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a stack of nanaimo bars on white plate with red gingham napkins in the foreground and background.

Nanaimo Bars

A thick layered bar traditionally from Canada. Our version is built on a crust of graham, almonds, chocolate and coconut and a peanut butter filling that brings it all together. And the chocolate ganache sends it right over the edge.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 20 minutes
Refrigeration 2 hours
Total Time 20 minutes


For the Crust

  • ½ cup almonds finely chopped; can purchase chopped if you don't have a food processor
  • ½ cup unsalted butter cubed; at room temperature
  • 6 T unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ cup unsweetened coconut
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg

For the Peanut Butter Filling

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter room temp
  • ¾ cup peanut butter I use Skippy
  • 2 ¼ cup confectioner's sugar
  • 2 ¼ T cornstarch
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla
  • 4 T milk or heavy cream

For the Topping

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 T unsalted butter room temp
  • splash of hot water if needed


  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Prepare a 9x9 brownie pan with parchment paper and let a little go up the sides.

For the Crust

  • In a food processor, finely chop the almonds. 
    food processor with graham crackers crushed on marble board and red gingham napkin.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and blend until the crust comes together and hold together when pressed about 2-3 minutes or so.
    food processor with butter, coconut, graham crackers crushed on marble board and red gin.gham napkin
  • Press in prepared pan evenly taking care to not go up the sides.
    chocolate crust in a gold baking pan with a red gingham background.
  • Bake for 8 minutes or so. Remove and let cool completely.

For the Filling

  • Beat the butter and peanut butter together until smooth and fluffy about 5 minutes. 
  • Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the confectioner's sugar and cornstarch.
  • Beginning with the powdered sugar mix, add to the peanut butter mix and alternate with the milk in two parts. Blend between each addition. Add the vanilla and check for the consistency. It will be like a very thick frosting. 
  • Spread or press the peanut butter filling over the cooled crust and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 
    peanut butter layer in baking pan with a marble board and red gingham napkin.

For the Chocolate Topping

  • Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl, removing to stir every thirty seconds. Add the butter after the first 30 seconds. The chips should melted in about 1-130 minutes. Splash with a little hot water if needed to get a smooth glossy ganache.
  • Spread over the cooled bars. Refrigerate until firm another 1 ½ hours.