Awhile back, a reader asked me if I could make a sugar-free version of Nanaimo bars, and she sent me this recipe. I hadn’t heard of Nanaimo bars before, but as soon as I saw that original recipe, I was very excited for the task.
I can’t believe I had never heard of Nanaimo bars before – they are so up my alley. This is just another reason why I should spend more time in Canada. Traditional Nanaimo bars are made of: a bottom crust with graham crumbs, cocoa, coconut, sugar, and butter, a middle custard layer, and a top layer of chocolate.
Just from reading the description, you’re probably already sold on why you need to make them. These bars have everything I love in a good dessert – multiple flavors & textures, layers, chocolate, and coconut!
While traditional Nanaimo bars are made with gluten, dairy, and sugar, this healthier version is completely paleo and sugar-free! And when I say sugar-free, I mean sugar-free. There are no sweeteners added at all – no xylitol, erythritol, monkfruit, stevia, coconut sugar, or any other “healthy” sugar alternative. These bars are “sweet” from the natural flavors of food, which makes them better for your blood sugar and easier on your gut.
Plus, you’ll actually feel satisfied after eating them. Sometimes sweeteners trick our bodies into thinking we want more food, even when we’re full. These Nanaimo bars are high in healthy fats, so they’ll keep you satiated and help you avoid the sugar rush.
To make these bars, make one layer at a time, starting with the bottom “graham” crust, and pour each layer on top of the other. All you need is a sauce pan and a blender! Once all layers are made and placed on top of each other, simply refrigerate or freeze the bars until they’ve hardened.
If you love chocolate and coconut but you’re watching your sugar intake, then these are for you! The chewy graham-crumb bottom, creamy center, and rich chocolate on top are truly the perfect trio. This dessert is paleo, keto-friendly, completely sweetener-free, and something you can store in the freezer for months so you always have a healthy, sweet treat!
Sugar-Free Nanaimo Bars (Paleo / Keto)
Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 12-16 thick Nanaimo bars
- 3/4 cup coconut butter
- 1/4 cup almond butter
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 4 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 3/4 cup almond flour
- 1 cup coconut flakes
- 1 egg
Middle Cream Layer: (cut measurements in half for thinner bars)
- 1 cup cashews, soaked
- 1 cup coconut butter, melted
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 4 tbsp almond flour
Top Chocolate Layer: (cut measurements in half for thinner bars)
- 12 oz dark chocolate (100% dark or baker’s bar to make it sugar-free)
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp coconut butter
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 2 tbsp vanilla
- 3/4 tsp salt
- Line an 8×8 pan baking pan with parchment paper or grease with coconut oil.
- Put a small saucepan over medium heat and add in all the ingredients for the bottom layer of the bars, leaving the egg for last. Mix together thoroughly until everything is well incorporated.
- Put the mixture at the bottom of the baking pan, pressing down on top to create an even layer.
- Add all of the middle cream layer ingredients into a high-powered blender or food processor. Blend until the mixture is completely smooth.
- Pour the cream layer on top of the bottom layer in the baking pan. Spread the top to create an even layer that reaches all sides of the pan.
- Put the top chocolate layer ingredients except for the vanilla in the small saucepan over low-medium heat. Allow the chocolate to melt, and stir everything together well. Once everything is melted and well-mixed, turn off the heat. Mix in the vanilla.
- Pour the chocolate layer evenly on top of the cream layer.
- Place the baking tray in the freezer for about 1-2 hours, or the fridge for 2-4 hours.
- Once the bars have hardened completely, cut them into squares the size of your liking. Store extras in the fridge or freezer!