Nanaimo bars are one of my all-time favourite treats – when i lived in BC growing up they were just about everywhere we went, and I could never get enough. After moving to Toronto I realized they were much harder to come by out of province. Did you know Nanaimo Bars are named for their birthplace, a small city on Vancouver Island in BC? I grew up at bike races (yes, I was super sporty!) in and around that area, so it’s no wonder these sweet triple-layer treats make me feel warm and fuzzy inside.
Traditional Nanaimo bars are certainly not healthy or even close to vegan, but as per usual Amanda of Blueberry Moon came through and made our vegan dessert dreams come true! Instead of custard for the centre filling she created a pink peppermint coconut-based cream, and oats, dates and almonds were used alongside coconut to boost health points in the base layer.
Scroll down for the recipe
What you’ll need //
1 cup almonds
1/2 c packed dates
1/2 c oats
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c cocoa powder
1/2 c shredded coconut
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 cup coconut butter
3/4 chilled full fat coconut milk
1 cup icing sugar
2 tsp mint extract
2 tsp peppermint extract
2 tsp beet juice (may need to adjust slightly based on colour preference)
1.5 cups melted chocolate chips
Optional: Crushed candy cane, sprinkles
Prepare your base layer by adding all crust ingredients listed into your food processor.
Once it reaches a crust like consistency, press firmly into a greased square pan. You could also cut out some parchment paper tabs to line the bottom for easy removal.
Next, begin to prepare the middle layer by adding all ingredients into your high speed blender. We used our Vitamix. Once this layer is thick, creamy and smooth, pour it over the crust and spread as evenly as possible. You may want to carefully slam the tray (it not glass) a couple times against your counter to remove air bubble and really pack down.
Move to freezer to set faster.
Once the middle layer feels firm enough you can begin to melt your chocolate.
To do this, boil a couple inches of water in a pot and use a heat safe bowl to place on top of the pot (making sure its big enough to not fall through!) Add your chocolate chips into the bowl and keep stiring with a spatula until the chocolate has melted.
Pour over the middle layer and add your crushed candy canes.