Holiday Nanaimo Bars

  • Author: Cooking Up Romance
  • Prep Time: 80
  • Total Time: 80
  • Yield: 16


An easy no-bake cookie dressed up with holiday flavor


For the first layer

  • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
  • 5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups of gingersnap crumbs (I used Trader Joe’s gingersnaps)
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1 cup slivered almonds

For the second layer

  • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For the third layer

  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate squares, chopped or chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Holiday sprinkles (optional)


For the first layer

  1. Prepared an 8-inch by 8-inch square pan with parchment paper. I buttered it just so it would stay stuck down into the pan, but it isn’t necessary.
  2. In a double-boiler (I use a bowl set over an inch of boiling water), combine the butter, cocoa powder, sugar and vanilla extract. Stir gently until chocolate is melted and all ingredients are combined.
  3. Whisk in beaten egg until mixture is the consistency of hot fudge sauce.
  4. Remove from heat. Stir in the gingersnaps crumbs, pecans and slivered almonds.
  5. Spread the mixture in the bottom of the prepared pan and place in the refrigerator.

For the second layer

  1. Combine the butter, cornstarch, vanilla extract and heavy cream in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Whip until thoroughly combined.
  2. Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, whisking after each addition. I sifted it directly into the mixer bowl to prevent clumps. Whisk until the mixture is the consistency of frosting.
  3. Add the cinnamon and whisk to combine.
  4. Spread the mixture on top of the first layer and return to the fridge.

For the third layer

  1. Wash the top of the double boiler or bowl you used in the first step and return to a boil. Add the chopped chocolate or chocolate chips, butter and heavy cream and heat until chocolate is melted, stirring gently.
  2. Pour the final layer to the pan and smooth to cover the surface. Return to the fridge for 5 minutes before adding sprinkles as desired.
  3. Refrigerate for an additional 30-40 minutes for the chocolate to set, then cut into small squares. Store in the refrigerator.


  • Personally, I like these cut really small, like an inch and a half square. They’re quite rich so I recommend eating them with coffee at breakfast-time 😉