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Biscuits, Sweets & Treats: Mocha Nanaimo Bars

By Bake Club


Preparation time 45 minutes (plus chilling)

Cooking time 5 minutes

Servings 20 squares

What’s better than an indulgent, chocolate-y treat that requires no baking? These no-bake bars from Canada are named after the west coast city of Nanaimo in British Columbia. Ours are topped with layers of coffee-flavoured buttercream and a feathered chocolate icing, making them totally irresistible. Find out how to get perfect chocolate feathering by watching our techniques video.

  • For the base:
  • Oil for greasing
  • 300g (11oz) digestive biscuits
  • 175g (6oz) unsalted butter
  • 75g (3oz) caster sugar
  • 40g (1½oz) cocoa powder
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 100g (3½oz) desiccated coconut
  • 50g (2oz) walnuts, chopped
  • For the buttercream layer:
  • 75g (3oz) unsalted butter
  • 300g (11oz) icing sugar
  • 3tbsp custard powder
  • 100ml (3½fl oz) double cream
  • 2tbsp strong cold black coffee or coffee liqueur
  • For the chocolate layer:
  • 150g (5oz) dark chocolate
  • 100g (3½oz) milk chocolate
  • 200ml (7fl oz) double cream
  • 25g (1oz) unsalted butter
  • 75g (3oz) white chocolate, melted
  • To make the base

    5 steps

  • 1

    To make the base Grease a rectangular baking pan, measuring about 35cm x 20.5cm x 4cm (14 x 8 x 1½in), and line the base and sides with baking parchment. Reduce the biscuits to coarse crumbs in a food processor or put them in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin.

  • Expert Tip

    To crush biscuits in a food processor, drop them down the feeder tube one at a time with the motor running. If you add them to the bowl all in one go, they won’t crush evenly and you’ll have chunks of biscuit rattling around the bowl.

  • 2

    To make the base Melt the butter in a saucepan, remove from the heat and whisk in the sugar and cocoa powder. Gradually beat in the eggs until combined.

  • 3

    To make the base Put the pan back on the heat and, whisking continuously, cook for 2 minutes until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat again and stir in the vanilla, coconut, biscuit crumbs and chopped walnuts.

  • 4

    To make the base Spoon the mixture into the pan, pressing it down firmly over the base with the back of the spoon in an even layer. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

  • To make the buttercream layer

    2 steps

  • 1

    To make the buttercream layer Using a handheld electric whisk, beat the butter until it is smooth and creamy, then gradually beat in the icing sugar. Slowly mix in the custard powder, cream and coffee or coffee liqueur. Beat on high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy.

  • 2

    To make the buttercream layer Spoon the mixture over the base spreading it evenly with the back of the spoon or a spatula. Chill for a further 30 minutes.

  • To make the chocolate layer

    3 steps

  • 1

    To make the chocolate layer Chop or break the dark and milk chocolates into small pieces and place in a bowl. Bring the cream to the boil, pour over the chocolate and leave to stand for 2 minutes, before stirring until smooth. Add the butter and stir until it melts. Pour the mixture over the buttercream and spread it out in an even layer with a spatula.

  • 2

    To make the chocolate layer To decorate, spoon the melted white chocolate into a paper piping bag, snip off the tip and pipe lines about 1cm (½in) apart across the chocolate layer. Drag a cocktail stick backwards and forwards through the lines at 1cm (½in) intervals, alternating the direction each time, to create a feathered pattern.
    How to do feather icing

  • 3

    To make the chocolate layer Chill until the chocolate has set, then cut into squares to serve.

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