Our Easter Weekend and a Nanaimo Bar Recipe

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Some moments are for life.  This weekend was one of those moments.  We filled our days with good Friday services at Hillsong, coffee dates in Greenwich Village, Easter Sunday services, bocce in Fort Green park, potlucks in Brooklyn and the most exceptional, imperfectly perfect people.  So although this was our first major holiday without family (and we missed them bundles), we consider ourselves truly blessed to be able to spend it the way we did and with whom we did.

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My contribution to our Easter potluck was Cilantro Lime Bean Salad, peanut butter cookies and Naniamo Bars (get excited fellow Canadians).  Being from Vancouver Island, Naniamo bars to me are ubiquitous with cupcakes, cookies and brownies.  So naturally upon moving to NYC I figured everyone had been enlightened to their awesomeness.  I was shocked, no, I was horrified to learn that even my fellow Torontonians had no idea what I was babbling about.  So this Easter potluck I set out to rectify that atrocity by trying my hand at what for me I had always considered a super complex dessert (I prefer simple, no fuss no muss baking that reaps rewards quickly).

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My dear friend Alyssa, filled me in on her little tip that if you place each layer in the freezer for 30 minutes it makes the processes a little more seamless.  So with that in mind I decided to stick to the basics and took the recipe right off the city of the Naniamo website (although I couldn’t help but throw in a few of my own twists), and after one batch of burnt chocolate and a forgotten egg in the first crust I alas mastered these delicious treats.  However, my sincerest apologies because in terms of food photography this post gets a below failing grade, only because we were having too much fun enjoying our company to craft a pretty picture (and Jay had to cut the bars with a spoon because I forgot a knife. Opps.).  So regardless of the aesthetic, enjoy as you soak in the amazing Canadian-ness that are Naniamo Bars. 

Nanaimo Bar Recipe

Makes 1 8 by 8 or 9 by 9 tray of squares

Bottom Layer


  • ½ cup unsalted butter (option: vegan butter)
  • ¼ cup sugar (I used brown)
  • 5 tbsp. cocoa
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 ¼ cups graham wafer crumbs (gluten free brand)
  • ½ c. finely chopped almonds (I used walnuts)
  • 1 cup shreeded coconut


  1. Melt first 3 ingredients in top of double boiler.
  2. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken.
  3. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, coconut, and nuts.
  4. Press firmly into an ungreased 8″ x 8″ pan ( or 9 by 9 because that is all I had)
  5. Freeze for 30 minutes

Second Layer


  • ½ cup unsalted butter (option: vegan butter)
  • 2 Tbsp. and 2 Tsp. cream (vegan substitute)
  • 2 Tbsp. vanilla custard powder (or dairy free vanilla pudding)
  • 2 cups icing sugar


  1. Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light.
  2. Spread over bottom layer.
  3. Freeze for 30 minutes

Third Layer


  • 4 squares semi-sweet chocolate (1 oz. each)
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter (option: vegan butter)


  1. Melt chocolate and butter over low heat.
  2. Cool. Once cool, but still liquid, pour over second layer
  3. chill in refrigerator

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