June 24, 2008

Cappuccino Nanaimo Bars

The Nanaimo bar is a dessert of Canadian origin popular across North America. A type of chocolate no-bake square, it receives its name from the city of Nanaimo, British Columbia. It consists of a crumb-based layer, topped by a layer of light custard or vanilla butter icing, which is covered in chocolate (wiki). I enjoyed taking part in Sugar High Friday May 2008 event, so I was looking forward to participate in June's event too. This month the theme is "Mmm...Canada" calling everyone to make something (either sweet or savory) Canadian! The sweet version is hosted by Jennifer of The Domestic Goddess. Coincidentally, the theme for AFAM is Coconut. Since this recipe has coconut in it, it would fit AFAM too. It was a bit of work making them, but it sure was well worth the effort! I only made half the recipe, and almost everything worked out perfect. The taste was exceptional!! I took them to a gathering of a few friends and they all loved it! I expected them to be put off by the sweetness, but they mentioned in unison that they didnt mind because the bars were awesome! This is a calorie-laden sweet but excellent to take to a gathering or to a party. So make sure you have some friends to share the guilt and the calories! ;-) I am posting the halved recipe here. Check out this link for the original recipe. I hope you all enjoy these yummy bars! To all the chocoholics ( I am one of them!) out there, this is for you!!

Recipe (Makes 8 bars) :


Chocolate cookie crumbs - 3/4 cup
Unsalted butter - 1/4 cup
Cocoa powder - 2 1/2 tbsp
Sugar - 1/8 cup
Egg - 1/2
Vanilla extract - 1/2 tsp
Unsweetened grated coconut - 1/2 cup
Walnuts - 1/4 cup, toasted and chopped


Icing sugar - 1 1/2 cups, sifted
Unsalted butter - 1/6 cup, at room temperature
Custard powder - 3/4 tbsp
Milk - 1/8 cup
Instant coffee powder - 1 tsp
Vanilla - 1 tsp


Semisweet chocolate - 4 oz
Unsalted butter - 1 tbsp


Preheat the oven to 350F.

Grease bottom and sides of 8-inch square pan (I spread the mixture on half the pan) with vegetable oil or spray.

For base, melt butter and stir in sugar.

Sift cocoa powder into mixture and blend well.

Whisk together egg and vanilla extract and add.

Blend in chocolate cookie crumbs, coconut and chopped walnuts until evenly incorporated.

Press into prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes then chill for 20 minutes.

For cappuccino filling, beat butter by hand until smooth and beat in custard powder.

Heat milk with coffee powder to dissolve and cool to room temperature.

Add milk to butter mixture a stir in sifted icing sugar a cup at a time, combining well.

Spread over base and chill while preparing topping.

For topping, melt chocolate and butter over a pot of gently simmering water.

Pour over vanilla filling and spread to cover evenly.

Chill for 30 minutes.

To serve, slice with a hot, dry knife into 1-inch squares.


  1. I used oreos for the crumb base.
  2. Reduce or omit the sugar if using oreos for the base (or if using sweetened coconut), because it already has the creme-filling.
  3. I used chopped mixed nuts instead of toasted wlanuts and flaked coconut from the store (it was actually a bit sweet).
  4. I would recommend reducing the amount of sugar for the filling to 3/4 - 1 cup. I added about 1 1/4 cup and still it was very sweet.
  5. For instant coffee powder for the filling I used Nescafe instant coffee granules.
  6. For custard powder, I used the Jello vanilla pudding powder (not the instant one).
  7. For the topping I melted the chocolate and butter in the microwave.
  8. The preparation method mentions chilling the filling until the chocolate topping is made. I would recommend keeping it in the freezer until you make the topping because, when I poured the topping over the custard filling, it hadnt set properly, so I didnt get three distinct layers. So I just worked with what I had and made swirls of chocolate on the vanilla layer. This didnt compromise the taste at all.

I am sending these bars to "SHF - Mmm Canada" hosted by Jennifer of The Domestic Goddess and to "AFAM - Coconut" hosted by Suganya of Tasty Palettes. Enjoy!! :-)

Dont forget to check out the new pictures over at "Through the looking glass".


Laavanya said...

That sounds fantastic and looks even better JZ

The Caked Crusader said...

I had never heard of Nanaimo bars until recently. They certainly sound good and are on my "to make" list.

FH said...

Oh, don't show these to my kids, I will have to get back in the kitchen again!:D
Looks really good, you are an artist!:)

ranji said...

Oh my!!!so beautiful JZ.whr do u get ur ideas from...i am damn sure u are good at paintin or sketching..are'nt u?....never heard of nanaimo bars..very new to me and anything with chocolte automatically becomes my fv:)..this sure oes into my must try list :)...way to go JZ..ood job.

Sum Raj said...

oh my god....i am really really impressed on ur work....its fantastic and classic...the presentation itself is invited and i like to taste but ob other side dont like to touch on the plate tooo because the design u have done is just awesome...

Deepthi Shankar said...

That looks soooo delicious .. looks like u have put a great effort to make it. Good job :)

Rachel said...

I make these too..Followed the joy of baking recipe....

Lovely presentation as always J.

Finla said...

Thos bar looks super delicious.
Will make them when i am back from India.

Kalai said...

These look off the hook delicious! :)

Sailaja said...

Too good. Mouth watering recipe.

I loved the design and pictures

Domestic Goddess said...

These look amazing...Nanaimo Bars are the perfect pairing with coffee! Thanks so much for joining in on Mmm...Canada the Sugar High Edition!

Sujatha said...

How lovely! I like your design on the plate more :) This is one classic dessert and looks delicious!

Dori said...

This desserts sounds delicious and your presentation of it is amazing! Really, It's like beautiful art!!!

Illatharasi said...

JZ, what a presentation.... Very very good!!!

Cherry and spoon pictures are great!

@the_whisk_affair said...

Thanks Laavanya, tcc and Asha..Glad you all liked it!!

Hey Ranji! i can draw a bit, but not a great artist though!! :-)

Suma, thanks a lot for your lovely comment :-)

Thanks vegetable platter, Rachel and HC...Do make them when u r back, HC.

Thanks Kalai and Sailja!

It was my pleasure Domestic Goddess!

Thanks Sujatha, Meeso and Illatharasi! I am happy that you all liked it! Come again..

Cham said...

Look like one of the fancy restaurant dessert :) U work & present like a pro!

@the_whisk_affair said...

Thanks a lot for the appreciation, Cham! I enjoyed doing it!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful pictures

TBC said...

What a fabulous no-bake treat!

@the_whisk_affair said...

Thanks a lot Simran and TBC! Welcome to my blog, simran! :-)

Raaga said...

art you can eat... everything you put up looks so pretty

@the_whisk_affair said...

Thank you so much Raaga, I am really glad u liked it! :-)

Unknown said...

JZ, ur presentation is always so enticing and lovely.The bars are too good.

Anonymous said...

Delicious idea...cappuccino and Nanaimo bars - two of the finer things in life, in one :)

Anonymous said...

JZ! Thanks so much for visiting my blog and adding your lovely compliments! I think your Nanaimo Bars look scrumptious, and the photos..just WOW. The more blogs I check out from this current SHF, the more I realize how lacking I am in the 'photography' department!

That said, I hope you visit again soon, as I'll be checking yours out quite often, as I love Indian food (I just made Kheema Paratha's last week), and your knack for desserts is awe inspiring!

@the_whisk_affair said...

Thanks a lot for your comments, Pearlsofeast, MCC and Lisa! :-)Thanks a lot for your extra words Lisa, and I definitely will visit you again! :-)