Washington - Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo Bars are a Canadian confection but found their way into the Pacific Northwest and Washington where they are a local favorite.   These no bake bar cookies are three layers of goodness - chocolate graham/coconut/walnut crust, vanilla custard flavored butter icing, and rich chocolate!  People of Washington - why are you keeping this treat a secret from the rest of us?!   Just kidding - we aren't mad, now that we have the recipe!  

bottom layer...

middle layer...

top layer...

bottom layer:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup dried coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts 

middle layer:
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
2 - 3 Tablespoons milk or cream
2 Tablespoons vanilla pudding powder 
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners sugar

top layer:
4 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter 

bottom layer:

  • butter or lightly spray a 9x9 inch pan with non stick spray
  • in a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter 
  • remove from heat and stir in the sugar and cocoa powder and then gradually whisk in the beaten egg
  • return the saucepan to low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens (1 - 2 minutes)
  • Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract, graham cracker crumbs, coconut and chopped nuts
  • press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan
  • cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (about an hour)
middle layer:
  • with mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy
  • add the remaining ingredients for the middle layer and beat until the mixture is smooth
  • if the mixture is too thick to spread, add a little more milk
  • spread the filling over the bottom layer, cover and refrigerate until firm (about 30 minutes)
top layer:
  • chop the chocolate into small pieces
  • melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler
  • spread the melted chocolate evenly over the filling and refrigerate for about 10 minutes or just until the chocolate has set.
  • using a sharp knife, cut into squares

Nanaimo Bars are really rich so you may want to cut them into bite sized pieces - and I really liked them nice and cold, straight from the fridge!  


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