Peanut Butter Nanaimo Bars

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So, you may be asking, “what is a nanaimo bar?”  Good question.  I didn’t know what they were either before I came across this recipe.  Well, let me give you a bit of background on this delicious bar.  It is a Canadian dessert, made popular back in the 1950′s by a local housewife who happened to live in the city of Nanaimo, British Columbia.  This is the theory anyway, I am not sure this would be stated as a fact in an encyclopedia or history book, but we are talking about desserts after all.   Its original version was a no-bake, chocolate crumb base topped with a custard and then a hardened melted chocolate layer.  Well, since the 1950′s many versions have come about.  I decided to make this one considering two of my husbands favorite things in life are peanut butter and chocolate.  Also, as you may have guessed just by looking at the ingredients list, it was amazing.   It is a very rich dessert so a little goes a long way.  Hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

Ingredients:
For the Base:

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ¾ cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder

For the Filling:

  • 1¼ cups creamy peanut butter
  • ⅓ cup unsalted butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • ⅓ cup milk

For the Topping:

  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

 Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 350°.  Line a 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment paper, set aside.

2.  Make the Base: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter, sugar and eggs.  Using a wooden spoon, stir in graham cracker crumbs, coconut and cocoa powder.  Stir until completely combined.  Transfer mixture into prepared baking pan and using hands press evenly.  (Hint:  the mixture is very sticky, wet your hands slightly before you press the mixture)  Bake crust for 12-15 minutes, or until firm and no longer shiny.  Transfer pan to cooling rack and allow to cool completely before preparing filling.

3.  Make the Filling: Microwave peanut butter and butter in large microwave safe bowl until completely melted and smooth.  Whisk in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, alternating with divided milk.  Whisk together until completely smooth.  Spread evenly over the crumb base and refrigerate until firm.  Usually takes about 1 hour.

4.  Make the Topping:  Using a double boiler, melt the chocolate and butter together.

5.  Spread over the chilled filling and allow to set at room temperature.

6.  Make sure it is completely cooled before cutting into bars and serving.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerate for best results.

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Adapted from:  Browneyedbaker

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