Aug 122022

Canadian Nanaimo Bars

Canadian Nanaimo Bars

Earlier in the summer, on the Queen’s Jubilee to be exact, I received the long awaited email that my indefinite leave to remain application had been approved. This means I have permanent settled status in the UK and no longer need to worry about visas and being deported! It was such a great surprise to receive that news on the Queen’s Jubilee. Moreover, I got the news a month earlier than expected! In celebration of my indefinite leave to remain, we had a little family party. I have always thought of myself as having two homes and I will always be a Canadian living in the UK. Therefore, in true Canuck spirit, I made my British in-laws Canadian Nanaimo Bars.

Adapting a Canadian Recipe for the UK

I had to adapt the traditional Nanaimo Bar recipe slightly.  It is pretty much impossible to buy graham crackers in the UK, and Brits often measure in grams. I like to think of this version of Canadian Nanaimo Bars as a true representation of my self, Canadian with a hint of British flair. For my non-Canadian readers, Nanaimo Bars are a classic Canadian no-bake dessert. They are sweet bars with a base of crumbled cookie, coconut, nut, and chocolate. They have a custard icing centre and a top layer of chocolate ganache. Nanaimo Bars are best served chilled and store well in the freezer. I have been known to gnaw on them directly out of the freezer… You can check out the dedicated Wikipedia page on Nanaimo Bars for more details!

Canadian Nanaimo Bars

A classic Canadian no-bake dessert bar with chocolate crumb, custard, and chocolate ganache.
Total Time 2 hours
Course Dessert
Cuisine Canadian


Biscuit Crumb Base

  • 100 g. Blanched Almonds roughly ground
  • 250 g Digestive Biscuits crushed (approx. 2/3 pack)
  • 100 g. Desiccated Coconut flaked
  • 125 g. Butter softened
  • 1 Egg
  • 50 g. White Sugar
  • 5 tbsp. Cocoa Powder

Custard Layer

  • 2 tbsp. Bird's Custard Powder
  • 250 g. Icing Sugar
  • 125 g. Butter softened
  • 3 tbsp. Whipping Cream I used lactose free

Chocolate Ganache

  • 250 g. 50% Dark Chocolate
  • 4 tbsp. Butter


Crumb Base

  • Using a double boiler, combine the butter, sugar, and cocoa powder. Stir frequently until melted and smooth.
  • Whisk your egg and then temper it by adding a bit of the hot mixture at a time, whisking quickly.
  • Gradually add the tempered egg to the chocolate mixture in the double boiler, whisking constantly until thick for 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and add in the cookie crumbs, almonds, and coconut. Mix until well combined.
  • Press firmly and evenly into an un-greased 8x8 inch baking pan.

Custard Layer

  • Cream together the butter, whipping cream and custard powder until light and fluffy. Gradually mix in the icing sugar until smooth.
  • Spread the icing evenly over the crumb base.
  • Place the pan in the fridge or freezer and make sure the mixture is completely chilled.

Chocolate Ganache

  • Once the mixture is completely cooled, melt your dark chocolate and butter in a double boiler on low heat.
  • Spread the melted chocolate over the chilled bars. Using a clean wet knife, score through the ganache layer to cut into bars. This prevents the chocolate from cracking.
  • Chill the bars completely before serving. They can be frozen.
Keyword Canadian, Nanaimo Bar


For more Canadian Posts, see:

Celebrating 10 Years of Living in the UK

Butter Tarts and Mince Pies – a new beginning

Cream of Wheat Berry Muffins


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