Kahlua Nanaimo Bars. A celebration of my favourite coffee liqueur and my favourite Canadian cookie bar. Perfect for the Holidays.

Kahlua Nanaimo Bars

Kahlua Nanaimo Bars

I have tasted a coffee version of Nanaimo bars in my travels before and at first thought I would just add some espresso powder to the filling to get the flavour I wanted. Thinking that coffee can be an overwhelming flavour though, I decided a more subtle approach might work.

After making a batch of Irish Cream Nanaimo Bars earlier in the week, I settled on a Kahlua version which would be a bit more complex in flavour. Since Kahlua is comprised of rum, vanilla bean and coffee, it was bound to be a more subtle coffee flavour.

In my opinion it worked very well. With some Kahlua in the filling, and again like the Bailey’s version, a little in the chocolate top layer, the coffee flavour comes through without being overpowering.

Kahlua Nanaimo Bars

Kahlua Nanaimo Bars

Again with this recipe I have included my new and improved base for these cookie bars. With what is essentially a thick buttercream frosting centre, I found myself wanting more of the chocolatey, nutty flavoured bottom layer to balance out the sweetness better.

I first used this new and improved base in my updated version of Classic Nanaimo Bars and it got a very positive response. I will however, include the original measurements for the base in the recipe notes here, just in case you prefer the thinner cookie bar.

One of the other things worth noting in making Nanaimo Bars of any flavour is the choice of nuts in the bottom. I get asked questions all the time about substituting them. My answer is generally, “Use what you like.”

Since these are all no-bake cookie recipes, I think it is important to toast any nuts before chopping or grinding them finely to use in the recipe. The flavour will be so much better. 

Generally, most nuts like pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds will take from 7-10 minutes in a preheated 350 degree F oven. Lay them out in a single layer on a cookie sheet and toss once during the cooking time.

Let you nose guide you, the nuts will begin to smell quite toasty and delicious when they are done. They should also be hot enough that you would not pick them up with your fingers. If its not completely heated through, it isn’t properly toasted.

These Kahlua Nanaimo Bars are sure to be the hit of the upcoming festive season. Make them for your own cookie trays, give a dozen as a terrific hostess gift or make several batches for your annual Christmas cookie exchange. Wherever these show up they are sure to be an instant hit!

If you liked this recipe you many want to check out this great collection of No Bake Cookies that was incredibly popular during our last Holiday season.

Kahlua Nanaimo Bars

Kahlua Nanaimo Bars

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Be sure to check out all the other flavours in our Nanaimo Bars Collection!

Kahlua Nanaimo Bars

The Nanaimo Bar Recipe Collection

Kahlua Nanaimo Bars

Kahlua Nanaimo Bars

Kahlua Nanaimo Bars – a celebration of my favourite coffee liqueur and my favourite Canadian cookie bar. Perfect for the Holidays.

Course:

Cookies/Bars

Cuisine:

Canadian Inspired

Servings: 24 cookie bars

Ingredients

For the Base Layer

  • 3/4
    cup
    butter
  • 1/3
    cup
    sugar
  • 8
    tbsp
    cocoa
  • 2
    beaten eggs
  • 2 1/4
    cups
    graham cracker crumbs
  • 3/4
    cup
    fine or medium unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2
    cup
    finely chopped walnuts

For the the Kahlua Frosting Filling

  • 3/4
    cup
    butter
  • 4 1/2
    cups
    icing sugar i.e.
    powdered sugar or confectioners sugar
  • 1/3
    cup
    Kahlua liqueur

For the Chocolate Topping

  • 1
    cup
    chocolate chips
  • 1/4
    cup
    Kahlua liqueur

Instructions

To Prepare the Base Layer

  1. In a small saucepan, melt together the butter, sugar and cocoa over low heat.

  2. Add the beaten egg and continue to cook, stirring constantly to fully cook the egg with the mixture resembling a soft scrambled egg texture.

  3. Add the graham crumbs, coconut and walnuts.

  4. Mix together until well combined then, press into the bottom of a parchment paper lined 9×9 inch baking pan.

To prepare the Kahlua Frosting Filling

  1. With an electric mixer, beat together the butter, icing sugar and Kahlua until very smooth.

  2. This frosting should be very stiff but spreadable. If you think it’s too thick, you may add a few drops of Kahlua at a time to bring it to the right consistency. If it is too soft, add a little more icing sugar.

  3. Spread evenly over the bottom layer. Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours before adding the chocolate topping.

To prepare the Chocolate Topping

  1. Melt the chocolate chips and Kahlua together over low heat, just until the chocolate is melted, don’t over heat it.

  2. Spread quickly over the chilled frosted layer. Return to the fridge until the chocolate sets.

  3. Cut into squares or bars. These freeze very well.

Recipe Notes

Here is the ingredient list for the base of the original version of this recipe as noted in the post above. For the Base Layer

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 5 tbsp cocoa
  • one beaten egg
  • 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 3/4 cup fine or medium unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts

Notes on Nuts

One of the other things worth noting in making Nanaimo Bars of any flavour is the choice of nuts in the bottom. I get asked questions all the time about substituting them. My answer is generally, “Use what you like.” Since these are all no-bake cookie recipes, I think it is important to toast any nuts before chopping or grinding them finely to use in the recipe. The flavour will be so much better. Generally, most nuts like pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds will take from 7-10 minutes in a preheated 350 degree F oven. Lay them out in a single layer on a cookie sheet and toss once during the cooking time. Let you nose guide you, the nuts will begin to smell quite toasty and delicious when they are done. They should also be hot enough that you would not pick them up with your fingers. If its not completely heated through, it isn’t properly toasted.

Kahlua Nanaimo Bars
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Kahlua Nanaimo Bars

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