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Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Nanaimo Bar Links

Blonde Nanaimo bar from Happy Donuts, Anacortes
Nanaimo bars are, simply put, heaven on a plate: rich little nuggets consisting of three layers of awesomeness: a thick, cocoa and coconut crust anchors a dense slab of custardy buttercream, all topped off with a substantial shellac of soft but firm chocolate. They're a specialty from the city of Nanaimo, but can be found in bakeries in the BC environs as well.

But did you know that there are some very delicious variations on the classic? Here is an assemblage of sweet variations of (and in some cases, embellishments upon) the delicious Nanaimo Bar:

Nanaimo Bar Cheesecake: so rich you will probably die, but at least you will die happy.

Raw Nanaimo Bars: you won't burn down the house for these babies.

Peanut Butter Nanaimo Bars: the creamy, rich peanut butter adds a subtle savoriness to the bars.

Nanaimo Bar Ice Cream Cake: two beautiful things just got more beautiful.

Cappuccino Nanaimo Bars: Coffee adds a nice flavor dimension to this sweet variation.

Cherry Nanaimo Bars: Rich, but with some natural sweetness too.

Peppermint nanaimo bars: this is what Thin Mints want to be when they grow up.

White chocolate and pecan Nanaimo Bars: White chocolate lovers can't miss this sweet variation.

Vegan Nanaimo bars: Because it's not always all about the dairy.

Nanaimo bar mix: If you don't want to make your own, I won't tell.

Chocolate nanaimo bar pie: Once again, two awesome things get awesomer.

Gluten free nanaimo bar: Free of gluten, but not free of delicious.

Bonus: If you're in NYC, Dirt Candy is serving up several variations on the Nanaimo bar!

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Reader Comments (18)

psst... Nanaimo's not an island. It's a city on Vancouver Island :)

September 13 | Unregistered CommenterKatrina

I've never had one, but I'll take a baker's dozen ftw!

September 13 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

Thanks so much for sharing! My mom reminisces about eating them when she lived in Canada.. I try to make them for her birthday and she'll be thrilled to try a new variation.

September 13 | Unregistered CommenterArielle

wow i can t choose which one is best :)

September 13 | Unregistered CommenterSnooky doodle

Never had one but I'm now craving one to the point of Pricelining tickets to Canada.

September 13 | Unregistered Commenteremma wallace

Mini me, my daughter, met Tess when she was 4 years old. Her family is from Canada and they have been bring us nanaimo bars (but never the recipe) every Christmas for the past 13 years. Now we can make some too.

September 13 | Unregistered CommenterMimi

And can be found locally around the Seattle area at Nordstrom Espresso Bar... Fred Meyer Bakery, Top Foods bakery and sometimes Ballinger Thriftway.

(Subject to that day's bakery delivery at Nordstrom I suspect... sometimes they have up to 3 varieties...)

September 14 | Unregistered CommenterJ

yahoo!!! i grew up on my mom's nanaimo bars... they are still one of my fave desserts...

go canada!!

September 14 | Unregistered Commenterlyndsay

This is the recipe my mom rocks, and many Canadian moms in the 1980s rocked:


This recipe is older than we are!! A.K.A. "George" - from Best of Bridge - pg.198.

First Layer:
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1 egg, beaten
2 cups graham wafer crumbs
1 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Second layer:
2 cups icing sugar (confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup cream or milk
2 Tbsp. custard powder

Third Layer:
3 - 1 oz. (3-30 g) chocolate squares
(sweet or semisweet)
1/4 cup butter

To make first layer:
Combine ingredients and pat into a 9" square ungreased pan. Chill for 1/2 hour.
To make second layer: Beat all ingredients until smooth and fluffy. Spread carefully on top of first layer.

To make third layer:
Melt chocolate and butter together. Spread over second layer and chill. Cut into small bars. Very Rich and Very Delicious!

September 14 | Unregistered Commenterlyndsay

I've visited Nanaimo and eaten many bars straight from the source. They are unbelievably rich, but really delicious. Great idea of some variations, the peppermint ones seem right up my alley.

There was an older man in my bookgroup who made Killer Nanaimo bars for all special occasions (The mystery book group meets every week, and has been for over 25 years) Sadly he passed away.. and the recipe that he refused to share with the group passed with him. I'm always trying new recipes trying to capture his.. and finding some great ones along the way. Great post.

September 14 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Rudolph

Oh god, I love these. I made them a few years back from, I want to say, the Magnolia Cookbook. Look incredible.

September 14 | Unregistered CommenterMegan Gordon

I have heard these are delicious!

September 15 | Unregistered CommenterNutmeg Nanny

OMG - these all sound heavenly.

September 15 | Unregistered CommenterCakelaw

Oooh...I've never heard of these but they sound amazing, must check out the Dirt Candy ones ASAP.

September 16 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

I cant describe the delight I get when you post all about a sweet treat I have never heard of! I love love love learning about them!
I like the look of these Nanaimo Bars, I really want to try baking some!!

September 16 | Unregistered Commenterapparentlyjessy

i think i have to stop by dirt candy now

September 16 | Unregistered CommenterJustin

How cool! Nanaimo Bars are soooo dangerously addictive :) Thanks for including me in the roundup ♥

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