the earliest confirmed printed copy of the recipe "Nanaimo Bars" appears in a publication entitled His/Hers Favorite Recipes, Compiled by the Women's Association of the Brechin United Church, with the recipe submitted by Joy Wilgress (p.52); this publication is not dated, but is circa 1950s.
Extended Family: If you think the Nanaimo bar resembles some other sweets (at least physically), you're right. Starting with a list of related confections on Barry Popik's site, we hunted down some sweets that resemble the Nanaimo bar (if not in taste, at least in construction) and sought out a few of our own. Aside from the "London Smog" bar though, few of them seem to be derived from the actual Nanaimo bar recipe, though they are delicious.
OFFICIAL NANAIMO BAR RECIPE
- 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.
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 2 Tbsp. and 2 Tsp. cream
- 2 Tbsp. vanilla custard powder (Cake Gumshoe Kate adds that if you don't have or can't find custard powder, instant vanilla pudding works in a pinch)
- 2 cups icing sugar
- Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light. Spread over bottom 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.