Nanaimo Bars, courtesy of A Dash of Compassion

I’ve made these nanaimo bars twice and have had great success both times. They were more perfect the second time – it is PIVOTAL that you take your time making these for them to succeed – but they were delicious both times.

Original recipe here.

I’ve always used tapioca or corn starch in place of arrowroot. It can also be made with success without the vanilla bean seeds, which not everyone can afford or even find, but do add more vanilla extract (another teaspoon should do it) to replace it. I made a double recipe of the cinnamon graham cookies when I made them the first time and ended up with enough cookie for three batches… and these cookies are not sweet enough to be eaten on their own. It’s great if you want to have a cache of graham crumbs, though.

Photo courtesy a Dash of Compassion.

I’m reposting this recipe simply because I cannot stand the idea of losing it!

Nanaimo bars from A Dash of Compassion

Bottom layer:
1/2 cup vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)
1/4 cup organic cane sugar
5 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
1/4 cup almonds
1 tbsp ground flax + 2 tbsp warm water
1 1/2 cups cookie crumbs (see recipe below)
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

Middle layer:
1/2 cup vegan butter
2 tbsp nondairy milk (I use coconut)
1 tbsp arrowroot
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Seeds of 1 vanilla bean
2 cups vegan powdered sugar

Top layer:
4 oz. dark chocolate
2 tbsp vegan butter


Bottom layer:
In a medium saucepan, combine the vegan butter and sugar and cook over low heat until melted. Add the cocoa and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat.
In a food processor, process the almonds to a fine meal. Add the flax mixture, cookie crumbs and coconut flakes and pulse to combine.
Add the chocolate sauce to the dry ingredients in the food processor and process until thoroughly combined.
Press the mixture into the bottom of an 8 x 8-inch square pan. Set aside.

Middle layer:
Using an electric mixer, beat the vegan butter until light and fluffy.
In a small bowl, whisk together the nondairy milk, arrowroot, vanilla extract and vanilla bean seeds. Add the mixture to the butter and beat until well combined.
Gradually add the powdered sugar and beat for a few minutes until light and fluffy.
Spread the mixture evenly over top of the bottom layer using an offset spatula and place in the freezer until firm, about one hour.

Top layer:
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over medium-low heat and then stir in the vegan butter. Remove from heat.
Remove the pan from the freezer and then sit for about 10 minutes. Then spread the chocolate evenly over the top using an offset spatula. Work quickly or else the chocolate will start to harden. Place the pan in the freezer for at least an hour to set. See above for tips on cutting the squares without breaking the chocolate.

Cinnamon graham crackers


1/2 cup + 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
1/4 cup unbleached AP flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp nondairy milk
1 1/2 tbsp sunflower or canola oil
1 1/2 tbsp molasses
2 tbsp pure agave nectar


In a large bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, unbleached flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.
In a small bowl, whisk together the nondairy milk, oil, molasses and agave nectar.
Add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture and stir to combine.
In between two pieces of parchment paper, roll out the dough into a rectangle about 1/4-inch thick. Transfer the dough to a cookie pan lined with parchment paper (no need to cut them into squares since you’ll be processing them into crumbs after baking). Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool completely.
Put the cookies in a food processor and process into crumbs. This should make about 1 1/2 cups, enough for the Nanaimo bar bottom layer.

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