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Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo bars are perfect for summertime sweet cravings; no-bake desserts equals cool kitchens!

Toronto has been sweltering over the last few weeks, and the last thing I want to do is turn on the oven. Everything has been on ice or BBQ’d to avoid heating up the house. The Nanaimo bar is an iconic no-bake Canadian dessert named after Nanaimo, British Columbia. If you like chocolate and coconut, this dessert is for you.

No-Bake Nanaimo Bars (makes 1 x 9″x9″ pan) Ingredients:

Bottom Layer: - 1/2 cup (113 gr.) unsalted butter, room temperature - 1/4 cup (50 gr.) granulated white sugar - 1/3 cup (30 gr.) unsweetened cocoa powder (regular or Dutch-processed) - 1 large egg lightly beaten - 1 tsp pure vanilla extract - 2 cups (200 gr.) graham cracker crumbs - 1 cup (65 gr.) sweetened or unsweetened coconut, shredded - 1/2 cup (50 gr.) walnuts, coarsely chopped

Middle Layer: - 1/4 cup (56 gr.) unsalted butter room temperature - 2 – 3 tbsp cream - 2 tbsp (20 gr.) vanilla custard powder (Bird’s) or vanilla pudding powder - 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract - 2 cups (230 gr.) powdered sugar

Top Layer: - 4 ounces (120 gr.) semisweet chocolate - 1 tbsp (14 gr.) unsalted butter


Line a 9″ x 9″ pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

Bottom Layer:

1. In a medium size pan, over medium-low heat, melt butter.

2. Remove from stove and stir in sugar and cocoa until melted and well combined. Slowly add egg, and whisk the mixture.

3. Return to stove and continue cooking on medium-low heat until the mixture thickens (approximately 2-3 minutes).

4. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla extract, graham crackers, coconut, and chopped walnuts. This part requires a little bit of elbow grease, and you’ll want to move fast as the mixture gets harder to mix as it cools down.

5. Once the mixture is fully combined and warm to touch, press the mixture on the bottom of the pan, making sure it is even throughout. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate while you work on the middle layer.

Middle Layer:

1. Using an electric mixture (using the paddle attachment), cream butter on a medium setting until fluffy (approx. 4 minutes).

2. Add remaining ingredients and continue beating until the mixture is smooth (approx. 4 minutes). Add milk to your discretion; if the mixture is too stiff, add a little bit more milk.

3. Evenly spread out the middle layer on top of the bottom layer. Cover again, and return to the fridge while you work on the top layer.

Top Layer: 

1.Coarsely chop the chocolate and melt over a double boiler. Add butter once the chocolate is melted, and mix well until combined.

2.Pour the chocolate over the middle layer, and using an offset spatula spread evenly. Refrigerate for 10 minutes, or until the chocolate has set.

Using a sharp knife, cut into squares. I used a cookie cutter for round Nanimo ‘bars’—go nuts.

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