These bars are a definite treat! They have a crumbly chocolate and coconut bottom, custard center and a dark chocolate top.
From the people I’ve talked to about Nanaimo bars, they’ve either heard about them and love them or have never heard about them at all! So I decided I would give them a shot, and find out more about their history!
Nanaimo Bars are named after Nanaimo, British Columbia. Lenore Newman, in her paper, “Notes From the Nanaimo Bar Trail” speaks on the inception of this dessert, “it is one of the best known recipes that can truly be said to be Canadian” (11). But the origin of this bar isn’t well understood, “The first known recipe was included in the 1952 Women's Auxiliary to the Nanaimo Hospital Cookbook, which has three nearly identical recipes for the dessert that differ only slightly from the modern version” (Newman 11). It wasn’t until 1953 that the name Nanaimo Bar can be found in publication, “the first known printed use of the term Nanaimo bar remains the one identified in the Vancouver Sun. On April 11, 1953, the recipe appears in the Vancouver Sun as the London Fog Bar...Edith Adams notes that they are also called Nanaimo bars” (Newman 13). This article points out that during the 1950’s this sweet treat could also be seen as a status symbol since they are high in sugar and brand name products like Graham crackers (14).
So, if you have the time and are in need of a very decadent dessert try out these Nanaimo bars today! Recipe adapted from The Endless Meal blog.
½ cup butter
5 Tbsp cocoa powder
¼ cup sugar
1 ¾ cup graham cracker crumbs
¾ cup coconut
¼ cup chopped almonds
3 cups powdered sugar
¾ cup butter
¼ cup milk
¼ cup cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
8 oz dark chocolate chopped, I used 70% cacoa
¼ cup butter
1. Line a 9x9 inch pan with parchment paper.
2. Melt butter for the base in a pot on the stove. Add the cocoa powder and sugar. Take off the heat and add the egg stirring constantly. Stir in the graham crackers, coconut, and almonds.
3. Press this in an even layer into your pan.
4. In a stand mixer or hand mixer bowl, add all the custard ingredients and mix until smooth. Pour over the base and smooth. Refrigerate for at least 20 min.
5. Melt the butter and chocolate over medium-low heat for the top layer. Pour over the custard and smooth. Refrigerate for 20 min, slice and continue to refrigerate. Enjoy!
Newman, Lenore Lauri. “Notes from the Nanaimo Bar Trail.” Canadian Food Studies / La Revue Canadienne Des Études Sur L'alimentation, vol. 1, no. 1, 2014, p. 10.