Having lived in Nanaimo for a good portion of my life, I feel I’m a pretty good judge of what Nanaimo Bars should taste like. After going gluten free, I was determined to find a decent substitute. I’ve had a few from local bakeries; they tend to make the base more “cake-like”, using rice flour or similar. The original recipe uses graham crackers.
When I started this blog, I swore to myself I would keep it free of those ingredients that require you to organize a full on hunt of all your local health food stores and back alley importers. I’m going to break my own rule this time by posting this recipe using Kinnikinnick Graham-Style crumbs; but if you’re not familiar with this product, or a similar one, they can be found online, and deliver to your door (US & Canada). The website also lists stores selling their products worldwide.
Anyway. On with the show!
Traditional Nanaimo bars are made up of three layers: the base, the middle, and the icing on top. Each layer is prepared in succession, and no baking is required!
1/2 cup butter or butter substitute, softened
5 tbs cocoa
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I use pecans)
5 tbs white sugar
2 cups gluten free graham-style crumbs
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 tbs butter or butter substitute
2 tbs milk or milk substitute (I use lactose free milk. DO NOT use soy milk – the pudding won’t set)
2 tbs vanilla instant pudding powder (or Bird’s Custard powder)
2 cups icing sugar
2 squares semi-sweet chocolate, melted
2 tbs butter or butter substitute
For the base: Put softened butter, sugar, cocoa, vanilla, and egg in a bowl. Set the bowl in a pan of boiling water (or use a double boiler). Stir until butter melts, and mixture is custard consistency.
Mix the graham crumbs, coconut, and nuts. Add to cocoa mixture. Pack into an ungreased 9×9″ pan.
For the middle icing layer:
Cream the butter. Combine milk and pudding powder, and add to butter. Mix in the icing sugar. Spread over the chocolate base, and allow to harden.
For the topping:
Melt the chocolate squares and butter in a microwave or double boiler. Mix well. Spread evenly over the other layers. I sometimes find the chocolate topping a bit hard to spread; you may want to increase the ingredients a bit so there’s more to work with.
Allow topping to harden, cut into squares. Refrigerate if desired.