Recipe of the Month

Feb 28, 2018 | Bits & Bobs


I adore these chocolatey/coffee bars, which I thought originated from Portugal but it turns out the original recipe (which required no baking so was a bit different) comes from a town of the same name (Nanaimo) in British Columbia on Vancouver Island! Enjoy with your morning coffee!


For the biscuit base:

  • 100g digestive biscuits, broken into pieces
  • 60g walnut pieces
  • 40g cocoa powder, sifted
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 80g desiccated coconut
  • 150g unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 medium eggs, beaten


For the buttercream:

  • 100g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons custard powder
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk


For the chocolate coating:

  • 150g dark chocolate (approx. 70 per cent cocoa solids), broken into pieces
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons strong black coffee
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160 degC fan oven/180 degC electric oven and butter a 23cm non-stick square  brownie tin, 4cm deep.
  2. Whizz the digestives and the walnuts to crumbs in a food processor.  Add the cocoa and sugar and whizz again, then transfer the mixture to a large bowl and mix in the coconut.  Add the melted butter and blend, then add the beaten eggs, stirring until well combined.  Transfer the mixture to the tin and level the surface using your fingers or the back of a spoon.  Bake for 15 minutes then leave to cool.
  3. To make the buttercream, whisk the butter in a large bowl for about a minute until pale and fluffy using an electric whisk.  Whisk in the custard powder and the vanilla and then the icing sugar.  Once the mixture appears crumbly, add the milk and continue to whisk to a pale and mousse-like buttercream.  Spread this over the biscuit base using a palette knife and chill for about an hour until set.
  4. To make the chocolate coating, gently melt the chocolate with the butter in a bowl set over a pan with a little simmering water in it, then whisk in the coffee.  If the mixture seems to separate, keep beating until it is completely smooth and glossy – THIS IS IMPORTANT, as if it appears oily the butter will harden as a film on the surface.  Smooth this over the surface of the buttercream and swirl it using a teaspoon.  Loosely cover the tin with clingfilm and chill for several hours until set.
  5. To serve, cut into bars or squares.  These bars should keep well for several days and are best served chilled.

N.B.  If the glaze still seems oily after beating, simply whisk in 2 teaspoons of cold water.

(Recipe courtesy of

Judie Donovan