Nanaimo bars are usually a holiday confection but we love them so much that they make an appearance just about year round. They’re super easy to make and have decadent layers of chocolate and sweet cream, and a chocolate-graham-cracker-nut crust, so pretty much the best of everything! A Nanaimo bar is actually Canadian in origin but a treat like this has global appeal, and it’s super easy to make. You’re going to want to whip up a batch immediately!
A Nanaimo bar is made up of three delicious layers. The first is a cookie-like crust, made with graham crackers, cocoa powder, sugar, and butter. For added texture and flavor, you’ll also add coconut shavings and some chopped nuts. You can choose which nuts you prefer, but walnuts, pecans, or almonds all work well. These are melted together to make a crust that is pressed into the bottom of an 8×8-inch baking dish. The second layer is a creamy filling that is just the right amount of sweet. We’ve recommended white chocolate instant pudding but you can also use vanilla instant pudding. Some recipes call for a custard-like filling instead, but we like this shortcut method. Speaking of shortcuts, to speed up the whole process, you can freeze each layer as it’s prepped, cutting the time to prepare almost in half!
Finally, the third and top layer is made of melted chocolate, a kind of ganache, that is poured over top of the cream filling. All of this needs time to chill and set up in the refrigerator before it’s ready to be cut into adorable little squares. Plate them decoratively or store them in an airtight container for later – these are a great make-ahead dessert. Nanaimo bars just rich enough to make them a decadently sweet treat, and they’re perfect for a cookie-exchange, as a hostess gift, or as a dessert at a dinner party or potluck.
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