Lorraine’s Taste Off

Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo Bars

It has been a really whirlwind, crazy time around this house.

And it all started with a phone call.

A couple of weeks ago I received a call from a producer at the Lorraine Kelly show. A recipe I had sent in was chosen to be in the top 8 of a competition for an original ‘sweat treat’. A competition that I had totally forgotten I had entered!

Blast forward two weeks:  I have been to Manchester, made it to the finals, gotten used to having a camera following me about, met some wicked people, and been on live television twice.

Now, I did not actually WIN said competition, but I have enjoyed every minute of it, and the joy of being immersed in a foody life.

So inspired am I, that I have decided to share. Firstly, my (almost) winning recipe for Nanaimo Bars, and after that…. well, stay tuned new friend, stay tuned!

This recipe is a firm favourite amongst Canadians, and one that I make to bring a bit of ‘home’ to my little English family. And the neighbourhood. And work mates. And random people who fancy a taste.

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
6 tbsp cocoa powder
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups digestive biscuits, crushed
1 cup  desiccated coconut

3 tbsp Bird’s Brand custard powder
1/3  cup butter
1/4 cup milk
3 cups icing sugar

240g plain chocolate
2 tbsp butter


Melt butter in heavy saucepan. Make sure it is big enough to hold all your base ingredients without too much sloppage.  Stir in sugar and cocoa until smooth. Take off the heat. Whisk egg with vanilla and stir into butter mixture.  Stir in digestives, coconut.
Press evenly over a 9 inch square pan and chill to set approx 20 mins.

I tend to leave the butter out overnight before, so it’s easier to beat butter with a wooden spoon until light. Beat in custard powder and milk. Gradually beat in sugar. Spread over chilled base and let set in fridge. You cannot imagine the state of my kitchen after this step. Talk about that sloppage! Spread over the chilled base, and chuck back in the fridge to set for about another 20 minutes.

Melt together chocolate and butter, stir until smooth. Let cool down for about 5 minutes.  Spread in even layer over the other two layers. Do it fairly quickly, as the chocolate has a tendency to thicken up once it hits the colder layers. Pop it back in the fridge. After about 20 minutes, take it out and score the top, and cut with a hot knife. (dip the knife in boiled water, then dry on kitchen towel). Leave to chill until you need them, but at least 15 minutes.

These delightful, moreish little devils will be happy in the fridge for 5 days, or the freezer for 2 months. Eat them as you like…room temperature makes for a slightly gooier treat, chilled has a nice firm bite. I like them frozen, personally. Assuming your teeth can take it, try that one!


Lorraine’s Taste Off Finalists

(Carol Harris, Judge Alex Hollywood, MOI, Winner Anne Aitken, producer Chantal Robehmed)