Real Deal Nanaimo Bars (Primal)

Real Deal Nanaimo Bars (Primal)

The first time I made Nanaimo Bars, I had no idea what I was in for. It was an assignment, per say, and I was just along for the ride. Guys, I'm just going to spoil the story now and tell you that in this case, trusting in the journey was the right move --> those bars were amazing. 

A few months later I made Nanaimo Bars again, but this time it was my own inspiration that got me in the kitchen. I want to put a little twist on the classic Canadian dessert. I added lime zest to the custardy filling and topped each slice with candied lime peel. Those bars were 💛💚💛💚💛.

Real Deal Nanaimo Bars (Primal)

So of course I didn't just move on when I dropped grains from my diet: I found a way to make a whole-food, real-deal Nanaimo Bar. One that uses unrefined sweeteners (maple syrup nonetheless, to make these Canadian bars even more Canadian!), grain-free flours, and no custard powder (which is a key ingredient in most Nanaimo Bars), and real cocoa powder (I used this cocoa powder, from Anthony's Goods). 

If you're guessing that these real-deal bars are even better than that first batch I ever made, you're right! 💯 There is no reason to go back to the other bars. 

Real Deal Nanaimo Bars (Primal)
Real Deal Nanaimo Bars (Primal)

Anthony's Goods provided me with product for this blog post, but the recipes and opinions are all my own. Working with brands to develop wholesome recipes is one way I keep Foraged Dish going! Anthony's Goods helps me stock the pantry and keep the blog going. I only work with brands that I truly enjoy and use.  

Real Deal Nanaimo Bars

Paleo, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free,    |       |    Print This Recipe

This dessert is a traditional Canadian dessert. My spin used grain-free flours and maple syrup, for real-deal flavor.

Serves: 12   |    Total Time:


    Base layer:
  • 1-1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil (melted)

  • Middle Layer:
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2/3 sticks butter, sliced into 1/4-inch pats

  • Top Layer:
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F and prepare your baking pan: line a 9x9 baking pan with parchment, or grease it well with coconut oil. Then, prepare the base layer: In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the almond meal, cocoa powder, shredded coconut, coconut flour, salt, and baking soda. Then, stir in the melted coconut oil and the honey until a consistent dough forms. Press dough into 9x9 pan in an even layer. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from heat and set on cool wrack.
  2. Next, make the middle layer: whisk the egg yolk until frothy in a medium-sized mixing bowl with an electric mixer. Pour the maple syrup into a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Boil until a candy thermometer reads 240°F or the syrup just begins to reach the soft ball stage (drop a bit of syrup into a glass of cold water—the syrup should stay as a drop, rather than dissolving immediately into the water, however it should be moldable between your fingers). For the next part, move quickly: while beating the egg yolk with an electric mixer, slowly pour the maple syrup into the bowl in a steady stream. Doing this slowly will allow you to whisk the syrup in with out getting scrambled eggs! Once the syrup has been poured in, continue to beat for 5 more minutes. Then, add the butter 1 pat at a time to the bowl, beating the whole time. Once the pat is creamed into the maple mixture, add another. Repeat until all of the butter is creamed in and the frosting is fluffy.
  3. Wait until the base layer is 100% cool to the touch before adding the frosting (I let mine cool in the fridge for several hours). Then, spread the frosting over the cookie layer. Place in freezer.
  4. Finally, make the topping: melt coconut oil and maple syrup in a small sauce pan. Once melted, whisk in cocoa powder. Set aside to cool at least 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove bars from the freezer and pour the chocolate mixture over top, gently spreading it around so that the entire top is covered. Return to freezer for 15 more minutes before slicing into squares and serving. Store in freezer in air-tight container.