Nanaimo bars

Nanaimo bars (slice).
Nanaimo bars (slice). Photo: Marina Oliphant

Really a bar cookie, the origins of the Nanaimo bar are hotly disputed by those in many parts of North America. Reader Robyn Shelley found this recipe in Canada and sent it to Epicure in 2005 as part of a slice special.


120g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter

55g (1/4 cup) white sugar

5 tbsp cocoa

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

about 240g of crushed digestive or wholewheat biscuits (about 2 cups, depending on how finely crushed they are)

70g (1 cup) shredded coconut

60g (1/2 cup) chopped walnuts


60g (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened

320g (2 cups) icing sugar - not icing mixture

2 tbsp vanilla custard powder

3 tbsp milk

250g chocolate, your choice of dark or milk

2 tbsp unsalted butter


1. To make the base: Mix the butter, sugar, cocoa, egg and vanilla in a heavy saucepan or double boiler.

2. Stir over low heat until mixture has the consistency of custard.

3. Combine crushed biscuits, coconut and walnut and add to the melted mixture. Mix well and pack into buttered 22.5cm square cake pan.

4. To make the topping: Cream softened butter, icing sugar, custard powder and milk until creamy. Spread over base. Refrigerate until hard.

5. Melt chocolate with the two tablespoons of butter and pour or drizzle over custard icing until it is covered. Eat the leftover runny chocolate with your fingers when no one is looking.

6. Refrigerate. When hard, cut into squares.