Award Winning Baking & Dessert Video Recipes

breakfast & brunch bars & squares cupcake recipes shortbread recipes bread recipes youtube channel
about us
substitutions
ingredients
glossary
conversions
weight vs volume
ice cream recipes
strawberry recipes
blueberry recipes
healthy baking
candy recipes
apple recipes
pumpkin recipes
cranberry recipes
chocolate recipes
biscotti recipes
pudding recipes
comfort foods
english tea party
lemon recipes
trifle recipes
halloween baking
thanksgiving baking
christmas cookies
christmas baking
christmas candy
valentine's baking
easter baking
baking history
bibliography

 

Join Our New  Recipes & Videos Email List

 

4 Time Winner

Nanaimo Bars Recipe & Video

Printer Friendly Page

Pin It

Nanaimo Bars (N.B.s for short) are one of Canada's favorite confections. The beautiful City of Nanaimo, British Columbia has claimed these squares as their own, telling us on their website that it all began when a Nanaimo housewife entered a recipe for chocolate squares in a magazine contest some 35 years ago. She called her recipe 'Nanaimo Bars' and when she won the contest, not only did her dessert become popular throughout Canada, so did the town they were named after. These no-bake, three layered bars are famous for a reason, they are delicious. They start with a crumb base, followed by a layer of light custard buttercream, and the crowning glory is a smooth and glossy layer of semi sweet chocolate.    

 

There are many different recipes for these squares. In fact, when the City of Nanaimo ran a contest back in 1986 to find the 'ultimate' Nanaimo Bar, there were about 100 recipes submitted. All Nanaimo Bars begin with a base layer, a wonderful combination of unsweetened cocoa powder (regular or Dutch-processed), chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans), dried coconut (sweetened or unsweetened) and graham cracker crumbs (or crushed Digestive Biscuits) held together with melted butter. Once this mixture is pressed into a square pan and chilled it is then covered with a rich layer of buttercream made of butter, confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, custard powder (or vanilla pudding powder), and a little milk. An important part of this buttercream is the dried custard powder, which was the invention of an Englishman, named Alfred Bird. He invented this powder because his wife loved homemade custard but was allergic to eggs. Alan Davidson in his "The Oxford Companion to Food" tells us that this powder is not, in fact, a dried form of real custard but is just cornflour (cornstarch) and sugar that has been colored and flavored. When the dried custard powder is used in this buttercream it adds a nice flavor and color. Now, if you live in the States, custard powder is not readily available. I have found it in specialty food stores (Bird's Custard Powder is the most popular brand) or online, but if you are unable to find it, just substitute it with an equal amount of instant vanilla pudding.  

The finishing touch to these squares is a coating of shiny semisweet or bittersweet chocolate that provides a slight crunch as you bite into them. For this recipe, because chocolate is one of the more dominant flavors, make sure to use a good quality chocolate that you enjoy eating out-of-hand. When choosing a chocolate, always look for one that has a lovely shiny finish (a sign that the chocolate was cooked at the right temperature for the right amount of time) and one that has that wonderful 'snap' when you break it into pieces. Once the melted chocolate is poured over the buttercream layer and has been left to set, cut the squares with a sharp knife that has been dipped in hot water and then wiped off.  

Related Recipes You May Like

Chocolate Mint Squares

Lemon Bars

Brownies, Cream Cheese

Brownies, Chocolate

Millionaire's Shortbread Bars

Chocolate Peanut Squares

Nanaimo Bars: Butter or spray a 9 x 9 inch (23 x 23 cm) pan with a non stick vegetable spray.

Bottom Layer: 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 onto the bottom of the prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (about an hour).

Middle Layer: In your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add the remaining ingredients 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. Then, in a heatproof bowl, over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter. 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.

Yield: Makes about 25 squares. Preparation time 45 minutes.

View comments on this recipe on YouTube

References:

Deseine, Trish, 'I Want Chocolate'. San Diego: Laurel Glen, 2002.

Mendelson, Susan & Cruz, Joey, 'The Lazy Gourmet'. Vancouver/Toronto: Whitecap Books, 2000.

Rosbottom, Betty. 'Betty Rosbottom's Cooking School Cookbook', New York: Workman Publishing, 1987.

Wine, Cynthia. 'Across the Table: An Indulgent Look at Food in Canada'.  Scarborough: Prentice-Hall Canada Inc., 1985.

http://www.nanaimo.ca

Bottom Layer:

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar

1/3 cup (30 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (regular or Dutch-processed)

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups (200 grams) graham cracker crumbs or crushed Digestive Biscuits

1 cup (65 grams) sweetened or unsweetened coconut (shredded or flaked)

1/2 cup (50 grams) walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped

Middle Layer:

1/4 cup (56 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

2 - 3 tablespoons milk or cream

2 tablespoons (20 grams) vanilla custard powder (Bird's) or vanilla pudding powder

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups (230 grams) powdered sugar (confectioners or icing)  sugar

Top Layer:

4 ounces (120 grams) semisweet chocolate

1 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter

 
 
 
     
 

 

 

New Videos

   
 

     

Top 40 Video Recipes of 2014

1. Vanilla Cake

2. Cake Pops

3. Red Velvet Cake

4. Simple Chocolate Cake

5. Red Velvet Cupcakes

6. Pancakes

7. Brownies

8. American Sponge Cake

9. Peanut Butter Balls

10. Pound Cake

11. Cake Doughnuts

12.Banana Chocolate Cupcakes

13. French Macarons 14. Carrot Cake 15. Vanilla Cupcakes
16. Royal Icing 17. New York Cheesecake 18. Chocolate Chiffon Cake 19. Orange Chiffon Cake 20. CrĂªpes
21. Caramels 22. Black Forest Cake 23. Shortbread Cookies 24. Cinnamon Rolls 25. Lemon Curd
26. Chocolate Chip Cookies 27. Chocolate Cupcakes 28. Peanut Butter Cups 29. Homemade Doughnuts 30. Spritz Cookies 
31. Cream Puffs 32. Apple Pie 33. Biscuits 34. Whipped Cream Frosting 35. No Bake Cheesecake
36. Cream Cheese Pound Cake 37. Chocolate Eclairs 38. Chocolate Banana Cake 39. Sugar Cookies 40. Fruit Tart
   
 
   
 

Contact Us   Privacy Policy Joyofbaking On Twitter Stephanie Jaworski+Find us on Google+

Use of materials on all pages on the domains Joyofbaking.com, joyofbaking.mobi, the Joyofbaking.com Facebook Page, @joyofbaking on Twitter, the Joyofbaking.com RSS Feed, the Joyofbaking.com email list the Joyofbaking1 YouTube Channel and any emails sent from @joyofbaking.com are entirely at the risk of the user and their owner, iFood Media LLC will not be responsible for any damages directly or indirectly resulting from the use.

References cited may include a link to purchase the referenced book on Amazon.com. Joyofbaking.com receives a commission on any purchases resulting from these links.

This website and the contents are not endorsed or sponsored by the owner of the "Joy of Cooking" series of books or its publisher Simon & Schuster, Inc. and is not related to the  "Joy the Baker" books and website. Video icons by Asher.

Content in any form may not be copied or used without written permission of Stephanie Jaworski, Joyofbaking.com.  Students and non profit educators may use content without permission with proper credit. 

A baking resource on the Internet since 1997

Copyright  1997 to 2014 iFood Media LLC