Nanaimo Bars {Secret Recipe Club Holiday Treats}

Nanaimo Bars - Amazingly Delicious No Bake Cookies from Canada

When I was going to graduate school in Seattle we used to drive up to Whistler, BC often to go skiing.  Back then it was amazing and beautiful (just like it is now) but also still a little “undiscovered”.  There weren’t nearly the crowds of people which made it perfect.  One of the things I always bought when I was there were Nanaimo Bars.  They were the perfect treat and one I couldn’t find anywhere around Seattle.  

The Nanaimo Bar is named after the west coast city of Nanaimo, British Columbia. It consists of a wafer crumb-based layer topped by a layer of custard flavored butter icing and then a layer of melted chocolate.  Sound delicious?  Well, it is!  

The Secret Recipe Club is doing a special reveal day today focused around Holiday Treats.  Holiday Treats?  Yes, please.  I’m all about baking most days but around the holidays it’s a must for me.  I’m not sure if it’s the smells in my house or giving plates of baked goodies to friends but I love it.  

My blog assignment for this reveal day was Sid’s Sea Palm Cooking.   Sid has all sorts of amazing recipes on her blog from Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts (yum!) to Fish and Chips (another yum!)

When I saw her recipe for Nanaimo Bars, I knew that was the holiday treat I was going to make.  It was a no brainer.  I’ve made these in years past but not for quite awhile.  And, believe it or not, when I was telling my friends about Nanaimo Bars, they had never heard of them.  Gasp!  I needed to fix that ASAP.

Nanaimo Bars consist of three layers.  The bottom layer is a chocolate, coconut, pecan cookie layer that is delicious!

Nanaimo Bars - Amazingly Delicious No Bake Cookies from Canada

Then there’s a layer of…. it’s like a custard and buttercream frosting mix.  (Marriage made in heaven!)

Nanaimo Bars - Amazingly Delicious No Bake Cookies from Canada

And topped with a dark chocolate layer.  I have to say that I am not a dark chocolate person and everything I make normally has milk chocolate in it.  But these bars are rich (not that that’s a bad thing!) but I thought that milk chocolate would make them too sweet.  So I stayed with the dark chocolate.  Excellent choice.

Nanaimo Bars - Amazingly Delicious No Bake Cookies from Canada

Nanaimo Bars - Amazingly Delicious No Bake Cookies from Canada

Let them cool and then cut into squares.

Nanaimo Bars - Amazingly Delicious No Bake Cookies from Canada

My co-workers loved them!  Definitely a recipe that you should make and add to your Christmas cookie platter. 

Nanaimo Bars - Amazingly Delicious No Bake Cookies from Canada

Nanaimo Bars


    For the Cookie Layer
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 5 Tbsp. Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups Graham Cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup Coconut (sweetened)
  • 1/2 cup chopped Walnuts
  • For the Filling
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 Tbsp. milk
  • 2 Tbsp. Vanilla Custard powder (you can use vanilla pudding mix).
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • For the Chocolate Layer
  • 4 squares Bakers Semi-Sweet Baking chocolate
  • 1 Tbsp. butter


    For the Cookie Layer
  1. Melt first 3 ingredients in top of double boiler. Add egg and vanilla and stir to cook and thicken (Roughly 3 minutes). Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, coconut, and nuts. Press firmly into an ungreased 9 x 9 pan. (Use an 8 x 8 pan if you want a thicker cookie.)
  2. For the Filling Layer
  3. Cream butter, milk, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light. Spread over bottom layer.
  4. For the Chocolate Layer
  5. Melt chocolate and butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, but still liquid, pour over second layer and chill in refrigerator.
  6. Enjoy!

Nanaimo Bars - Amazingly Delicious No Bake Cookies from Canada

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  1. Though I’ve heard of these for years, I have never tried one! Shame on me! I’ll have to change that SOON!! 😀 These look fantastic, Erin! Nice choice!! Have a wonderful holiday! 🙂

  2. Great pick, I love Nanaimo Bars and it’s been a long time since I made some, thanks for the kind words as well. Like you said, it’s fun introducing them to people, especially when they keep going back for one more taste.

  3. Those look so so gorgeous! 🙂 Happy reveal day.

  4. Oh wow, what a choice. I’ve never heard of these – thanks for the introduction x

  5. I have never had these, don’t even know how to pronounce them, but I simply must make these soon. Yum!

  6. I’ve heard of these bars but have never made them. They look amazing and so simple to make. Adding them to my list!

  7. Oh, yum. I love Nanaimo bars! My mom always made them for Christmas, tinting the filling green and adding a few drops of peppermint. They’re good like that too 🙂

  8. Erin, these look amazing. I just might be drooling a little just looking at these pictures. I’m going to try these soon.

  9. Oh my goodness. I have never heard of these but oh….they look so absolutely delicious…they are definitely getting made this holiday season.

  10. Oh my! These are a must make on my list! LOVE!

  11. Beautiful layers!

  12. So pretty! Love the layers. I have heard of Nanaimo bars but haven’t made them yet. Definitely need to try soon!

  13. Those do sound amazing! So glad you found them on your assigned blog, how could you not have made them!?