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Salted caramel Nanaimo bars
5 from 4 votes

Salted Caramel Nanaimo Bars

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Canadian
Keyword: caramel, chocolate, gluten-free
Servings: 16
Author: Ai Willis
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Bottom layer

  • ½ cup / 113g unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup / 50g granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 cup gluten-free graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup / 65g coconut (flakes, shredded, or dessicated)
  • ½ cup / 45g sliced almonds

Custard buttercream

  • ¼ cup / 56g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • ¾ teaspoon / 6g milk powder
  • ¾ teaspoon / 6g cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of turmeric (optional - for color)
  • 1¼ cups / 150g powdered sugar
  • tablespoons heavy cream

Salted caramel (can substitute store-bought)

  • ½ cup / 100g granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons / 42.5g unsalted butter, cubed
  • ¼ cup / 60ml heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon fleur de sel (flaky sea salt)

Chocolate ganache

  • 4oz / 120g chopped dark chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon / 14g unsalted butter


Bottom layer

  • Grease and line an 8x8-inch square pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • 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. Once the mixture is combined, stir in the cracker crumbs, coconut, almond, and press into the prepared pan. Put it in the refrigerator to chill.

Custard buttercream

  • In a bowl, beat the butter until fluffy and creamy. Add the milk powder, cornstarch, vanilla, salt, turmeric (if using) and continue to beat.
  • Add the powdered sugar in three parts, beating after each addition. Once incorporated, beat in the heavy cream. Take the pan out of the fridge and spread the buttercream over the bottom layer. Put it back in the refrigerator to chill.

Salted caramel

  • 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. Continue cooking the sugar until it turns a deep amber color (about 350°F/175°C).
  • 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. Let it cool to room temperature and spread it over the buttercream layer. Place the pan back in the fridge to chill.

Chocolate ganache

  • 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. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour before cutting and serving.
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