Nanaimo Bars


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The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and

After taking last month off from the Daring Bakers, I was just totally sugared out by the middle of December, I was really excited to dive into this months challenge. A Nanaimo bar is something that I have never ever heard of and for that matter I have never eaten one either. These bars are decadent and extremely rich… and if that’s your kind of thing, well then, these are the right treats for you. The three layers each have their own texture and flavor and when combined they will satisfy any sweet tooth imaginable!

The bottom layer is full of chocolate, coconut and graham crackers (almonds optional but I don’t like almonds so I steered cleared of those). The middle layer is a vanilla custard which is mixed with cream and a hefty amount of butter. And lastly, the top layer is a right chocolate ganache which is the perfect touch to end this dish. Needless to say that these are meant to be shared… I brought them to my friends this week because lets be honest… I have a bridesmaid dress to go buy in a few weeks and any sweets are just not in the cards for me until after I get the dress. Then I figure I can go back to my normal ways of eating especially because I am starting pastry school and then cut out all the sweets again a month or two before her wedding. It makes perfect sense to me! Right? Right? I think so!

Daring Bakers – Nanaimo Bars



  • Bottom Layer
  • 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter
  • 1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 5 tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa
  • 1 Large Egg Beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups Gluten Free Graham Wafer Crumbs
  • 1 cup Coconut Shredded, sweetened or unsweetened
  • Middle Layer
  • 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter
  • 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons Heavy Cream
  • 2 tablespoons Vanilla Custard Powder
  • 2 cups Icing Sugar
  • Top Layer
  • 4 ounces Semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter


  • 1. For bottom Layer: Melt unsalted butter, sugar and cocoa in top of a double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, nuts and coconut. Press firmly into an ungreased 8 by 8 inch pan.
  • 2. For Middle Layer: Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light in colour. Spread over bottom layer.
  • 3. For Top Layer: Melt chocolate and unsalted butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, pour over middle layer and chill.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Esi

    These things are soooo rich. I could only have a bite, but they were DEVOURED by my coworkers. Good luck dress shopping!!

  2. Sarah, Maison Cupcake

    Your bars look great, they are soooo sweet though aren’t they. I cut mine up into cubes and speared them on sticks to stop me eating too much in one go. Your custard layer is nice and thick. I had to push mine to edge of tin with fingers to make it go far enough. I would definitely stay away from them if you need to fit into that bridesmaid’s dress!

  3. Jessica @ How Sweet It Is

    This is like the 3rd or 4th time I’ve seen them to day and they look SO AMAZING!

  4. Katie @ goodLife {eats}

    These are a fun treat to make, but I haven’t made them in a few years. Thanks for the reminder, because we LOVE them! I first had them at an international potluck I attended and had to get the recipe from the woman who made them.

  5. Karin

    Your bars look good! I love the thickness of the chocolate..I did the same!!

  6. Monika

    These look positively sinful and the photography is beautiful! I might have to refer to this recipe for my next cookie exchange!

  7. The Italian Dish

    I was a bad girl and did not do the challenge this month! You, however, did a beautiful job!

    • Gaby

      Elaine!! I almost didn’t do this challenge either! But then it poured all week and I had nothing to do… so I obviously baked up a storm and ate a ton!! πŸ™‚

  8. fairy_mi

    yummmm, your nanaimo bars version looks really great!
    Love the presentation
    And the photographs are amazing!
    Glad to get know your blog
    Great job!
    (also a DB)

  9. Cathy/ShowFoodChef

    Love your pics. I ate too many of these myself, and still have some in the freezer!

  10. Fuji Mama

    Gorgeous! Yeah, I almost didn’t do this either…did it YESTERDAY! LOL Ok, can I just say how jealous I am that you are going to pastry school? Can I come and be your “whisk attendant”?

  11. Kate @ Savour Fare

    Definitely super sweet, and you were smart to get them out of the house!

  12. Megan

    I can’t believe you were able to give these away. I think I ate half the pan myself before deciding I should probably bring the rest to work to share! They look beautiful. I can’t believe you’re starting pastry school. That’s awesome. I keep thinking about going, but I’m sticking with the bakery for now and seeing where that takes me.

  13. marla {Family Fresh Cooking}

    These bars do look rich, but if I got started on them I could do some damage. I have never had a Nanaimo bar, but the elements in these sound really good. I would go ahead and throw in some toasted almonds. Sounds like a good plan to lay off the sweets before Pastry class begins!

  14. Anya

    The layers look delicious! I can’t wait to follow your progress in pastry school!!

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  16. Cindy Aguilar

    These bars are the best! My Mom has been making them for years, I did not know there was a city though! They are soo good!

  17. megan

    Wow, these look good. your pictures are incredible! I actually just found your blog through twitter, and I”m hooked πŸ™‚ I don’t know if I’ve ever said anything was “too sweet”, so I’ll definitely have to test out this recipe πŸ™‚

  18. Barbara @ VinoLuciStyle

    I’m not quite sure when I’ve seen half a dozen posts for the same thing…so they’ve been calling my name for a Girls Nite In I’m hosting tonight. Haven’t tried them because I want to make sure there are some actually left for my guests, but will say…really easy to make!

  19. megan

    I almost didnt make it either but in the end I whipped them up. They were really easy to make if you cheat like me and use store bought grahams. LOL Very Sweet though! And kind of a weird mouth feel.
    How fun your starting pastry school. I just had a friend graduate in December from the CIA in NY. I cant wait to get into the kitchen with him!

  20. Natalie

    I’m glad you ended up participating in this month’s challenge.. Your bars turned out just great. I’m sure they taste just as good as they look. πŸ™‚

  21. Food Frenzy

    I could see how something so rich as this could become sweetly contagious. This look great!

  22. wendyworldly

    These Nanaimo Bars have the thinnest bottom layer of any I’ve ever seen and I love Nanaimo bars. Someone mentioned the middle layer in your photo looks so thick but she had to spread it to the edge with fingers to cover the bottom. Just wondering if the result will be the same using the recipe?