Published Jun 19th
Prep 30m Cook - Additional - Ready In 30m
Servings 1 8x8-inch pan Calories 310.5

Because it’s three layers, this sounds hard but it’s worth it. My son is famous for making and taking these in to work. I’ve heard other names but here in the Northwest everyone knows them as Nanaimo bars. They are sold on British Columbia Ferries and at coffee stands. If you can’t find custard powder, I’ve used instant pudding mix with good results.

Recipe Ingredients

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 ¾ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • ½ cup finely chopped almonds
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons custard powder
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 4 (1 ounce) squares semisweet baking chocolate
  • 2 teaspoons butter

Cooking Directions

  1. 1 In the top of a double boiler, combine 1/2 cup butter, white sugar and cocoa powder. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Beat in the egg, stirring until thick, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in the graham cracker crumbs, coconut and almonds (if you like). Press into the bottom of an ungreased 8x8 inch pan.
  2. 2 For the middle layer, cream together 1/2 cup butter, heavy cream and custard powder until light and fluffy. Mix in the confectioners' sugar until smooth. Spread over the bottom layer in the pan. Chill to set.
  3. 3 While the second layer is chilling, melt the semisweet chocolate and 2 teaspoons butter together in the microwave or over low heat. Spread over the chilled bars. Let the chocolate set before cutting into squares.

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories 310.5
  • Carbohydrate 34.1 g
  • Cholesterol 47.3 mg
  • Fat 19.6 g
  • Fiber 2.1 g
  • Protein 2.8 g
  • Saturated Fat 11.2 g
  • Sodium 160.1 mg
  • Sugar 26.1 g

Chef's Notes

The magazine version of this recipe uses instant vanilla pudding powder instead of custard powder.


  1. Perfect recipe!! I used a 9x13 pan and doubled the base, and tripled the middle and tripled the chocolate top layer. This recipe is so easy and you can adjust the layers to suit your taste. Didn’t add the almonds and it was delicious as is!!
  2. NEVER microwave your chocolate - it makes it crack during cutting! I prefer to double the icing and double the chocolate topping. I garnished my bars with fresh cranberries to add a pop of edible colour - place one whole berry in the centre before placing the pan in the fridge and it will set - Read more ...
  3. This is one of the BEST desserts I have ever made. I had 20 of my husband's co-workers over for tea today, and every single one of them asked me for the recipe. I had catered goodies from a local bakery, yet nearly everyone bypassed those treats for this homemade one. We recently returned from - Read more ...
  4. Hubby says they are TOOO good! That's good! Guess we'll make them lots. After reading reviews and making I have some recommendations. I did not have an issue with the eggs curdling, maybe because my double boiled mixture was not overly hot. Perhaps the coconut could be reduced to 3/4 C next time. But my - Read more ...
  5. These were delicious. Here's a tip for beginners. Don't add the egg to the saucepan...if it's too warm the egg will CURDLE. My mom told me to slowly beat about half of the chocolate mixture into the egg, a little at a time, so that it won't curdle from the heat. Hope this helps, thanks - Read more ...
  6. I am from Nanaimo BC and we have Nanaimo Bars everywhere in this town. Of all of the Nanaimo Bar recipes I have tried, this recipe is the closest to what I have always known as the original Nanimo Bar recipe.
  7. Excellent Recipe!! Living in Canada I've been making Nanaimo bars every Christmas for as long as I can remember! The recipe I usually use is a little different than this one but what a difference a few changes can make. The filling is nice and firm, the crust moist and the topping not too hard! - Read more ...
  8. Very Delicious! One of my favourite treats...I'm from nanaimo and these were awesome! I used milk and pudding powder as suggested, and would recommend adding a little less butter to the first 2 layers (or at least the middle layer), closer to 2/3C, because it did turn out a little greasy. but otherwise, WONDERFUL!
  9. 5 stars and more! I just came back from Vancouver Canada and had them for the first time at a 5 star hotel. One bite and I just had to have the recipe. Thanks for sharing it. These were identical to the ones I had... (I used the instant vanilla pudding mix).

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