Travel to Canada with these no-bake Nanaimo bars

Joyce Hardcastle Wafer Crumb Chocolate Custard Square Bars Nanaimo Bars Best Canadian Confection Desert Food Recipe

These delicious chocolate squares are Canada’s Favourite Confection by popular vote. It’s hardly surprising as they’re made up of layers and layers of goodness! They start with a wafer crumb crust, followed by custard-flavoured icing, and then topped with melted chocolate.


The Nanaimo bars are named after the west coast Canadian city of Nanaimo while their presence dates as far back as the 1950s. The dessert was so popular that in 1985 Mayor Graeme Roberts started a contest to find the best Nanaimo bar recipe. The winning recipe, created by Nanaimo resident Joyce Hardcastle, was unanimously chosen by a panel of judges.


Join us in discovering the ultimate Nanaimo bar recipe as created by Joyce Hardcastle.


What you need to know

Difficulty: Easy

Preparation Time: 20 Minutes (allow for 2h for refrigeration)

Makes: 12 squares



The crust:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups graham wafer crumbs
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
  • 5 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 egg

The Middle Layer:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp vanilla custard powder
  • 2 cups icing sugar

The Topping:

  • 3/4 cups semisweet chocolate
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter



  1. Use or make a double boiler and place the butter, cocoa powder and sugar in the top bowl. Stir until the butter melts.
  2. Beat the egg and mix with the rest of the ingredients in the top bowl.
  3. Stir until mixture thickens.
  4. Remove bowl from heat and stir in the graham wafer crumbs, coconut and almonds.
  5. Place baking paper on a flat tray.
  6. Press the mixture firmly on the tray to create the first layer.
  7. In a new bowl mix butter, whipping cream and custard butter.
  8. Gradually add icing and mix until light and fluffy.
  9. Pour over the first layer and spread evenly with a spatula.
  10. Use or make another double boiler, placing butter and chocolate in the top bowl.
  11. Mix until melted.
  12. Remove from heat and leave to cool for a few minutes.
  13. Pour over the second layer.
  14. Refrigerate until cold.
  15. Voilà!



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