With a Monday morning come all to soon, I have a recipe for you to get the week started on the right foot.

Nanaimo bars are a magical bars of chocolate, butter, coconut, walnuts and pure unadulterated joy. Originating from Nanaimo, British Columbia these are tasty treats detrimental to ones waistline – but worth every extra minute you’ll be required to spend on the elliptical.

The first layer includes graham crackers, walnuts, coconut, melted butter, egg whites, brown sugar and bliss. Now, let me clarify one thing… these are no bake bars. a) that means they’re perfect for summer, although not your waistline. 2) the egg whites might make some people squirm since these aren’t baked bars. iii) I would suggest substituting meringue powder and water for the egg whites if you’re squiggy over the idea of consuming raw egg. Wilton makes a meringue powder that will do just fine.

The second layer of these heavenly delights is simple – butter, powdered sugar, custard powder, milk/heavy whipping cream and a touch of vanilla. Whip it into submission and you’re golden.

Last but not least is of course the chocolate ganache top layer. Is there anything better than ganache? I think not. Except maybe…nope. Not much else is better than ganache.

All in all these take about an hour to prepare, with the chilling times included. You can’t beat a no baked and decadent dessert all set for summer when you feel like nullifying your morning workout. NBD.

Ingredients For Nanaimo Bars

1st Layer:

  • Graham Crackers
  • Brown Sugar
  • Butter
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Egg Whites, or Pasteurized Egg White Substitute
  • Sweetened Flake Coconut
  • Chopped Walnuts

2nd Layer:

  • Powdered Sugar
  • Butter
  • Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Custard Powder
  • Vanilla Extract

3rd Layer:

  • Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • Butter


Inspired Homemade Recipes To Try

Chocolate Stout Maple Bars

Gooey Butterscotch Walnut Bars

Blueberry Orange Cheesecake Bars & Marital Not-So-Bliss

Nutella Pecan Pie Bars

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Nanaimo Bars stacked on a plate

Nanaimo Bars

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  • Author: Megan Keno
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 24 bars 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Canadian


A Canadian Classic dessert bar – Nanaimo bars are magical layered bars of chocolate, butter, coconut, walnuts and pure unadulterated joy.


Units Scale

1st Layer:

  • 2 cups crushed Graham Crackers
  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp. Cocoa Powder
  • 2 Egg Whites, or Pasteurized Egg White Substitute
  • 1 cup Sweetened Flake Coconut
  • 1/2 cup Chopped Walnuts

2nd Layer:

  • 2 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 4 Tbsp Butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2 Tbsp Custard Powder, Bird’s
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

3rd Layer:

  • 2/3 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 4 Tbsp Butter


First Layer:

  1. Line a 11″x7″ baking dish with parchment paper, using a piece of parchment paper about 16 inches long and 7 inches wide. Let the extra paper lay over the sides of the dish to create a mock-sling so the bars can be lifted out of the pan when ready to cut.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all 1st Layer ingredients, butter, brown sugar, cocoa powder, egg whites, graham crackers, coconut and walnuts, together stirring with a spoon until all are evenly mixed.
  3. Press firmly into the bottom of the lined baking dish. Place in the freezer for 20-30 minutes and begin preparing second layer ingredients.

Second Layer:

  1. In a large bowl with a whisk, or a stand mixer with a whisking attachment, beat together powdered sugar, butter, heavy cream, vanilla and custard powder until light colored and airy. It will remain fairly stiff, but spreadable.
  2. Remove bars from the freezer, spread the custard over the top of the first layer with an offset spatula. Spread out evenly and place bars back into the freezer until the third layer is ready to finish.

Third Layer:

  1. In a small sauce pan, fill with 1″ of water and bring to a simmer. Set a large heat safe bowl over the top of the pan adding the butter and chocolate to the bowl.
  2. Stir together until the butter and chocolate chips have just melted and mixed together. Remove from heat as soon as they have melted to ensure they don’t scorch.
  3. Promptly pour over chilled layer of custard. Smooth out with an offset spatula and place back into the fridge until the chocolate has set.

To Cut and Serve:

  1. Slide a sharp knife around the edge of the pan to ensure none of the custard or ganache has stuck to the sides of the baking dish.
  2. Grasp the two over hanging edges of the parchment paper and lift the bars out of the baking dish.
  3. Using a sharp knife cut the bars into 24 even squares. Serve immediately or chill. Can be refrigerated up to three days.


Substitute prepared pasteurized meringue powder and water for egg whites if desired, since these bars are not baked.

Make sure these bars remain refrigerated.

Adapted from Nordstrom Friends and Family Cookbook