Saturday, March 30, 2013

Blonde Nanaimo Bars

Although these bars aren't the prettiest I've ever made,
they do taste great.
I didn't wait long enough for the middle layer to firm up. Bummer.

I was thinking the other day that I wanted to make something using rainbow sprinkles because rainbow sprinkles on cookies make me happy. I thought about making a non-chocolate Nanaimo bar with sprinkles and eventually I got to this bar. Notice I didn't put any sprinkles on it. I'll have to get back to that later.
What this is, is a Nanaimo bar with no cocoa or regular chocolate. The top of the bars you see here is actually not even real white chocolate, it's Ghirardelli Classic White Baking Chips. I think they came out funky looking and cracked on top because I didn't let the middle layer firm up enough in the fridge. Last night I was blaming it on the white chips, but I'm not sure if it's completely their fault. Probably some combination. If I ever do make these again, I will be patient and I will use real white chocolate.
Although I'd say these are still in the testing phase, I'm posting about them because 1. I haven't posted anything in over a week, and 2. They really do taste good, even if they're not perfect today.
First of all, they have the textures of a regular Nanaimo bar: chewy, dense bottom layer, creamy middle and a hard chocolate top. Next, they are SWEET. I mean, Paula Deen sweet. And buttery. My husband said it was like eating a stick of butter, but he had just eaten two chicken burritos and was in no condition to be eating something this rich. I think these are good, and to verify my opinion, I took these to our church grill-out today to see what others think about them. Everyone seemed to love them, and my 18 year old nephew thinks they're even better than regular Nanaimo bars. I'll always choose chocolate over something like this, but he has a right to his opinion.
For now, I think I need to stop with the taste testing. Maybe after one more small bite.

Blonde Nanaimo Bars


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup pecan pieces
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons Bird's Custard Powder*
  • 3 tablespoons cream or half & half
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup chopped white chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable/canola oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons melted white chocolate for garnish (optional)
Line a 9x9" square pan (or I like to use a rectangular 7x11" pan) with parchment paper. You may need to spread a tiny amount of butter on the bottom and around the edges to get the paper to stay in place.
In a 300 degree Fahrenheit oven, toast the coconut and pecans on a cookie sheet until toasty brown and fragrant, about 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally during that 10-15 minutes because they tend to brown around the outside first.
Beat the egg in a small bowl and set aside.
In the top/bowl of a double boiler over medium heat, melt 1/2 cup butter with the brown sugar. When butter is melted, stir vigorously (but carefully) until the butter and sugar come together. Once the butter and brown sugar are completely mixed, whisk in the egg until mixture is thick. This should only take a minute or so. 
Remove top of double boiler and mix in the graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and pecans. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Press this mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Place in refrigerator while you prepare the middle layer.

Beat the butter, custard powder, and cream/half&half until mixed. Carefully beat in the powdered sugar. Once powdered sugar is incorporated, beat filling until it is light and creamy. 
Remove bottom layer from refrigerator and spread this middle frosting evenly and smoothly over the top (I use an offset spatula, but if you don't have one, I'd recommend you use a silicone spatula or the back of a spoon).
Return pan to the refrigerator until the middle layer is firm, at least one hour.

In the double boiler over medium heat, melt the white chocolate and vegetable/canola oil. When it's 3/4 melted, remove from the heat and continue to stir until the chocolate is completely melted.
Remove pan from the refrigerator again and pour and spread melted white chocolate over the top. Drizzle with the 1 1/2 tablespoons melted white chocolate, if that's what you're doing. (Click here to see how to make feathery lines on top.)

This is where it gets tricky, and I'll have to try this again, but this is what I recommend. Return the pan to the refrigerator for 4-5 minutes. When chocolate on top looks just set, cut into 20-24 bars. Return pan to refrigerator for chocolate to completely set, about 30 minutes.
Carefully pull bars out of pan by the parchment paper, which may rip. Then you just carefully remove the bars and plate them for serving.

*If Bird's Custard Powder is not available near you, you can order it on, or you can just use some instant vanilla pudding powder. That's what I used in my Nanaimo bars until two weeks ago.

Makes 20-24 small bars.


  1. Hey Kelly! I'm Canadian (although I live in S. FLA.) and a lover of Nanaimo Bars, I have to say that I've never seen a blonde one! I for sure have to try this. BTW, I'll be following you on FB and Pinterest from now on.

    1. Thanks for letting me know you like my stuff! :) Makes me happy. And Nanaimo Bars are one of my very, very favorite things to make and eat--and now that I've seen the light about how important it is to use Bird's, I might love them even more. I don't know if I've seen a blonde Nanaimo bar before either. When I googled it, I only found one recipe for raw blonde (or white) Nanaimo Bars. Anyway, I wasn't sure at first if I really liked these, but I've eaten one a day since I made them, which means I do like them a lot. Let me know if you ever try them.

    2. Oh, and I bet you love the warm weather in S. Florida compared to Canadian winters. Brrrrr. I can barely handle the winters here in Iowa.


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