Bars/ Cookies/ Cookies/Bars

Nanaimo Bars

What’s a Nanaimo Bar – I’ve never heard of one.

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

Today I was sitting in a dentist chair waiting to have my teeth cleaned. Now, there isn’t a thing in the world I wouldn’t rather be doing at this moment. My least favorite thing to do in life is having my teeth cleaned. Don’t ask me why. I think, mostly, it is the polishing and that little grinder and that gritty stuff they put on your teeth. Years ago when my kids were in the dentist chair, I said to the dentist, “do you use the gritty stuff on them”, the dentist says, “oh, we don’t say gritty to the kids, we say CRUNCHY”.

Well, trying to take my mind off this “crunchy” treatment, I start thinking about the blog and what I could make. Crunchy keeps coming to mind and I know I’m making these Nanaimo (Nah-nye-Moh) bars for the challenge and I want to try and make homemade graham crackers for part of the recipe. So as I sit here, I imagine rolling out the dough, pricking holes in the individual cookies, baking and then pulverising them to make graham cracker crumbs. Ahh, that seems to do the trick because I can almost smell the cookies baking in the oven and before you know it, I’m out of this chair.

I have never heard of this dessert before. The recipe is a classic Canadian dessert recipe that originated in Nanaimo, British Columbia and since the winter olympics are going to be in Vancouver it seems a fitting dessert to try. After making it, I need to find someone to give them to to get them out of the house. This is a no-bake recipe so if you aren’t up to making the graham crackers from scratch, just buy some graham cracker crumbs from your grocery.

The graham crackers were actually fun to make. I think these homemade crackers would make great smores.

Nanaimo Bars


  • Bottom Layer:
  • 1/2 c.  unsalted Butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated Sugar
  • 5 tablespoons unsweetened Cocoa
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup  walnuts finely chopped
  • 1 cup  coconut
  • Middle Layer:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons instant vanilla pudding powder
  • 2 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. peanut butter
  • 3 Tbsp. Nutella
  • Top Layer:
  • ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • Tbsp. 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, peanut butter, pudding powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light in color. Add the Nutella and swirl a bit with a knife. Do not over mix.  Spread over bottom layer.
  3. For Top Layer: Melt chocolate and unsalted butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, pour over middle layer and sprinkle with additional chopped walnuts. Chill until firm.  If you have a hard time cutting these, try dipping a knife into very hot water and then cutting. The knife will slide right through the bars.

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  • Reply
    January 27, 2010 at 7:26 am

    what a mind-flying visit to dentist you had! hilariously!
    what a beautiful and CRUNCHY bar!

  • Reply
    January 27, 2010 at 8:49 am

    Great job
    Your bars looks so delicious
    and your graham wafers looks amazing.

  • Reply
    January 27, 2010 at 9:35 am

    Well done! I love how neat you arranged/baked the wafers and how beautiful those bars are. the dentist visit is hilarious! Cheers from North Carolina.

  • Reply
    January 29, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    Gorgeous job on my challenge! I love what you did with it – great flavours =D.

  • Reply
    Homemade Graham Crackers – Rosemary and the Goat
    October 17, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    […] graham crackers were part  of a recipe for Nanaimo Dessert Bars and this recipe was adapted from Nancy Silverton’s La Brea Bakery […]

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