Salted Caramel Nanaimo Bars

July 1, 2017

Salted Caramel Nanaimo Bars

Happy 150th birthday, Canada!

I made one of Tristan’s favorites: Nanaimo bars. But not just any Nanaimo bars. Nope. These are salted caramel Nanaimo bars. Salted. Caramel. Needless to say, you should make these this weekend whether you’re Canadian or not!

Salted Caramel Nanaimo Bars

For the bottom layer, I used both toasted coconut and toasted almonds. Toasting the nuts first helps to bring out the flavor. I also used salted crackers (Kirkland’s Ancient Grain Crackers) rather than graham crackers since that’s what I had, and it was delicious! After you’ve made the bottom layer mixture, press it into a square pan lined with parchment paper. I folded a piece of plastic wrap and pressed it in using my hand. Keep it in the fridge while you make your middle layer.

Salted Caramel Nanaimo Bars

Almost all Nanaimo bars use custard powder in their middle layer. I had a bag of it in my cupboard but it was long expired because I never use the stuff! I wasn’t about to buy another bag just to have it sit in the cupboard again so I left it out. After combining the ingredients spread it over the bottom layer and put it back in the fridge while you make your salted caramel.

Salted Caramel Nanaimo Bars

Now, you’re probably thinking “Wait, I thought we were making caramel. Why are you showing me a photo of melted chocolate?” Well, I got so excited after making caramel that I completely forgot to take photos. I only used half the amount in my recipe because I personally like a thin layer of caramel, but I’m posting the full amount because I’m sure there are people who would prefer more caramel. After you make the salted caramel, cool it to room temperature before spreading it over the middle layer. I sped up the cooling process by putting the bowl of warm caramel into a bigger bowl with ice water inside and stirring until it was room temperature.

While the Nanaimo bars that are now covered in salted caramel are chilling in the fridge, make the top layer. Put the butter and chocolate into a heatproof bowl, and melt it using a double boiler. Let the chocolate cool before spreading it onto the caramel layer and chilling in the fridge once again.

Salted Caramel Nanaimo Bars

When the salted caramel Nanaimo bars have completely chilled, take them out of the pan and cut them into however many pieces as you like. I waited about an hour before taking the Nanaimo bars out of the fridge and cut them into 16 pieces. I wanted to share these with my coworkers so I halved the pieces before bringing them to work. Although, Tristan was not very keen on sharing so I only brought half the whole batch to work.

Salted Caramel Nanaimo Bars

These salted caramel Nanaimo bars were absolutely delicious! And I’d say even better on the second day. The layers settle and the flavors marry well overnight. The saltiness and slight bitterness of the caramel really pair well with the nutty chocolatey sweetness of the Nanaimo bars.

Not a fan of Nanaimo bars? Try my Moose Tracks muffins instead!

Happy Canada Day!

Salted Caramel Nanaimo Bars

Salted Caramel Nanaimo Bars


    Bottom layer
  • ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1¼ cups (75g) cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup (65g) toasted coconut (flakes/shredded/desiccated)
  • ½ cup toasted sliced almonds
    Middle layer
  • ¼ cup (56g) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • ¾ teaspoon (6g) milk powder
  • ¾ teaspoon (6g) cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla paste
  • Pinch of turmeric (optional - just for color)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1¼ cups powdered sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons heavy cream
    Salted caramel
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon fleur de sel
    Top layer
  • 4 oz (120g) chopped dark chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter


    Bottom layer
  1. Line an 8x8-inch square pan with some parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Using a double boiler, heat the first three ingredients and stir until combined. Take it off the heat and slowly pour in the beaten egg while constantly stirring.
  3. Once the mixture is combined, stir in the cracker crumbs, coconut, almond, and press into the prepared pan.
  4. Put the pan in the refrigerator to chill while preparing the middle layer.
    Middle layer
  1. In a bowl, beat the butter until fluffy and creamy. Add the milk powder, cornstarch, vanilla paste, turmeric, salt, and continue to beat.
  2. Add the powdered sugar in three parts, beating after each addition.
  3. Beat in the heavy cream after the powdered sugar has been incorporated, and spread over the bottom layer. Put the pan back in the refrigerator to chill.
    Salted caramel
  1. Add the granulated sugar to a nonstick pan in an even layer. Heat on medium-high heat until the sugar melts. Swirl the pan as the sugar melts so they melt evenly.
  2. Continue cooking the sugar until it turns a deep amber color (about 350°F/175°C).
  3. Take the pan off the heat, add the butter and stir until all the butter has melted. Add the cream and stir again. Once the cream has been incorporated, add the fleur de sel and stir until all the salt has melted into the caramel.
  4. Let it cool to room temperature and spread over the middle layer. Again, place the pan back in the refrigerator to chill.
    Top layer
  1. In a double boiler, melt dark chocolate and unsalted butter and stir until combined. Let it cool slightly before spreading it over the caramel layer.
  2. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour before cutting and serving.


Recipe adapted from City of Nanaimo.

I’m bringing these salted caramel Nanaimo bars to Angie’s fiesta! Come join us for more delicious recipes!

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Jhuls | The Not So Creative Cook July 1, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    I love anything salted caramel! I bet these are super delicious! Thanks for sharing, Ai! Happy Fiesta Friday!

    • Reply Ai July 1, 2017 at 9:09 pm

      I still have half the salted caramel in my fridge… What to make…
      Happy Fiesta Friday!!

      • Reply Angie | Fiesta Friday July 1, 2017 at 10:24 pm

        Can’t you just get yourself a spoon and start digging in?! Lol ? These Nanaimo bars are absolutely dangerous!! Don’t let me get anywhere near them ? Fantastic, Ai! ??

        • Reply Ai July 1, 2017 at 10:44 pm

          Omg Angie, stop tempting me!? lol
          Happy FF!!

  • Reply July 2, 2017 at 1:43 am

    Everything I love in one bar. I’m with Angie, get me a spoon.

  • Reply Arlene July 2, 2017 at 7:32 am

    Looks wonderful! Happy FF and weekend!

  • Leave a Reply