This decadent no-bake dessert originated in Canada and is named after the city of Nanaimo, British Columbia, on Vancouver Island. The chocolate ganache topping followed by creamy vanilla custard over a coconut, almond, graham cracker crust is truly three treats in one.

Nanaimo Bars
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Servings: 36
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup almonds, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 2 tbsp vanilla custard powder*
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp butter
  1. Bottom Layer:

  2. In a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat, melt butter with granulated sugar and cocoa

  3. Stir in egg and cook until thickened

  4. Remove pan from heat, stir in graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and almonds

  5. Press mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 9x9 in. pan

  6. Middle Layer:

  7. Using a mixer, beat butter, milk, custard powder, and powdered sugar until light and fluffy

  8. Spread over the bottom crumb layer

  9. Top Layer:

  10. In a small sauce pan, melt chocolate chips and butter over low heat

  11. Once melted, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly

  12. Once cooled but still liquid, spread over the creamy middle layer

  13. Refrigerate until the layers are set

  14. Using a sharp knife, cut into small squares

*Vanilla custard powder is a product of the United Kingdom and can be found at Cost Plus World Market stores or ordered on Amazon.  You may also make your own as suggested on the Art and the Kitchen blog by combining 1/4 cup instant dry milk powder and 1 tsp vanilla extract