My Father, My Great-Grandmother, and Nanaimo Bars

Posted by [email protected] on June 16, 2012 at 11:55 PM

Tomorrow is Father's Day and while I already posted about the best gift I can give my husband here, I thought I'd share my favorite gift to make for my Dad each holiday.

You see, tis the night before Father's Day, and I just wrapped up a batch of my Great-Grandmother's Nanaimo Bars.

What better thing could I give my Dad than a sweet, familiar recipe he enjoyed growing up?  The two most common treats I make for him are his Grandmother's Graham Cracker Squares, and these Nanaimo Bars.  

Nanaimo Bars:

Bottom Layer:


1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature 

1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar

1/3 cup (30 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (regular or Dutch-processed)

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 

2 cups (200 grams) graham cracker crumbs or crushed Digestive Biscuits 

1 cup (65 grams) sweetened or unsweetened coconut (shredded or flaked) 

1/2 cup (50 grams) walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped

Middle Layer:


1/4 cup (56 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

2 - 3 tablespoons milk or cream

2 tablespoons (20 grams) vanilla custard powder (Bird's) or vanilla pudding powder

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups (230 grams) powdered sugar (confectioners or icing) sugar


Top Layer:


8 ounces (120 grams) semisweet chocolate

2 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter

1 tsp. milk


Butter or spray a 9 x 9 inch (23 x 23 cm) pan with a non stick vegetable spray.


Bottom Layer: In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar and cocoa powder and then gradually whisk in the beaten egg. Return the saucepan to low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens (1 - 2 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract, graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and chopped nuts. Press the mixture evenly onto the bottom of the prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (about an hour).


Middle Layer: In your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until the mixture is smooth. If the mixture is too thick to spread, add a little more milk. Spread the filling over the bottom layer, cover, and refrigerate until firm (about 30 minutes).


Top Layer: Chop the chocolate into small pieces. Then, in a heatproof bowl, over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter. Spread the melted chocolate evenly over the filling and refrigerate for about 10 minutes or just until the chocolate has set. Using a sharp knife, cut into squares.


Yield: Makes about 25 squares.

Preparation time 45 minutes.

Happy Father's Day, Dad!

Categories: Favorite Recipes and Holiday Crafts and Decorating

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