Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo Bars

Again, I beg you, do NOT hold these against me when you can’t stop eating them.  They are absolutely worth every calorie (as long as you can stop eating them at some point).

I noticed these a few years ago, and was intrigued.  They called for an ingredient I had never heard of  (custard powder), and I vowed to keep my eyes open to see if I could find any…I really wanted to try these.

After a few years of half remembering, looking and never finding, I finally went to Amazon and ordered it, to be shipped from the UK.  It took three weeks for it to arrive, and was I anxious to check it out!

Oh, the disappointment!  For those of you who have never seen it or heard of it, all it amounts to is corn starch, flavored with artificial vanilla.  You add it to the “custard layer” of the cookies.  It basically helps to stabilize that layer which, I have to add, is not custard at all, but a form of buttercream.  Now, don’t think that I have anything bad to say about these lovely morsels, because I don’t.  I posted them, didn’t I?  I would never post something I thought was not worth the effort.  But, all of the descriptions have this layer as custard, likely because of the “custard powder”.

Save yourself the time and money and replace it with simple cornstarch, then add the vanilla.  In the recipe, I have listed the two options.  I must also note that when I make a chocolate topping like this, I use about 2/3 milk chocolate and about 1/3 dark chocolate.  I am NOT  a fan of  using chocolate chips.  They have added ingredients to help them hold their shape, so I don’t like to melt them for anything.

Nanaimo Bars
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Canadian
  • Bottom Layer
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 5 tbsp. cocoa (I used 2 T. special dark and 3 T. regular)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 ¼ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ½ c. finely chopped nuts (I used pecans)
  • 1 cup coconut (I chopped this)
  • Melt first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan on low heat. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, coconut, and nuts. Press firmly into an ungreased 8" x 8" pan. Don't try to pack it tight, the butter will start to separate out. Just FIRM. CHILL WELL or you could have a problem with the butter layer trying to melt.
  • Second Layer
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp. and 2 Tsp. cream
  • 2 Tbsp. vanilla custard powder (or plain corn starch)
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon good vanilla
  • Cream together the butter, cream, custard powder/corn starch, and icing sugar until smooth and fluffy. Spread over bottom layer.
  • Third Layer
  • 4 ounces good chocolate, I used 3 ounces milk chocolate and 1 ounce dark chocolate
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • Melt chocolate and butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, but still liquid, pour over second layer and chill in refrigerator.

All that being said…MAKE THESE!  TRY THEM!  There is no baking involved, only a quick few minutes with a pan on the stove top.