Friday, September 23, 2011

Peanut Butter Nanaimo Bars

Two weeks ago someone posted that they were making Nanaimo bars and this instantly sent me in search of what this could possibly be.  I found several recipes for this yummy treat and then I found a peanut butter version, well...the original was pushed aside for the peanut butter and the rest is history.

They were absolutely amazing!  My family and I ate the whole recipe in one sitting, which is not hard to do because once you start you cannot stop.

So what is this and where does it come from?  Here is a brief explanation.

Nanaimo (play /nəˈnm/) (Canada 2006 Census population 78,692) is a city on Vancouver Island in British ColumbiaCanada. It has been dubbed the "Bathtub Racing Capital of the World" and "Harbour City". Nanaimo is also sometimes referred to as the "Hub City" because of its central location on Vancouver Island and due to the layout of the downtown streets which form a "hub" pattern. It is also fondly known as the "Hub, Tub, and Pub City" because of its association with the bathtub racing and the numerous "watering holes" in Old Nanaimo.

So HOW do you pronounce it?  I found some interpretations while trying to figure it's still a mystery to me..LOL




I can tell you this, I will keep making this yummy treat regardless of the pronunciation...LOL 

I made my own gluten free graham crackers and they were awesome used in this recipe.  You can sometimes find GF graham crackers at Whole Foods or some specialty shops.  I will post the recipe and pictures I used next week but if you cannot wait until then to make these, use google and you will find several recipes posted.

Recipe: Peanut Butter Nanaimo Bars

This recipe was found on the Food Network website. I put my personal notes in red.



  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (I used GF Graham Cracker crumbs...see note above) 
  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped blanched almonds (I also tried a batch with pecans and they tasted just as good)

Peanut Butter Filling:

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

Chocolate Glaze:


Line an 8 by 8-inch baking pan or casserole with aluminum foil, with long flaps hanging over each edge. I used parchment paper and a circle cake pan and it works great too.
For the cookie: Put the butter in a heatproof medium bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with an inch or so of water to a very slow simmer over medium-low heat. Set the bowl over, but not touching, the water. Once the butter is melted, add the sugar and cocoa, and stir to combine. Add the egg and cook, stirring constantly with a whisk, until warm to the touch and slightly thickened (it should be about the consistency of hot fudge), about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in graham crumbs, coconut and nuts. Press the dough firmly into the prepared pan. (Save the pan of water for melting the chocolate.)

For the filling: Beat the butter, peanut butter and confectioners' sugar together in a medium bowl with an electricmixer until light. Spread over the cookie and freeze while you prepare the chocolate glaze.

For the glaze: Put the chocolate and butter in a medium heatproof bowl, and set over the barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. (Alternatively, put the chocolate and butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Melt at 50 percent power in the microwave until soft, about 1 minute. Stir, and continue to heat until completely melted, about 1 minute more.). When cool but still runny, pour the chocolate layer over the chilled peanut butter layer and carefully smooth out with an offsetspatula. Freeze 30 minutes.
To serve, remove from the freezer and let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes. Pull out of the pan using the foil flaps and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 1-inch squares with a sharp knife. Serve cool or at room temperature.

Busy baker's tips: Finished bars can be wrapped in the pan in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil and frozen for up to 1 month.

Written by Sherron Watson

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  1. FYI from a girl who lives on Vancouver Island, it's Nuh-Nye-Moh. These look fantastic! One of my most popular recipes is a take on a chocolate peanut butter Nanaimo bar that I called an Idle Hand Bar because it came from the devil, they are so good!

    1. It's either NAH, or NUH ....nyemoh, depending where you live. It's like Toronto...if you live there you most likely pronounce it 'Torona', missing the 't'. I was born in BC and live on the island; I pronounce it NAH....... but whatever works for you; just come and visit!

      Original Nanaimo Bars use Bird's Eye Custard Powder in the centre and you have no need to freeze the filling whilst melting the chocolate for the top. I personally use unsweetened or bitter chocolate because the filling is soooooo sweet. Remember there is raw egg in the base, so keep these refrigerated, not in a container on the counter!

    2. Oh....and the original recipe has chopped walnuts in the base, not almonds. There are other variations out there....some with kahlua in the cream filling, others with Irish Bailey's in the filling.......people get pretty creative but the original has no booze in it and the custard filling....... I like to try the 'originals' of any recipe before I start customizing it. Give it a try and see what it's supposed to really taste like!

    3. I appreciate your comments but the recipe is not for the original as you can see from the title. I have read many recipes that include the ingredients that you have talked about. Let me tell you why I made mine the way that I did, just so you understand because from your comments you are coming across as a bit judgmental without knowing my reason's why I made it this way.

      1. I love peanut butter and chocolate together.
      2. I am deathly ill when I eat walnuts so why in the world would I "try and see what it's supposed to really taste like" when it would make me so sick?
      3. I don't like custard. I grew up with Bird's Eye Custard because my grandmother was English.
      4. I like mine frozen. I like the texture that freezing creates with the combination of a firm crust and a soft filling.

      As you can see I was never ever going to make an original. When you clicked on my link you knew it was not either.

  2. I never heard of this, but I think now this is going to be my new favorite thing. I know just the person who would love this - my sis-in-law - who is the queen of baking delicious sweets. Thank you for introducing this to us!

  3. Thank you Elizabeth for the help on the pronunciation..LOL
    Jamie- I hope your SIL loves these as must as we do!

    Enjoy and thank you both for stopping in with your comments!


  4. These look awesome. Can't wait to try them! I know my crew will love them...You can't go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter! I went to Webster dictionary for the pronunciation. New wrinkle in the brain! lol

  5. These look incredibly scrumptious and addictive. Also they're so festive looking...perfect for the holidays! I always appreciate personal notes, such as yours, on a recipe.

    I wonder if some or all of the coconut could be dyed red to make them even more holiday festive? Thanks!


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