12 Days of Christmas: Nanaimo Bars.

If you are Canadian, you already know what a Nanaimo bar is. If you’re not Canadian, you are seriously missing out. These bars have a fantastic, chunky and not-too-sweet base, a rich and smooth middle layer of custard-flavored buttercream, and a chocolate glaze. They’re also no-bake and a cinch to make.

I love this classic recipe, it’s a perfect kick-off for my 12 Days of Christmas Baking!

Recipe source.
Makes an 8×8 pan.

Base layer:
1/2 cup unsalted butter (will be melted)
1/4 cup sugar
5 tbsp. cocoa
1 egg, beaten
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 c. chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup shredded coconut

Middle layer:
1/2 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
2 Tbsp. and 2 Tsp. cream
2 Tbsp. vanilla custard powder (I just used instant vanilla pudding powder)
2 cups icing sugar

Chocolate Glaze:
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (or 1/2 cup. but you really should invest in a kitchen scale, they’re great.)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

To make:

1. The base layer. Mix together butter, sugar and cocoa in a pot over very low heat, and melt together. Add in the egg, and stir until cooked and mixture has thickened. (Don’t worry, if you keep stirring you won’t end up with scrambled eggs in chocolate.) Remove from heat, then mix in graham cracker crumbs, nuts and coconut. Press the mixture into an ungreased 8×8 pan, then refrigerate for an hour or so.
If you’re in a pinch, you can skip the refrigeration, but the icing layer will want to pick up loose crumbs.

2. The middle. Mmmmmmmmmmmm the middle … Cream together all ingredients until fluffy and smooth. Spread evenly over the cocoa-nutty mixture.

3. The glaze. Melt together the chocolate and butter over very low heat until totally smooth. Let cool for a minute, then spoon over the icing layer and smooth it with a spatula.
To get the glaze as smooth as possible, pick up the pan and shake it side to side. Shake it, but not like a polaroid picture, because then you’ll have chocolate all over the place. The glaze will settle into any cracks or nooks and look totally smooth and professional.



  1. Those look fabulous. I have to bake for a Christmas party this weekend, and this may be my inspiration. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. Nanaimo bars are great for holiday parties. 🙂
      My fudgy brownies with chopped up Reese cups are my most requested party treat, in case you need another idea! Haha.

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