Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Nanaimo Bars - margarine-free!

I've been on a nanaimo bar kick lately for some reason, after not having had any for at least seven years. I was using Sarah Kramer's recipe for awhile, but the 1 cup of margarine in every batch made me feel bad. Not that I am against fat (or sugar, for that matter), but margarine is just so processed and devoid of nutritiousness that I can't justify using a whole cup in a recipe.

So, given that Canada day is tomorrow (and tomorrow has already come, in many parts of the country), I bring you this Canadian delicacy, a tweaked version using primarily coconut oil and avocado for the fat and buttery creaminess. The avocado adds a lovely green color as well. It does not taste any healthier, that is for sure! In the future I may start subbing ground outs and sugar for the cookie crumbs as I don't see why they are really necessary, but this is my current version.

Oh and also, please excuse the messy photos! I royally suck at cutting things (which is why you see more whole cakes and pies than slices of them on this blog...). Please attribute the messiness to my lack of skill and not the recipe itself!

Nanaimo Bars

Bottom Layer:
½ cup coconut oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ cup cane sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder (dutch-processed is best)
2 tablespoons flax meal
5 tablespoons cold water
½ cup walnuts
1 ¼ cup flaked or finely shredded (or whatever) unsweetened coconut
1 cup vegan graham cracker-ish cookies

Middle Layer:
1 avocado
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon milk (I used coconut because I had it, but soy, almond or rice should also work)
2 tablespoons arrowroot
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar

Top Layer:
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 pinch salt
100 g good quality dark chocolate

First, prepare the bottom layer. Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan on low heat, then add the salt and sugar. Once the sugar is dissolved, add the cocoa powder and stir until smooth. Remove from heat. Meanwhile, process the vegan cookies in a food processor until they become a fine meal. Add the walnuts and lightly pulse, until the walnuts are finely shopped but not powdery. Mix the flax and water in a small bowl, then add to the food processor along with the coconut and chocolate sauce. Process until well-mixed. Press evenly into an ungreased square baking pan and set aside.

Now prepare the top layer. Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan and add the chocolate and salt, stirring often. Once melted, remove from heat (the top layer is prepared before the middle one because it needs time to cool down).

Now the middle layer. Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender, and blend really well.
Spread the middle layer mixture evenly over the bottom layer, then pour the chocolate sauce on top. Put in the fridge for an hour or so to cool, then transfer to the freezer (otherwise the middle layer will get quite gooey). Before serving, let set at room temperature for a few minutes so the chocolate doesn’t crack when you try to cut it into squares.

Happy Canada day, everyone!


  1. Those Nanaimo Bars seem EXTREMELY AMAZING. I'm gonna try 'em as soon as I get the chance! Avacado and chocolate are really good friends. Happy Canada Day!

  2. YEAH!!!!!! Are these the ones you made us? I'm totally making these today. Thanks Angela! :)

  3. Vijita - they are not (those were Sarah Kramer's recipe (with the earth balance), and there's a link for it above), but I've shared these ones with people and they've liked them just as much as the other ones. Try them out and let me know what you think!

  4. They're in the fridge right now! Sadly, there was not one ripe avocado on Salt Spring Island, so I followed Sarah's recipe for the middle layer. I was really excited about the avocado, so I'll try them again sometime. Also, my kitchen is an insane mess!

    It'll probably be worth it though! :)

  5. Angela!
    How come I never found your blog before?
    Its on my reader now so I will visit as often as you post.