Benjamin’s Bites Gluten-Free, Allergy-Friendly Nanaimo Bars! Super Easy!

gluten free Benjamin's BitesHere’s an innovative recipe idea from the maker of gluten-free, allergen-friendly Benjamin’s Bites for Nanaimo Bars using their Double Dark Chocolate Cookies!

“Pick up a 336g package of our Double Dark Cookies. Crush and press into your pan. This mixture becomes your bottom layer. Next comes the creamy middle filling and finally a layer of chocolate. Use your favorite Nanaimo Bar recipe. I made our Nanaimo Bars vegan. One word……MMMmmmmmm!”

Nanaimo Bar Recipe from City of Nanaimo, British Columbia!

Where to purchase Benjamin’s Bites!

NEW! Benjamin’s Bites Now at

vegan Nanaimo BarsVegan (Dairy-Free) Nanaimo Bar Recipe from Oh She Glows (Click here to print.)
(adapted from a family recipe as well as Joyce Hardcastle, 1986)

Classic Vanilla Ingredients

Bottom Layer (336g package Double Dark Chocolate Benjamin’s Bites) or

  • 1/2 cup vegan butter (or regular butter)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 5 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp warm water, mixed)
  • 1 and ¼ cup vegan graham crackers 
  • 1/4 cup almonds, processed fine
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut

Middle layer

  • 1/2 cup vegan butter (or regular butter)
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk, full-fat (not light)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp vanilla custard powder
  • 2 cups icing/confectioner’s sugar, sifted

Top layer

  • 4 oz non-dairy dark chocolate or semi-sweet plus 2 tbsp vegan butter (or regular butter) (See Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips)
  • Shredded coconut, to garnish (optional)


1. Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment paper and grease with butter on all sides. Leave a few inches of parchment hanging on the two ends so you can easily lift it up out of the pan when firm.

2. Middle layer:

I prefer to begin making the middle layer because it will be ready when your
bottom layer is pressed into the pan. In a small bowl, mix together the 2 tbsp of coconut milk and 1 tsp of vanilla with the 2 tbsp custard powder. Stir until smooth.
With an electric mixer, beat the butter in a large bowl until smooth and creamy. Now add in thecustard, coconut milk, and vanilla mixture and beat for a few minutes. Gradually, add in the icing sugar and beat for about 3-5 minutes until light and fluffy. Set aside.

3. Bottom layer:

In a small bowl mix the flax egg together (1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp warm water). Set aside for a few minutes to allow it to thicken up. In a saucepan, whisk together the butter, sugar, and sifted cocoa powder. Heat on medium to low and stir frequently until smooth. Now add in the gelled up flax egg and stir well. It will have a strange gel-like consistency now, but have no fear! Stir for a minute or so. Now remove from heat and stir in the coconut, processed almonds, and graham wafer crumbs. Stir well and then mix with your hands. Press this mixture into your prepared pan, ensuring that you press it down very firmly and as
evenly as possibly. I used a pastry roller to smooth it out, but this is not necessary.

4. Take your middle layer frosting and spread over top of the bottom layer. Smooth it out as evenly as possible. Place in the freezer until firm, about 45 mins.

5. Top Layer: Melt your chocolate and butter in a double boiler or carefully in the microwave. Stir well until smooth and all clumps are gone. Remove the pan from freezer and spread the chocolate quickly over the top. Sprinkle coconut on top if desired. Smooth out as much as possible and then place back in the freezer for about 1 hour until set. Once set you can transfer it to the fridge to keep until ready or you can place it on the counter for about 10 minutes before cutting it into squares. Makes about 16 small squares.

Note: Middle layer gets very soft at room temperature. Please keep in the fridge until serving and always cut when chilled.

mint chip nanaimo barsFor Mint Chip and Pomegranate Almond flavours please see this pdf:

pomegranite nanaimo bars

 local gluten-free baker

Shoppers on Vancouver Island are very familiar with dedicated mom, Debbie Esposito and her determination to create a cookie that her food-sensitive toddler Benjamin could enjoy.
Many batches of cookies later, Benjamin’s Bites‘ was born, free of the top allergens:  gluten, eggs, soy, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame seeds or sulphites. Benjamin’s has become the go-to cookie for anyone who loves a delicious treat!  In 2013, Benjamin’s Sunbutter, Chocolate Chip and Double Dark Chocolate Benjamin’s Bites became available in Victoria and across Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.

When Benjamin’s Bites undertook Gluten-Free Certification,  the company became a proud sponsor of the Canadian Celiac Association Gluten-Free Living Classes in Victoria, British Columbia. Children and parents alike delighted in learning that gluten-free could taste this great!

Pick BC First

In the summer of 2015, Benjamin’s Bites was invited to partner in  Thrifty Foods’ Pick BC First Campaign! Soon enough, we were able to watch Debbie and The Benjamin himself on TV here and here, hear about them on local radio and see giant sized posters of them at Thrifty Foods stores everywhere.