Go Back
+ servings
A side photo of nanaimo bars on a white marble table

Caramel + Coconut Nanaimo Bars

Canadian Nanaimo bars with a coconut-caramel cookie base, creamy caramel filling, and dark chocolate!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Canadian
Servings 12


Cookie Crust

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 7.5 - 8.5 oz package coconut-caramel cookies (Samoas, Caramel deLites, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts or almonds chopped
  • 1 cup shredded coconut unsweetened

Caramel Custard

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp vanilla custard powder
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup caramel sauce, homemade or store-bought
  • Pinch salt

Chocolate Ganache

  • 4 oz baking chocolate
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Extra cookies, nuts, coconut, caramel for garnish (optional)


  • For the cookie crust, remove three or four cookies from the package, and set them aside for garnish (optional). Pulse the rest of the cookies in a food processor until the crumbs are uniform. You can also do this by placing the cookies in a bag and crushing them with a rolling pin. Melt the butter, sugar, and cocoa on the stove over medium heat. When it’s combined, mix 1/4 cup of the mixture into the egg to temper. Add egg mixture back to the chocolate mixture and stir over the heat until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and stir in cookie crumbs, almonds, and coconut. Press into a greased 8×8 or 9x9 baking pan. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
  • To make the caramel custard, beat the butter and custard powder until fluffy. Beat in the powdered sugar until the custard is very fluffy and has doubled in size, about five minutes. Add the caramel sauce and salt. The custard should be fluffy but not runny. Pour the custard over the crust layer and refrigerate for about 15-20 minutes, or until the custard is cold and somewhat firm.
  • While the buttercream firms, heat the chocolate and butter over low heat until melted. Spread chocolate evenly over firm buttercream layer. Sprinkle chopped cookies, nuts, and coconut over the top, and refrigerate until chocolate is hardened. Cut into 12 bars or into bite sized pieces. Bring to room temperature before serving.


Oh, wait. You don’t keep at least one extra box of Samoas in your freezer for important candy-making needs? Use any caramel-coconut cookie you can find. There is a brand that will work, and I will not mention by name, but it rhymes with Neebler. Please note that different cookie brands will have different sized packages. As long as you use between a 7.5 - 8.5 ounce cookie package, you'll be fine!


Serving: 1barCalories: 374kcalCarbohydrates: 45gProtein: 3.1gFat: 21.6gSaturated Fat: 14.2gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 188mgPotassium: 122mgFiber: 2.5gSugar: 33.3gCalcium: 33mgIron: 2mg
Keyword bars, canadian food, caramel, coconut
Did you make this recipe?Tag @serendipitybysaralynn on Instagram!