13 May 2013

Peanut Butter Nanaimo Bars

Saturday at the farmers' market, I spied Nanaimo bars and almost gave in to the temptation to buy one even for the outrageous price of $2 each.  Just moments later, Steve purchased a canning book at a yard sale and a single handwritten sheet came fluttering out with a recipe for peanut butter Nanaimo bars.  He made them for Mother's Day and they were everything we hoped they might be.

(Steve said to note that the recipe states that this is the University of British Columbia's peanut butter Nanaimo bar recipe, which means that it's been studied by the Institute for the Study of Nanaimo Bars, seeing as Nanaimo is IN BC.)

Peanut Butter Nanaimo Bars


  • 1/2 C | 120 g butter
  • 1/4 C | 55 g sugar
  • 5 T unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 3/4 C graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 C fine coconut
  • 1/2 C finely chopped peanuts
  • 6 T | 100 g peanut butter
  • 2 T | 30 g butter
  • 3 T | 45 g milk
  • 2 T vanilla custard powder
  • 2 C | 260 g icing sugar
  • 4 1-oz squares semisweet chocolate
  • 2 T | 30 g butter
For Base: Mix together butter, sugar and cocoa powder in top of double boiler (or pan that you watch very carefully).  Add egg and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens.  Remove from heat.  Stir in graham cracker crumbs, coconut and nuts.  Press firmly into 9" square pan.

For Filling: Cream peanut butter, butter, milk, custard powder and icing sugar.  Spread over base.

For Topping: Melt chocolate and butter over low heat (or in microwave).  Cool.  When cool, but still runny, spread over filling layer.  

Chill and store in refrigerator.


Me again said...

is vanilla custard powder vanilla pudding mix? Ignore my drooling. I'm just sad that I didn't know about these for mothers day. Now I need an excuse to make them. Maybe because its Tuesday?

MBC said...

Vanilla custard powder is not quite the same as vanilla pudding. It's like an instant version of the custard sauce that accompanies British desserts (so, runnier when it's made up). It's really easy to find in the UK and Canada, although I found it in the States, too. Bird's brand is the most popular and easy to find. I did a really quick Google search and someone did claim you could use instant vanilla pudding in its place for Nanaimo bars, but I've never tried it.

There's always an excuse to make Nanaimo bars, although I've actually not had them for about 10 years. They're so rich that that's probably frequent enough.

Anonymous said...

I would not suggest using instant pudding as it would be too soft. The bars need the stiffness of the custard to make them finger food friendly. These bars have been one of my favorites since college when my room mate brought them back from BC one Christmas. Excellent find on the recipe. I'm working on a sugar free version.


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