Recipes

Double Layer Nanaimo Bars

Is anything more classic for the holidays than Double Layer Nanaimo Bars? Nanaimo Bars are named after the City of Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Nanaimo Bars are a no-bake dessert consisting of three layers: a wafer, coconut and nut crumb-base, a butter icing filling, with a layer of chocolate on top.

Double Layer Nanaimo Bars

I lived in Nanaimo for one year while attending college several years ago, and I heard you can take a sweet self-guided adventure through the streets of Nanaimo & Region to experience variations of this famous treat!

This recipe for Double Layer Nanaimo Bars is so easy to make, and Nanaimo Bars are always on my “Mom, please make them for Christmas” list.

Nanaimo Bars are a classic Canadian holiday dessert, and they are one of my favourite make-ahead holiday desserts because the recipe can easily be doubled. They also freeze very well.

This is my mom’s recipe, and it does not include custard powder in the filling, but you can add 2 tablespoons of vanilla custard powder if you like.

Nanaimo Bars freeze well

How to Make Double Layer Nanaimo Bars

  1. In saucepan, combine butter, sugar, cocoa, egg and vanilla. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until smooth and slightly thickened. Blend in wafer crumbs, coconut and nuts. Press into greased 9 inch square pan.
  2. Cream 1/4 cup butter, gradually adding half the icing sugar, the egg, then remaining icing sugar. Spread over cocoa mixture. Chill until firm.
  3. Combine 1/4 cup cocoa and 1 1/4 cups icing sugar in small bowl. Place butter and water in small pan over low heat until butter is melted, then pour over cocoa mixture and blend thoroughly. Pour this mixture over the ingredients in the square pan. Chill and cut into squares.
  4. For double layers, divide the bottom mixture and the filling in half and repeat layers before adding the top layer of chocolate.

I switched it up this time, and instead of making three layers I double layered the bottom and the filling. I also doubled the ingredients for the top layer for a thicker chocolate top.

Double the top layer ingredients for a thick layer of chocolate on top!

The traditional Nanaimo Bar recipe is perfect, but you can try using different nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans) in the bottom layer or flavour the filling with peanut butter, raspberry, coffee, chocolate or Irish Cream.

Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Double Layer Nanaimo Bars

This classic Canadian holiday dessert is a no-bake dessert consisting of three layers: a wafer, coconut and nut crumb-base, a butter icing filling with a layer of chocolate on top.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Dessert
Keyword: Double Layer Nanaimo Bars, Nanaimo Bars

Ingredients

Bottom Layer

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 5 tbsp cocoa
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 2/3 cups graham wafer crumbs
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)

Filling

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 cups sifted icing sugar
  • 1 egg

Top Layer

  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 1/4 cup icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 tbsp water

Instructions

  • In saucepan, combine butter, sugar, cocoa, egg and vanilla. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until smooth and slightly thickened. Blend in wafer crumbs, coconut and nuts. Press into greased 9 inch square pan.
  • Cream 1/4 cup butter, gradually adding half the icing sugar, the egg, then remaining icing sugar. Spread over cocoa mixture. Chill until firm.
  • Combine 1/4 cup cocoa and 1 1/4 cups icing sugar in small bowl. Place butter and water in small pan over low heat until butter is melted, then pour over cocoa mixture and blend thoroughly. Pour this mixture over the ingredients in the square pan. Chill and cut into squares.
  • For double layers, divide the bottom mixture and the filling in half and repeat layers before adding the top layer of chocolate.

5 thoughts on “Double Layer Nanaimo Bars

  1. Originally being from Canada, this is such a taste of home for me! I will have to try your recipe since I have not made these bars in years. They were always such a favorite. Thanks for reminding me about them.

  2. 5 stars
    These look super yummy! And the no-bake part makes it easy too! We would love to have you come link-up at Tuesday Turn About. We go live at 5pm CST on Tuesdays (obviously!). Hope to see you there!

  3. 5 stars
    I’ve tasted Linda’s Nanaimo Bars and they are indeed amazing. I was afraid to look at the recipe but finally just couldn’t resist. As predicted, I’ll now be making some and hope I’ll be able to resist eating the whole pan.

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