Recipe For Nanaimo Bars

Just before Easter this year, there was chatter on the Native American Forum Thread about Nanaimo Bars.   Evidently they are frequently made into Easter eggs.  Many of us had never heard of this treat.  Clay Dancer of claydancerdesigns on Etsy provided us with this recipe. 

Clay Dancer says, “I found the recipe for Nanaimo Bars. This dessert is always a hit. Keep refrigerated. It says you can freeze it, but I have never been able to keep it around long enough to do so.

There are many versions of this popular recipe, but this is the official one from the Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce (adapted slightly to Canadian Living style). Canadian Living is a magazine.

Bottom Layer:
1/2 cup butter 125mL
1/4 cup granulated sugar 50L
1/3 cup unsweetened 75mL
cocoa powder
1 egg 1
1 cup desiccated 250mL
2 cups graham wafer 500mL
1/2 cup chopped walnuts 125mL

1/4 cup butter 50mL
2 tbsp (approx) milk 25mL
2 tbsp vanilla custard or 25mL
pudding powder
2 cups sifted icing sugar 500mL
1/2 tsp salt

Top Layer:
2 squares 2
chocolate or
2 oz (60 g)
2 squares 2
chocolate or
2 oz (60 g)
1 tbsp butter 15mL

Bottom Layer:

In saucepan over low heat,
melt butter; add sugar, cocoa, vanilla and
egg. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until
mixture thickens slightly, about 1 minute.
Remove from heat & stir in coconut, crumbs
& walnuts. Pat firmly into buttered 9-inch
(2.5L) square baking pan. Refrigerate for at
least 1 hour.


In medium bowl, cream butter; beat
in milk, custard powder; icing sugar & salt.
If too thick to spread, add another teaspoon
(5mL) of milk. Spread over first layer and
refrigerate until firm.

Top Layer:

In dish set over hot water or in
microwave using low power; melt chocolate
& butter. Spread over filling. Before chocolate
hardens completely, mark out squares.
Refrigerate or freeze. Makes about 24 squares.

There are a few things I do differently. I use pecans in everything I bake, instead of walnuts. Also, for the top layer, you can just melt semi-sweet chocolate chips and leave out the butter. A good cup should do it. If you are allergic or don’t like nuts, leave them out. The coconut can be sweetened, as unsweetened is hard to find, unless from a health food store. I usually double the recipe for a 13×9 pan.

I really hope you make this recipe. It is divine.

For Easter Eggs
I have made this into Easter eggs. You just form by hand the bottom layer. Refrigerate. Then spatula the second layer around it. Refrigerate. Then, lastly, dip very quickly into melted chocolate and place on cookie sheet and refrigerate. Voila

Clay Dancer not only makes Nanaimo Bars but designs and makes beautiful “clay” items.  Here is one example of her work:

Zodiac Platter
Clay Dancer has lived in Massachusetts for the last 23 years.   She  was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She and her  husband Paul,  have raised four children.

Clay Dancer has a Masters degree in Counseling and has worked with those who suffer from addiction and abuse.  Clay Dancer says,  “The delicate art of counseling is like a dance between the client and the counselor. Clay, itself, can be a difficult client, but I am learning to be patient and listen. This art form has taught me how to slow down. I am a member of the Arts League of Lowell and have participated in exhibiting my 3D artwork in Lowell gallery shows.    I know that I take tremendous pleasure in creating art that moves and dances with the energy that surrounds it. This rhythm is continuous, never ending. It tells the tale of birth, growth and changing form. It’s the stuff of life.”

Kicking Bear has named Clay Dancer “danalasgisgv gvdodi gadaquali”  Tsalagi for Dances with Clay. 


To see more of Clay Dancer’s work, visit her site at: