These bars have quite the history. Not only how they have become to be Nanaimo bars, but also what they’ve meant to me. The name ‘Nanaimo Bars’ is said to have come from a woman who lived on Vancouver Island, in Nanaimo who entered them into a baking contest, instead of naming the bars after herself she named them after the city of Nanaimo. There have been other claims to the bar name, a more familiar one known as ‘The new york slice,’ but true Nanaimo bar lovers have come to love them by this name.
My mom’s mom, my grandma was the nanaimo bar queen. She made them for my mom and her 4 other sisters and 1 brother when they were growing up, and then it became a favorite of all her grandchildren as well. Ie. me. My mom said that my grandpa would say they were ‘just glorified chocolate bars,’ but that definitely didn’t stop him from eating them. Everytime we got together for a family reunion, picnic or barbeque, nanaimo bars were always there.
I got this recipe from my aunt, who got it from my other aunt who got it from their mom. Since my grandma’s no longer with us, my aunt has carried on the traditional family favorite, which my mom says tastes just like grandmas. So, I thought I would try for the first time to make them!
This treat doesn’t require any baking, and is delicious! Give it a try for the holidays.
Grandma’s Nanaimo Bars
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 5 tablespoons cocoa
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 1/4 cup graham wafer crumbs
- 1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
- 1 cup coconutSecond layer:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons cream + 2 tsp.
- 2 tablespoons vanilla custard powder (or vanilla pudding powder)
- 2 cups icing sugar
- 4 squares semi-sweet chocolate
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
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.
Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light. Spread over bottom layer.
Melt chocolate and butter overlow heat. Cool. Once cool, but still liquid, pour over second layer and chill in refrigerator.
Let sit for a couple hours to harden, then run a knife under hot water before slicing. These can be frozen easily, but their pretty good frozen too!