Christmas is this weekend! Whoa.

Have I told you that I work in a shopping mall? Well, I do.

While I’m going to school I work in a bookstore so that I can pay for college, but it’s more than that. I really like the people I work with, I like talking to customers about books AND I get a mad discount. So things are usually good.

Nanaimo Bars

During the holiday season going to work is not so fun. Customers can be angry, rude, and simply mean! If we don’t have a book they are looking for many of them freak out. Here is some stuff I hear on a daily basis:

Customer: “Five cents for a bag? I donate to enough charities and don’t need to donate to yours”.
My thoughts: I don’t care.

Customer: “Why the hell are you selling books at the Canadian price when the American dollar is at par”?
My thoughts: I don’t make the prices, the publishers do.

Customer: “I’m looking for a book. It’s blue”.
My thoughts: ?

Customer: “I ordered that book a week ago and now it won’t make it for Christmas? I need it NOW”.
My thoughts: Stop last minute shopping.

Nanaimo Bars

There are nice customers too. There always are, and of course they usually out number the crazy ones. But it’s the crazy ones that I remember because they’re so ridiculous! People just need to relax. Sit down, have a coffee, and breathe.

And you know? Have a Nanaimo bar.

Nanaimo Bars

I love these nanaimo bars and make them every year for Christmas gifts. They are a true Canadian classic with a chocolaty graham cracker crust, creamy custard filling and chocolate ganache. I hope you enjoy these as much as we do!

Nanaimo Bars

Yield: 16 squares


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • Middle Layer
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp custard powder
  • Chocolate layer
  • 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter


  1. Prepare an 8x8-inch pan by covering it with foil and greasing it with butter. Using a double broiler or the microwave, melt together the butter, brown sugar, and cocoa powder. Beat the egg, and quickly whisk it into the hot chocolate mixture to avoid scrambled eggs. Mix in the graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and walnuts. Press the crust into your prepared pan. Put the crust into the fridge to chill for at least half an hour.
  2. For the filling, cream together the powdered sugar, butter, and custard powder. Add the cream slowly, and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Spread the cream layer evenly over the crust and put back in the fridge for at least another half hour.
  3. After the custard has chilled, melt together the butter and chocolate (either a double boiler or microwave) and pour over the chilled cream layer. Put the pan back in the fridge for it to set up.
  4. Cut into small squares (since they are really rich) and keep in the fridge until ready to serve.


- Recipe adapted from Baked Bree

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42 Responses to Nanaimo Bars

  1. Allyssa says:

    Wow. I’ve never heard of nanaimo bars. They look absolutely amazing though!

  2. Merin says:

    I’m going to make this.Your step wise pictures is really useful.Thanks.

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

  3. Tracy says:

    People are definitely crazier around the holidays; I’m sorry you have to deal with that! These bars look lovely though and definitely a nice stress-reliever. 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!!

  4. Not good for my “sweet tooth” cravings that I am trying to squash today!

  5. Scott at Real Epicurean says:

    Oh my….I’m going to get so fat if I stick around this blog for long – stop putting ideas into my head about baking sweet things!

  6. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga says:

    Ive never made Nanaimo bars but every now and then Ill see these delish looking gems pop up on blogs…and it makes me wanna get busy in the kitchen.

    Yours are gorg!

  7. These look sooo good, definitely making me want some!

  8. These look wonderful I love the combination of graham cracker and walnuts. And bars are such a great dessert/treat because you can just take a nibble or create bite-sizes, but also grab a big hunk! 🙂

  9. Brandon says:

    I came to your blog after seeing your comment on the bog “Baked Bree,” and thought for SURE I saw this recipe there a few weeks ago… sure enough, I saw your credit to her blog!

    Your bars look great! I love the Baked Bree blog, it was my inspiration to begin my food blog,

  10. I can’t believe I’ve never made these. They look delicious! I saw someone do them in Christmas colors once!

  11. Lindsay says:

    I’ve always heard of these but never seen or tried them. Looks fantastic!

  12. These look so good and your pictures are beautiful! My family traditionally sticks to baking cookies around Christmas-time, I’d love to try these those! A little change is always nice!

  13. Sherry says:

    I make these same bars but add creme de menthe and green food color to the middle…. yum

  14. Wow – these are a new one for me and they look very delicious!

  15. Thu says:

    Goodness gracious, they look amazing! Thanks for sharing and happy holidays!

  16. semajrn says:

    What is custard powder and where can it be purchased?

  17. Deborah says:

    You have got to love people!! 🙂 I can only imagine how crazy retail is before the holidays. (and on a side note – working at a bookstore would be SO dangerous for me!!) I’ve always wanted to make namaimo bars, but haven’t yet. I need to change that asap.

  18. “I’m looking for a book. It’s blue.” That line made me laugh out loud. I don’t even like being around other customers this time of year, let alone dealing with them! Poor you.

  19. kyleen says:

    I loved this post! People do get really crazy sometimes…
    Nanaimo bars, I need to give these a try. They look so delicious!

  20. Nicola @ unhip squirrel says:

    I, like you, initially did not like nanaimo bars – too sweet, also I’m not big on chocolate. Then I had someone’s homemade nanaimo bars and it all changed. I’m totally on the nanaimo bar train now! Thanks for your recipe. Looks great!

  21. jenny @simmerandsteam says:

    these look freaking amazing! who wouldn’t want frosting inside of chocolate? amazing.

  22. JenMarie says:

    Lord have mercy, this looks good. I really can’t wait to try this. I will have to wait another couple of weeks, though as I’m trying to work off 5 holiday pounds. *pout* But it is getting printed out and stuck in my *to bake immediately* stack.

    BTW, I don’t have much sympathy for you. “If I’m stressed I want to run, if I’m not running, I’m baking”
    That’s like perfect. You can bake because you run! I’m jealous and wish that I enjoyed running. I totally don’t. At all….
    I exercise just enough to eat the things I love.

  23. these look GOOD! I’ve never tasted nanaimo bars before. but something tells me i would L-O-V-E them. You make the whole process and recipe look easy!

  24. oh and i’m COMPLETELY the same: “When I’m stressed I like to run. And when I’m not running I like to bake. It’s a vicious cycle.” I love running so much… all my baking cancels it out 🙂

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  29. Cassidy says:

    Hey Katrina,

    Its Cass 🙂

    My mother makes nanaimo bars all the time, well not all the time, but anyways, they are delicious! Your nanaimo bars look amazing, and yummy aha. Can’t wait to try out your recipe, since I actually haven’t had them in awhile, and its about time 🙂

    Also, how have you been!?

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