Lisa’s Nainamo Bars {Holiday Cookie Swap}

On the morning of my first cookie swap of the season, I was gearing up to make a mere 6 dozen cookies. I quickly realized that I already had an abundance of dessert from my birthday week and needed to get them out of the house, so I got an idea. My friend Lisa gave me her homemade Nainamo bars that were her submission to the holiday cookie swap and I figured since they were part of a virtual cookie swap, why couldn’t they be part of a real life cookie swap? So, I brought them. Normally, this wouldn’t make a difference, yet the hostess of the party asked everyone to talk about their cookies and how they made them. And I lied. I couldn’t possibly tell a group of 20 girls that I, the baking blogger, had not baked the treats that I brought to the cookie swap! It felt like I cheated, but I couldn’t imagine making more cookies when I had cookies that were going to go to waste. Well, I ended up feeling guilty and confessing the truth to the hostess at a later date. She didn’t care, but I couldn’t,  just couldn’t,  admit to not baking my own cookies at a cookie swap in front of the whole party.

I would highly suggest making this Nainamo bar recipe from Lisa. They are pretty freakin’ delish. She likes to make a new recipe every holiday season to see if they make the cut for her holiday recipe collection. With a yummy mix of flavors and textures, these bars are a keeper!

Nanaimo Bars

{print me!}

Bottom Layer

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature

¼ cup white sugar

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1 cup sweetened coconut flakes

½ cup mixed nuts (I used walnuts, pecans, and almonds)

Middle Layer

½ stick butter, room temperature

3 tbsp cream

2 tbsp vanilla pudding powder

½ tsp vanilla extract

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Top Layer

½ cup semisweet chocolate

1 tbsp butter

Bottom Layer:  In a saucepan over low heat, melt butter.  Remove from heat and mix in sugar and cocoa powder.


Gradually whisk in the beaten egg then return to low heat and cook until thickened, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract, graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and chopped nuts.  Press the mixture into a buttered 9×9 pan.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour.

Middle Layer: With an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy.  Add all the remaining ingredients and beat until smooth.  Spread the filling over the bottom layer and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Top Layer: In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and butter together.  Spread the melted chocolate over the filling and refrigerate until the chocolate has set, about 10 minutes.

Once cooled, cut them into 1 inch squares and serve!

Thanks, Lisa, for the recipe and for the physical cookies to spare me some last minute cookie baking!

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