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BC Nanaimo bars

Take a trip across the country without even leaving your kitchen. Indulge in some of the best sweets that our great nation has to offer, courtesy of food bloggers Lindsay and Dana who road-tripped from coast to coast to coast to discover what makes our sweet tooth smile.



For the base:

  • 1 1/4 cups rice cereal
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1/3 cup chopped almonds, toasted
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the filling:

  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons homemade or store- bought prepared vanilla custard, such a Bird’s or Ambrosia Devon Custard
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons icing sugar, sifted

For the topping:

  • 2/3 cup coarsely chopped semi-sweet chocolate (not chocolate chips)
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • Flaky sea salt (optional)


  1. Spray the bottom of a 20 × 20 centimeter pan with cooking spray and line it with a piece of parchment that hangs over the edges. Spray the parchment layer and lay another piece the opposite way, also leaving some overhang. Spray again. This will make it easier to remove the Nanaimo bars from the pan.
  2. For the base, combine the rice cereal, toasted coco- nut, nuts, and cinnamon in a large bowl and set aside.
  3. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, sugar, and cocoa powder. Stir until the butter is melted and the sugar and cocoa dissolve, about two to three minutes. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and vanilla together. Slowly pour the cocoa mixture into the egg mixture, whisking to combine, and return to the sauce- pan. Heat over medium heat until it comes to a boil, about three to four minutes, then remove from the heat immediately.
  4. Pour the cocoa mixture into the bowl containing the rice cereal mixture, and stir until well combined. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared pan and let it chill in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
  5. For the filling, whisk the water and sugar in a medium pot until just combined, then cook over high heat for six to seven minutes (not stirring), until it turns a deep amber colour (watch carefully so it doesn’t burn). Remove from the heat and slowly pour in the vanilla—the mixture will bubble and spit, so stand back! Put back on low heat and stir to dissolve any caramel lumps.
  6. Add in one-third of the butter and stir until melted.
  7. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or using a hand mixer, transfer the caramel to a bowl and whisk on medium speed until it thickens slightly and begins to cool, about six to eight minutes. While still mixing, add in the remaining butter, a little bit at a time, until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  8. Add the custard and mix for two to three minutes on medium speed until fully combined, thoroughly scraping down the bowl as you go. Add the icing sugar and reduce the speed to low, mixing until the icing sugar is combined. Switch to high speed and beat two to three minutes more. Spread the filling evenly over the prepared base and return to the refrigerator for one hour to set.
  9. For the topping, place the chopped chocolate in a bowl. In a saucepan, combine the whipping cream and corn syrup and heat until just simmering. Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and let sit for two minutes. Stir slowly until no streaks of cream remain and the mixture has become thick and shiny.
  10. Working quickly, pour the warm chocolate on top of the chilled filling. Quickly swirl the pan and spread to distribute the chocolate and create an even coating. Once the chocolate has cooled for a few minutes, you can sprinkle the top with some flaky sea salt, if desired. Place the bars in the refrigerator for at least two hours, or until set.
  11. To remove from the pan, grab the overhanging parchment and lift until the bars come out of the pan—they should be quite firm and sturdy at this point. Fold down the parchment and cut into 16 squares while still cold. Leftovers should be kept in the refrigerator.

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