A Town Called Nanaimo.

Hello, and welcome to my nook of the internet. This blog will contain my undocumented love for all things sweet, interviews with Ottawa’s local businesses, and my take on their desserts. 

Fun facts:

  • I love desserts. 
  • I frequent local bakeries and dessert shops in hopes of finding something new. 
  • These sugary pieces of heaven are often devoured in less than five minutes. 
  • I’d like to think that they find a way to escape my grasp.

Why do all desserts leave me? 

Today's focus: Mandi Loo. She is the owner of Ottawa’s first commercial vegan bakery, Auntie Loo’s Treats. She created these pieces of perfection.

Auntie Loo's Nanaimo Bars.

They probably have their own cult following. 

I tried to recreate this little gem at home. The base was the most challenging part. I needed to find something that complemented everything else. Two amazing moments occurred in my kitchen: I found out how to make chocolate bars, and I also rediscovered my long lost icing recipe. 


To be noted: cookie dough is a wonderful base for this.

I have not attempted to create a non-vegan recipe, so I cannot vouch for the results. You should be able to substitute the non-vegan equivalent(s). Use your own discretion with taste and texture.

Let us begin.


Difficulty level: 4.

You melt stuff. Attempt to not eat all of the icing. Also, knowledge of freezing things is required.


 Bottom Layer:

Grease an 8x8 glass baking dish. Grab a large mixing bowl.


  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup oats
  • ⅓ cup ground almonds
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp water
  • Dash of vanilla extract
  • Dash of salt

Mix thoroughly. Spread it evenly into the baking dish.


Middle Layer:

Grab another bowl and a sturdy fork or hand mixer.

Toss in:

  • ½ cup vegan butter
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups icing/confectioner’s sugar

Mash things until they’re smooth and whipped. Taste it. Does it taste awesome? Yes? Good.

Spread it across the cookie layer. Cover it and throw it into the freezer for half an hour.


Top Layer:

Grab a small saucepan. Throw the following into it, and melt:

  • 6 blocks Baker’s chocolate, 100% cocoa
  • 1 tbsp coconut butter
  • 4 tbsp cocoa butter (optional)

Pour it over the other layers, and return it to the freezer for 45 minutes.

After several bent forks, I managed to find a knife to cut out this little square. 

 Sink in, and enjoy!


Sanja Valentina Cimesa

Val is an aspiring editor and loves all things creative. She splits her time between kitchen shenanigans,  painting surrealist pieces, and being an active member of the alternative model community. She travels often with her bicycle, Charlotte.

She has been featured in Snap Oshawa, Carleton University’s Self Defense Ad campaign and Farm Boy’s Recipe section.

Connect with me: Facebook. Twitter. Model Mayhem.


Blogs I follow: Chocolate Covered Katie. Oh She Glows. Cooking Comically