Nanaimo Bars

In Olympics news yesterday, U.S. skier Mikaela Shiffrin won gold in the ladies’ Alpine skiing slalom event, making her the youngest person ever to win a medal in a slalom event.  U.S. men’s speed skating team won silver in the 5000 meter short track relay competition.

Our second-to-last installment of the 2014 Winter Olympics feature brings us to the last Winter Games, the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.  In Vancouver, freestyle skier Alexandre Bilodeau won Canada’s first gold medal on home soil.  The Canadian men’s hockey team also won gold.  U.S. snowboarder Shaun White debuted his move, the “Double McTwist 1260” and won gold.

I remember two things about the Vancouver Winter Olympics very distinctly- the famous red maple leaf mittens, and Nanaimo bars were on food blogs everywhere.  While the exact origins of the Nanaimo bar seem to be unknown Nanaimo, British Columbia has claimed these bars as its own.  I made a peanut butter variation for this entry, but you can find recipes for bars with plain vanilla custard, or mint, or chocolate . . . .

nanaimo bars

Nanaimo Bars


for the base:

  • 3/4 C. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 C. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 C. graham cracker crumbs
  • 3/4 C. shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1/3 C. cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, melted

for the filling:

  • 1 1/4 C. creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 C. unsalted butter
  • 3 C. powdered sugar
  • 1/3 C. milk

for the topping:

  • 8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. butter


Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the melted butter, sugar, and eggs.

Use a wooden spoon to stir in the graham cracker crumbs, cocoa powder, and coconut until combined.

Pour the mixture into the baking pan and press evenly into the bottom of the pan.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until firm and no longer shiny.

Place the pan on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before preparing the filling.

To make the filling, microwave the peanut butter and butter in a large bowl until completely melted and smooth.

Whisk in the powdered sugar 1 C. at a time, alternating with the milk and whisk until smooth.

Spread the filling evenly over the base and refrigerate for 1 hour until firm.

To make the topping melt the chocolate and butter together in a double boiler (or in a microwave on 50% power).

Spread the chocolate mixture over the peanut butter filling and leave at room temperature or refrigerate until set before cutting and serving.

Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

Source: Brown-Eyed Baker


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