Christmas Nanaimo Bars

Cathy Smith


We spent 10 years stationed at Fort Drum in New York, and we loved it. We made quite a few forays into Canada and tried some different kinds of things. These little decadent yummy bars were one of them. The first time I made them was for Santa, we barely had enough for him. They freeze well. They are pronounced Nah-nye- mo and are named after Nanaimo a small town in Canada.

pinch tips: Parchment Paper Vs Wax Paper


makes 27 (1x3 inch) bars


15 Min


15 Min


Stove Top



2 Tbsp
finely chopped crystallized ginger
1 Tbsp
3/4 c
butter, cut in cubes
1/3 c
1/4 c
1 large
egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp
1 1/2 c
crushed graham crackers (may use vanilla wafers)
1 c
flaked coconut
1/2 c
chopped walnuts (may use pecans etc)
1/2 c
finely chopped red and green candied cherries


1/4 c
butter, softened
3 Tbsp
half and half or milk
2 Tbsp
instant vanilla pudding mix
2 1/2 c
powdered sugar
1/2 tsp
almond flavoring


4 oz
semisweet chocolate chopped
1 Tbsp
1/2 c
powdered sugar
2 tsp
half and half or milk
1/4 tsp

Directions Step-By-Step

In a small bowl, combine ginger and rum and set aside. Line a 9 inch pan with a foil sling.
In a large heavy saucepan, combine the butter, cocoa, and sugar. Cook and stir over medium low heat until melted. Whisk a small amount of hot mixture into egg. Return all into pan, whisking constantly. Cook and stir over medium low heat until mixture reaches 160 degrees F.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Stir in graham crumbs, coconut, walnuts, cherries and ginger mixture. Press into a foil lined 9 inch square pan.
For the filling, in a large bowl, beat the butter, half and half/milk and pudding mix until well blended. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until smooth,add in almond flavoring and spread over crust. Freeze for 15 minutes or until set.
In a microwave, melt chocolate and butter, stir until smooth. Stir in vanilla. Spread over the top. Combine confectioner's sugar and half and half/milk, drizzle over the top. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until set. Cut into bars.
Christmas is coming and I am looking over my recipes, this is one of them. These are kicked up Nanaimo bars. You can omit the ginger, rum, and cherries and have everyday Nanaimo bars. You can also add mint and pink tinting to the filling and crushed candy canes on top. The way I chose to serve them for "Santa Claus" since we barely had two left was, I left off the white icing on top, and placed them on a black plate, dusted it heavily with powdered sugar to look like snow and arranged some mini marshmallows around the plate so Santa wouldn't know he was shortchanged.

About this Recipe

Course/Dish: Cookies
Main Ingredient: Dairy
Regional Style: Canadian