we had to glue it into our personal recipe book!

Sometimes here at PS: ♥  we have to learn to think on our feet.  I had already started making the nanaimo bars, when I realized I didn't have any graham cracker crumbs!  Which if you have made these tasty treats before, you would know they are an essential ingredient in the base layer.

So I got creative.  I took the leftover graham crackers from my s'mores party (which I had popped in the freezer), toasted and blended them up and they worked perfectly!  There wasn't quite enough for the whole recipe, so I ended up substituting the rest of the graham cracker crumbs with oreo cookie crumbs.

The original recipe also calls for a raw egg in the base, but seeing as I don't love eating raw eggs, I usually substitute 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed mixed with 3 tablespoons of water for the egg.  This works just as well as a binder.  Plus omega 3s!

Though making nanaimo bars can be a bit of an arduous process, they are totally worth it!  They are made of three different layers: the graham cracker base, the icing middle layer, and the chocolate top layer.  Each layer needs a bit of time in the fridge to set once it is applied.

I recommend scoring the chocolate top layer before the chocolate has totally hardened.  This should help prevent cracking.

I like cutting all the way through my nanaimo bars with our big knife!

Nanaimo Bars

Bottom Layer:

1/2 cup butter [very soft]
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
5 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon ground flax seed mixed with
3 tablespoon of water
2 cups graham wafer crumbs

Middle Layer:

4 tablespoons softened butter
3 tablespoons milk (or cream)
2 tablespoons vanilla custard powder
2 cups icing sugar

Top Layer:

1 cup chocolate chips [or 6 baking squares]
1 tablespoon shortening


Step 1
1.  Place melted butter, cocoa, vanilla, sugar, and flax seed mixture in a bowl.  Stir mixture until creamy.
2.  Mix wafer crumbs and coconut into the cocoa mixture.  
3. Pack into an 8x8 pan.  I usually line the pan with parchment paper, and when I am ready to cut the bars, I just lift it out, and place it on a cutting board.
4.  Refrigerate until the bottom is solid (about 30 mins).

Step 2
5.  In a seperate bowl, mix butter, milk, custard powder and icing sugar together.  
6.  Spread over bottom layer.

Step 3
7.  Melt chocolate chips and shortening together either in a saucepan or in the microwave; be careful not to burn! The shortening will ensure that the chocolate layer isn't too solid, so it wont crack when cutting.
8.  Spread chocolate evenly over middle layer.
9.  Refrigerate for approximately 5 mins.  

Step 4
10.  Once the chocolate has begun to harden, I like to score it with my knife.  This makes it easier to cut after it has totally hardened. 
11.  Place nanaimo bars back in the fridge for at least 30 mins.
12.  Once they have completely hardened, lift the parchment out of the pan onto a cutting board, and using a large knife, cut the nanaimo bars all the way.
13.  Enjoy!

The parchment makes for easy cutting and easy clean up!

My friends continue to be amazed whenever I make this classic sweet for them.  It is such a nostalgic treat, and I love baking and eating it!

What was your favourite childhood sweet?

ps: jordyn ♥


  1. Oh I love this blog! Every post is so inspiring and lovely and just, it's great! Keep up the good work, you got a new follower :)

    love, Vief


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