Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Nanaimo Bars

I have been baking all kinds of Christmas treats.  But these squares have a special place in my heart.

I can bake all day and never taste a thing...but these squares....I cave.  Every time. 

They are irresistible.

They are very Canadian.

There is over a pound of butter in one pan.  OH. MY. GOODNESS.

My Grandma Helferty made these.  All the time.  She was known for her Nanaimo Bars.

She was killed tragically in a car accident on a cold January day....30 years ago.  I was 10 years old.  I remember when we were cleaning out her little apartment in town...just a few days after the funeral.  We found a very special package in her freezer.

Nanaimo Bars.

And all of us grandchildren had them eaten within a few minutes after finding them.

They were gone.  And I figured that that was probably the last time that I would ever have amazing 'Grandma Helferty' Nanaimo Bars.

But now I make them....and Johanna makes them too!  They are actually a 'no bake' square and they are quite easy!  Just a little time consuming.....as there are three layers.

Let me share the recipe with you!

Nanaimo Bars

1 cup of butter
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup cocoa
2 eggs, beaten
3 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 cups coconut
1 cup finely chopped almonds (toasted is better)

Line a 9 X13 pan with parchment paper....let it come up the sides so you will be able to lift the squares out when they are all set and ready to cut.

Over low heat, melt butter, sugar and cocoa.  Stir until smooth.  Stir in beaten egg.  Remove from heat.  Add crumbs, coconut and almonds.  Press into pan.  Chill 30 minutes.  Have a game of Old Maid or Crazy 8's or something.

Middle Layer:

1 cup butter
4 cups icing sugar
4 Tbsp. vanilla custard powder
6 Tbsp. milk

Mix with a mixer until smooth....I've never measured that milk....just pour in until you like the consistency.  Spread on the bottom layer.  Chill 30 minutes.  Shuffle those cards.  Time for another game.

Yes....I made two pans....

Top Layer:

1 cup chocolate chips
4 Tbsp. butter.

Melt in the microwave...about 50 seconds.  Stir.  Microwave longer if needed....get it melted but don't burn it!  Spread it on the middle layer.  Chill about 45 minutes.

Then score it....make the marks where you will cut the pieces.  You need to do this before the chocolate completely hardens....otherwise the chocolate will be hard to cut and you won't get a 'clean' cut.  It will all taste the same if you don't do this but it won't be as pretty.

Grandma Helferty didn't have almonds in her bottom layer....she had walnuts.  I think walnuts were the only nuts that they had in the old days.  I prefer the almonds.  I toast them the day before.  Just put the almonds on a cookie sheet and put them in an oven (350*F) for about 5 minutes.  Toasting them makes them so much better.




  1. I'm not a Nanaimo Bars fan, but they DO look DeLiCiOuS! Not a big fan of coconut.

    Can you buy vanilla custard powder?

    (Sorry that was me who deleted the comment when I realized I forgot to put my name in!)

  2. Hi Susy! I buy the custard powder at No Frills. ..it's called Bird's Custard Powder and you can find it in the baking aisle. Let me know if you make a pan of them!

  3. oooooo, I must make these next. I have a super duper fudge recipe on my page!

    1. That fudge recipe looks incredible! Thanks Karen!

  4. :) I might try it! James isn't big on shredded coconut either, but I seem to recall Grandma and Nanaimo Bars, also he likes these coconut macaroons that Rachel makes.

    I'll let you know if I get the gumption to make Grandma Helferty's Nanaimo Bars.

    1. Hahaha.....I gave Rachel that recipe for the macaroons!


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