Happy Canada Day, Eh! Nanaimo Bars

nanaimo_bars_7_mfbCanada is a wonderful country full of friendly people, amazing mountains, crystal clear rivers and lakes, expansive prairies, exciting urban cities, and sleepy small towns.  It is beautiful in its diversity and it is my home and native land.

A few fun facts about Canada.

– Canadians consume more macaroni and cheese than any other nation in the world.  (If my family is any indicator, then this must be true!)
– Yonge street in Ontario is the longest street in the world, measuring 1178 miles or 1896 kilometers.  (The number of bus stops on this street is somewhere in the billions, I think.)
– Canada has 6 time zones.
– The border between Canada and the United States is the longest border in the world.
– Northern Canada is called “The Land Of The Midnight Sun” where from May to August, you can experience 24 hours of daylight.  You will need a sleeping mask or black out curtains to get any rest.
– A black bear cub from Canada named Winnipeg (or “Winnie,” for short) was one of the most popular attractions at the London Zoo after it was donated to the zoo in 1915. Winnie became a favorite of Christopher Robin Milne and inspired the stories written by his father, A.A. Milne, about Winnie-the-Pooh.
– Canada is home to about 15,000 polar bears.

Google Images

Google Images

– Some of the craziest city and town names in Canada include: Climax, Conception Bay, Snowflake, Moonbeam, Likely, Pooh Lake, Ripples, Paradise, Punkeydoodles Corners, Eyebrow, Elbow, Dildo, Happy Adventure, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Love, Snafu Creek, Garden of Eden and Brilliant!
– A Canadian invented basketball.  Other Canadian inventions include insulin, electric stoves, peanut butter, IMAX, telephones, wheelchairs, Trivial Pursuit, and WonderBra. Just to name a few.
– Famous Canadian funny people include John Candy, Howie Mandel, Jim Carrey, Martin Short, Dan Akroyd, Catherine O’Hara, Andrea Martin, Mike Myers, Sandra Oh, Nia Vardolos, Michael J Fox, Tommy Chong, and Eugene Levy.
– The Canadian province of Quebec produces 75% of the world’s maple syrup. It takes about 50 liters (13 US gallons) of sap to make 1 liter (1/4 gallon) of maple syrup.
– We say “eh”, apparently, a lot. However, we don’t even hear it.
– Poutine! (Need I say more?)

No matter which part of this beautiful country you live in, take pride in knowing that you live in a wonderful, exciting, diverse country with many fine qualities and characteristics, and one that I am proud to call home.

nanaimo_bars_4_mfbNanaimo bars originated in Nanaimo, British Columbia. Mabel Jenkins, a local housewife from Cowichan Bay, submitted the recipe to the annual Ladysmith and Cowichan Women’s Institute Cookbook. This cookbook was sold in the early 1950s in the region as a fundraiser. It became popular in many of the province’s households and was sold in many of the coffee shops on Nanaimo’s Commercial Street.


Nanaimo Bars

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 9"x9"pan - approx 16 squares

This delicious bar is a staple on every Canadian table for holidays, showers, and parties. Double the recipe for a 9"x 13" pan.


    For The Base Layer
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1-3/4 cups graham wafer crumbs
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut, fine or medium
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped (optional)
  • For The Middle Layer
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla custard powder (I used Birds Custard Powder)
  • 2 cups icing (powdered/confectioners) sugar
  • For The Chocolate Layer
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons butter


For The Bottom Layer

In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt together butter, sugar, and cocoa powder. Whisk in beaten egg and stir until egg is cooked and mixture has slightly thickened. Remove from the heat. Add graham crumbs, coconut, and walnuts. Mix until well combined. Press firmly into a parchment lined 9″x9″ baking dish.

For The Middle Layer

Using a mixer, cream together butter, milk, custard powder, and icing sugar until smooth and creamy. Spread in an even layer over the base and refrigerate.

For The Chocolate Layer

Add chocolate chips and butter to a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir. Microwave for an additional 15 seconds. Stir well. Pour over custard layer and smooth to edges. Chill in refrigerator.


To cut into clean squares, run a knife under hot water until heated. Quickly dry the knife and slice through the bars while the knife is still hot. Repeat for each cut.


Original Recipe from Cowichan Women’s Institute Cookbook/ Mabel Jenkins


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  1. Julie says:

    I first tasted these yummy treats last summer when I visited Vancouver Island. I’m not a baker and I live on the east coast. I would LOVE to find an online source that can ship them! The original recipe is preferred.

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