Canada is not necessarily known for its desserts, but the Nanaimo bars are an icon.

My version, of course, is a child of the Tropics: local Rum, candied citrus from the island, and the touch of Japanese crackers on top adds some needed crunch. I know…I know…the recipe calls for coconut and almonds, which I substituted with oats. In fact, I like the way they taste, and their mouthfeel in the recipe, better than the original ingredients.

To keep the Spiked Nanaimo bars more elegant I added a Rum soaked wafer sheet which you can find here:


The combination of dark chocolate rum with the creamy custard, and the puffed millet crunchy base, is definitely a keeper.

Having so many friends who have tree nut allergy, I substituted the ingredient with oats, which are a definite yes!! In conclusion, my Spiked Nanaimo bars are so good that will make any Canadian jealous, and slightly tipsy.

Try them today!

Video recipe of the day

  • DifficultyVery easy
  • CostMedium
  • Preparation time45 Minutes
  • Rest time1 Hour
  • Serving12
  • Cooking methodNo cooking
  • CuisineFusion


Ingredients for the cookie base:

5.5 oz Cookie pieces (Such as Chips Ahoy chunky)
4 oz Butter (unsalted, room temperature)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg (Large, beaten)
1/4 cup puffed rice (or Millet)
1/3 cup cocoa powder (Dutch Processed if possible)
3.5 oz oats (quick)
2 tablespoons candied orange zests (minced)
1/4 teaspoon salt (Kosher)

Ingredients for the Vanilla Cream Layer

1 Thick wafer sheet (Optional)
4 oz Butter (unsalted, room temperature)
2 cups powdered cane sugar (scant)
1 pinch salt
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons rum (Chocolate flavored or similar)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Ingredients for the Chocolate Cover

5 oz dark chocolate (wafers or bars)
2 tablespoons olive oil


1 Pan
1 Spatula


Prepare the cookie base

First, scale and measure all the dry ingredients: the cookie chunks, millet, cocoa and oats. Mix to self sift and set aside.

Second: in a small casserole, bring to a light simmer the butter with sugar and salt. When it starts to simmer, remove from heat and add the candied zests. Keep mixing to reduce the core temperature to below 140° . Use the silicon spatula to incorporate the egg into the mix, stirring well.

Now add the dry mix and incorporate it with the silicon spatula, until no streaks are visible.

Pour the dough onto the pan (no need to oil it) and, with your wet hands, press the cookie dough onto the base, as leveled as possible. You can use the off set spatula to help you smoothen the surface.

Place in the refrigerator to chill while you prepare the filling.

Prepare the Vanilla filling

Using the hand held mixer, beat the soft butter with the custard, milk and powder sugar. At the beginning the mix will be dry, then, after a couple of minutes will get smoother. Add another tablespoon of milk if needed. The filling, however, should be quite firm. Pour the vanilla and mix for a few extra seconds.

Scoop the filling over the chilled base and spread it, gently. Again, level it off using the offset spatula.

Prepare one sheet of wafer to size, cutting off the excess with scissors or a knife. The sheet should fit not too snuggly over the vanilla filling. Press gently to adhere, and brush with the rum to taste, but 2 Tablespoons was enough for me. You don’t want those wafers too soggy.

Place in the freezer while you prepare the chocolate layer.

Prepare the chocolate layer

Microwave the chocolate and olive oil in 30 seconds intervals, stirring every time, until the chocolate has melted completely. Pour over the frozen layer of wafer and spread, leveling off with the metal offset spatula.

Garnish with salt, japanese crackers pearls …or more candied fruit…or nothing.

Refrigerate 3 hours or until firmly set before portioning.

NOTE: to ensure perfect cuts, I keep the knife in a large glass of hot water, wipe it dry then score the surface. Chill again so the chocolate won’t leave streaks. Then cut .


The bars keep 7 days refrigerated or frozen and cut for up to 3 months.

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