The Story of the Nanaimo Bar


The Nanaimo Bar is a classic favourite on the West Coast and is one of the most popular desserts on our menu. Did you know that the Lazy Gourmet is known as the first company to commercially produce the bars? Montecristo Magazine has recently written a feature on the Nanaimo Bar and its rich history, click here to read the full article! Susan’s famous recipe has been one of our favourites since we opened in 1979. Keep reading to see the recipe and try it yourself at home.

The bar got a big boost during Expo 86 in Vancouver, when Nanaimo held a recipe contest and trotted out a mascot named Nanaimo Barney. A recipe for the confection was also included in a commemorative cookbook curated by The Lazy Gourmet, the Vancouver catering company believed to be the first to commercially produce the bars. As such, the Nanaimo bar was introduced to the world.

The Lazy Gourmet’s Classic Nanaimo bars

Yield: 20 Nanaimo bars

Ingredients

Layer 1
½ cup (125 mL) butter, softened
¼ cup (60 mL) sugar
1 egg
2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla extract
2 Tbsp (30 mL) cocoa powder
2 cups (500 mL) graham wafer crumbs
1 cup (250 mL) long-thread coconut
½ cup (125 mL) walnuts or pecans, chopped

Layer 2
¼ cup (60 mL) butter, softened
3 Tbsp (45 mL) milk
2 cups (500 mL) icing sugar
2 Tbsp (30 mL) custard powder

Layer 3
5 oz (140 g) semi-sweet chocolate
1 Tbsp (15 mL) butter

Method

  1. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan.
  2. Bring a medium pot of water to a rolling boil. In a heat-safe bowl, use an electric mixer to mix together butter, sugar, egg, vanilla extract, and cocoa powder from Layer 1. Set bowl over boiling water, creating a bain-marie, and stir until mixture thickens slightly.
  3. Remove bowl from stove and add graham wafer crumbs, coconut, and nuts. Pour mixture into the prepared baking pan. Using a spatula, spread mixture evenly to form base layer of the bars. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine ingredients in Layer 2 using a whisk or stand-alone mixer until smooth. Pour into the pan and spread evenly over the base layer.
  5. In a small heat-safe bowl, melt chocolate in bain-marie or on a low setting in the microwave. Stir in butter until combined. Carefully spread over the custard layer.
  6. Refrigerate baking pan until chocolate has hardened. Slice into 20 bars.

 

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