not nanaimo bars

No-No-Nanaimo Bars

Although it might seem like I’m well on my way to baking every recipe in Alice Medrich’s Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy cookbook, Tara from the amazing Seven Spoons asked me about one recipe that had I hadn’t tried, the nanaimo bars. I think she was intrigued because Medrich’s version, called Maya’s No-No-Nanaimo Bars, is quite a bit different than the classic. For one thing, you bake these in two stages, and apparently real nanaimo bars aren’t baked at all. The whole idea was new to me, so without any expectations, I gave it a whirl. By the way, Medrich credits the recipe to Maya Klein of Portland. In a nutshell, this recipe is a revelation. My pan was a little too small, so the chocolate ganache layer is absurdly thick. The middle layer is cream cheese based. And the bottom is made with shredded coconut and chocolate graham crackers, but I couldn’t find the grahams in my market, so I jazzed up some regular ones with cocoa powder. I recommend you make this recipe for friends though, because these bars are intensely good, and it’s a little bit risky to be left alone with a whole pan of them.

No-No-Nanaimo Bars

If this next photo looks familiar, that’s because I’m using it for my new blog banner. I hope you like it, and my new profile photo too (a shot I snapped in a park over the summer). And maybe you noticed I migrated my old blog over to this one completely — all 500 posts (after some encouragement from Irvin, Laura, and Shauna). Well, I decided to delete some random posts after moving them over because of broken video links or general weirdness. Why all the change? My mother once said to me, “Guys don’t change one, two, or three things, they change everything.”


21 thoughts on “not nanaimo bars

  1. I’ve been thinking about that cookbook. Too often for a well-adjusted person. This may have sealed the deal, even though I *hate* coconut. I’m sure that can be modified. I’m just a sucker for layered bars.

    1. “too often for a well-adjusted person”… that cracked me up. as coconut-y desserts go, it’s pretty subtle because it’s blended into the crust. i bet you could get something comparable with maybe some ground nuts in the crust, or maybe just go with a traditional graham crust.

  2. My God. These look too good. This not something I should have seen early in the morning. Now I’m going to have chocolate on the mind all day! And my resolution this year was to cut down my sweets. I didn’t want to surrender to the cliché that resolutions are meant to be broken!

  3. Those bars just SCREAM something you would make and eat. I say that in as a good thing. How can you go wrong with chocolate, cream cheese and coconut/graham cracker! Gah. I want some. Now.

    I think I’m ready to make the leap over to WP, especially with you and Shauna telling me how easy it… No more excuses!

    1. Ha, do you mean me personally when you say they scream something “you would make and eat”? Because if so, I agree! And seriously, if I can figure out how to move to WordPress with no tech help at all, then anyone can do it.

  4. These do look insanely good. I think you’re right – it would be very dangerous to be left alone with a whole pan of these. That Gooey Chewy Crispy Crunchy cookbook sounds amazing!

  5. I adore traditional Nanaimo bars. They’ve always been a favourite treat, especially to share with friends. With cream cheese and a thick chocolate layer, these ones sound so lovely. How interesting that you bake them! I’m sure that must add a fantastic element :).

  6. That photo is most definitely banner-worthy! I’ve never actually tasted nanaimo bars before – now, it is my mission in life to find the book and get this recipe. Although it differs from the classic version, I have no problem being initiated with something this ‘not-nanaimo’ bit of goodness!

  7. I’ve never heard of these bars before, but now I’m intrigued! they have everything i love…coconut, chocolate, cream cheese 😉 Will have to try these soon. ~Cara Lee

  8. I pick up Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy everrytime I’m at the bookstore, I need to just buy it! That is one book title that sums up everything in this world that is good to eat. I loove Nanaimo bars! Custard powder is such a strange ingredient but who am I to judge when it tastes so good? Yours look ridiculously good, I’m a sucker for cream cheese and now you’ve got me thinking of making a new version with custard powder and cream cheese…

    1. yeah, i kept staring at it in the bookstore until i finally couldn’t resist and bought it for myself. very good choice. thanks for mentioning custard powder — that is a major difference with this baked version, which has no custard powder!

  9. OMW!! Those are going on my to do list ASAP. I’ll have to hide the pan from the guys though…they have a killer sweet tooth 🙂 PS: Thanks so much for popping over earlier.

  10. I am making Nanaimo bars today by coincidence. I can’t imagine that any variation would be better than the original…but then I am Canadian and that is our hands down favourite for Christmas.

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