Canadian Nanaimo Bars


I love the idea of swapping recipes with friends, especially exotic recipes from other countries. So when Tesco invited me to take part to this year’s Festive Food Swap, I happily accepted. I had no idea which recipe I would receive in the post and I was very excited when I found out it was Nanaimo Bars!

Canadian Nanaimo Bars

I first tasted nanaimo bars four or five years ago in Leeds (of all places!), they were made from a local baker (a Canadian expat) and available in different flavours. I loved them!


The bars are named after the city of Nanaimo in British Columbia, Canada and are traditionally made of three layers: a biscuit crumbs base + custard flavoured butter icing + chocolate glaze.

They don’t need baking and are fairly easy to make (although it took me longer than the 45-minute preparation time stated in the recipe).


The idea behind Tesco’s festive food swap was to inspire people to experience new flavours this holiday season. This recipe was shared with me by Canadian blogger Mediocre Mum and sourced from Nigella Lawson community recipes.

festive recipe swap tesco-1

To get me into the Christmas spirit, Tesco also sent me two big hamper boxes full of seasonal treats, including a very tasty Panettone. I will slowly eat my way through the rest of the boxes, I think I have enough sweets now to last me until the new year! :)

tesco christmas hamper-1


For the base layer

  • 110g butter
  • 50g sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 200g digestive biscuits
  • 80g desiccated coconut

For the second layer

  • 55g butter, softened
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 240g icing sugar
  • 2 tbps custard powder

For the final layer

  • 140g semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 tbsp butter


Grease a 23cm square baking pan. In a small bowl, break the digestive biscuits into crumbs and set aside.


In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar and cocoa powder and then gradually whisk in the beaten egg. Return the saucepan to low heat and stir in the vanilla extract, biscuit crumbs and coconut. Press evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Cover with cling film and refrigerate while you prepare the second layer.

In your electric mixer, beat together the butter, milk, icing sugar and custard powder. Add a little bit of milk if the mixture is too thick. Spread over the cooled base layer.

Melt the chocolate in a pot over simmering water.  Very slowly stir in the butter. Spread the melted chocolate evenly over the filling and refrigerate until the chocolate is set. Cut into small bars using a sharp knife.

[note: I wasn’t happy with how the top chocolate layer looked, so I spread a thin layer of chocolate glaze, which is why the chocolate looks so shiny. It is not required if you want to make nanaimo bars!]


Disclaimer: I received a Tesco voucher to buy the ingredients to make this recipe. All opinions are my own.

You Might Also Like

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

[…] national and international Nanaimo fans alike with their large selection of both the traditional nanaimo bars (three layers of chocolate, crumb, and custard) and more modern twists (such as Matcha Green Tea). […]


[…] original idea was to have a few drinks and nibbles (and eat all the cakes I received in the Tesco Christmas Hamper). As usual though, the fear of leaving my guests hungry kicked in and I ended up making two of […]

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
Read previous post:
Turkish mosaic cake
Turkish Mosaic Cake / Mozaik Pasta Tarifi

Yesterday some really awesome happened, my blog turned 4 years old! To celebrate my blog anniversary and in homage to...