How to make the famous Canadian Nanaimo Bar


If you’re looking for an excuse to do some baking, why not try creating a traditional Canadian dessert? The Nanaimo Bar, which gets its name from the city of Nanaimo, located on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, consists of a crunchy biscuit base with a smooth custard layer and deliciously rich chocolate topping.

Sound intriguing? Read on for the best nanaimo bar recipe…

Nanaimo bars ingredients

For the biscuit base (bottom layer)

  • 125g softened butter
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 5 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 200g digestive biscuits, blitzed to crumbs
  • 100g desiccated coconut
  • 50g chopped almonds (optional)

For the custard icing (middle layer)

  • 100g butter, softened
  • 4 tbsp heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp custard powder
  • 250g icing sugar

For the chocolate topping

  • 150g dark chocolate
  • 50g butter

And here’s how to assemble…

First, melt the butter over a saucepan of simmering water, adding the sugar and cocoa powder and stirring now and again until silky smooth.

Next, whisk in the egg for 2-3 minutes until the mixture becomes thick. Remove from heat and stir in the digestive biscuit crumbs, as well as the desiccated coconut and chopped almonds (if you choose to include!) Press into the base of a 20 cm square tin lined with parchment paper and cool in the fridge for 10 mins.

Now it’s time for the custard part! Whisk together the butter, cream and custard powder together until light and fluffy, adding the icing sugar gradually until you’ve stirred it all in. Layer over the biscuit base and chill in the fridge for another 10 minutes. When you take it out the custard should no longer be soft (if it is, put back in the fridge for another few minutes!)

If you’ve resisted the urge not to snack on the chocolate, melt it with the butter in the microwave or over a pan of water. Then pour and spread the melted chocolate mixture over the bars, placing back in the fridge carefully. Now this is the part that requires a little bit of patience…

It will take about two hours for the chocolate to fully set (and you to enjoy this delicious treat!) Simply take out of the tin, cut into squares and serve!

Fancy trying this delicious treat in its birthplace? Book your flights to Vancouver and sail over to Nanaimo via ferry.

Latest on Twitter

Canadian Affair on Facebook

Stay in touch & get regular updates

Sign up to our newsletter...

Invalid email

Thank you for signing up. Please enter your details below.

Please help us make your emails more personalised by filling in these extra details. Rest assured that your privacy is important to us and your details will not be shared with any 3rd party marketing companies. For more information, please read our Privacy Policy. Fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required.

Title is required.
First name*
First name is required.
Last name*
Last name is required
Email address*
Please enter valid email e.g

What are you interested in?

Please select all that apply



Visit Friends
& Family