Chocolaty Nanaimo Bars

If a pastry could be a friend, the Nanaimo bar would be my BFF. This version won Cookie of the Fair at the 2006 Iowa State Fair.


  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut, toasted
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons Bird’s custard powder or instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons half-and-half cream
  • 1 ounce white baking chocolate, melted
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon shortening


  • Line bottom of a 9-in. square baking pan with parchment. In a small heavy saucepan, cook and stir butter, sugar and cocoa over medium-low heat until butter is melted. Remove from heat.
  • In a small bowl, whisk a small amount of hot mixture into egg; return all to pan, whisking constantly. Cook 2-3 minutes or until mixture is just thick enough to coat a metal spoon and a thermometer reads at least 160°, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
  • Stir in cracker crumbs, coconut and pecans. Press into prepared pan. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until cold.
  • For filling, in a large bowl, beat butter and custard powder until blended. Beat in confectioners’ sugar and half-and-half until smooth. Spread over crust. Refrigerate, covered, 1 hour or until firm.
  • For topping, fill a small resealable bag with melted white chocolate; set aside, keeping warm. In a microwave, melt chocolate chips and shortening; stir until smooth. Spread chocolate mixture evenly over filling.
  • Cut a small corner in bag with white chocolate. Working quickly, pipe parallel lines over chocolate layer, spacing lines 1/4 to 1/2 in. apart. Working at right angles to the white chocolate lines, pull a toothpick back and forth across the pan, cutting through the piped lines to create a feather design.
  • Refrigerate 10 minutes or until topping is just set (do not allow the chocolate to harden completely). Cut into bars. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.