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Nanaimo Bars

The Legendary Nanaimo Bar

Nanaimo Bars

This creamy, chocolatey treat's origin is elusive, shrouded in mystery, and claimed by many as their own. Of course, we know that Nanaimo Bars originated in Nanaimo, or they would be called New York Bars, or New Brunswick Bars.

If you're interested in the facts and fables of this slice of heaven, you can read all the conjecture on Wikipedia about Nanaimo Bars. If you actually own or know the whereabouts of a cookbook or other publication dating back to the early 50s or beyond, we would very much like to see it and put an end to all this confusion with documented proof.

In 1986, Nanaimo Mayor Graeme Roberts, in conjunction with Harbour Park Mall, initiated a contest to find the ultimate Nanaimo Bar Recipe. During the four-week long contest, almost 100 different variations of the famous confection were submitted. The winner: Joyce Hardcastle.

The Nanaimo Bar Trail

Tourism Nanaimo encourages you to take a sweet self-guided adventure through the streets of Nanaimo & Region! Stretching from Lantzville to Yellow Point, experience the many deliciously creative interpretations of our famous Nanaimo Bar. Stop by the Visitor Centre or any of the participating locations and pick up a Nanaimo Bar Trail Brochure so you can map out your route along the 39 stops. 

See the Nanaimo Bar Trail map and brochure (print version)

More information on the Nanaimo Bar Trail

Nanaimo Bar Recipe

Bottom Layer
½ cup unsalted butter (European style cultured)
¼ cup sugar
5 tbsp. cocoa
1 egg beaten
1 ¼ cups graham wafer crumbs
½ c. finely chopped almonds
1 cup coconut

Melt first 3 ingredients in top of double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, coconut, and nuts. Press firmly into an ungreased 8" x 8" pan.

Second Layer
½ cup unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. and 2 Tsp. cream
2 Tbsp. vanilla custard powder
2 cups icing sugar

Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light. Spread over bottom layer.

Third Layer
4 squares semi-sweet chocolate (1 oz. each)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

Melt chocolate and butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, but still liquid, pour over second layer and chill in refrigerator.


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