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Canada's favorite bar cookies

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If you've ever had the good fortune to go to Canada, you may have been to or heard of a place called "Nanaimo". This is located on the west coast section of British Columbia. This is supposedly where the recipe I'm sharing today comes from, which is called "Nanaimo Squares". There's actually some controversy as to whether Canada can actually lay claim to this extraordinary confection. For one, according to Wikipedia, once source states that this cookie originated in New York and was called "New York Slices". It continues to say that the earliest printed recipe dated back to the 1950's, whereas it's said that the recipe was being made as early as the 1930's. No matter where or when this recipe came about, it's a great bar cookie!

This treat is made in three layers. You begin with a graham cracker and coconut layer, which is flavored with cocoa. The second layer is a custard layer, made of butter, milk, instant vanilla pudding and confectioner's sugar. This goes over the first layer. The third layer is melted semi-sweet chocolate and butter, which is drizzled over the top. These are refrigerated and once they're set, they're ready to devour! It's an interesting and unique recipe that will make a wonderful conversation piece.

This is a no-bake cookie, but you actually have to cook the first layer in a saucepan. You also have to melt the chocolate and butter for the third layer, but other than this, that's all the actual cooking needed for this recipe. Once note about the middle layer: you'll see that it calls for instant vanilla pudding. You use the powder, straight from the package. Make sure to use the instant version and not the type that requires cooking, as that version won't work here.

Once made, you can slice these into bars and keep them in a covered container under refrigeration. This would be a good sweet to make if you have a New Year's party coming up mid-week or if you'd like to do a little more baking with the youngsters while they're still at home for the holidays. This would be good for a young cook who's a bit more advanced in their cooking skills.

Last year, I shared another cookie recipe that's good to have towards New Year's and that's for "Chinese Almond Cookies". To get this recipe, follow this link:

And if you happen to have some pumpkin that needs to be used, try putting them in a cookie, called "Homemade Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies", which is presented in a video format. Here's the link to it:

When you taste this cookie, you'll see why the city of Nanaimo loves having this recipe named for them!


First layer:

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 5 tablespoons baking cocoa
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts

Combine butter, sugar and cocoa in a saucepan over LOW heat, heating until mixture is melted. Add the egg and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and add the crumbs, coconut and nuts. Spread in a greased 8x8 inch pan, patting firm. Set aside.

Second layer:

  • 1 stick butter
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons instant vanilla pudding mix (as it comes from the package)
  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar

Cream the butter. Combine the milk with the pudding mix and add to the butter. Cream until fluffy. Add the confectioner's sugar and beat again until fluffy. Spread over the chocolate base and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Third layer:

  • 3 squares semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Melt chocolate and butter in a saucepan over low heat, mixing well. Spread over the second layer. Cover and chill at least 4-6 hours. Slice into bars and store in a covered container under refrigeration. Yield: about 16 squares.



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