I'm not one for food holidays... I mean, do we really need to devote an entire day to chocolate covered cherries or ice cream for breakfast? Still, when one of my favourite bloggy friends decided to declare March 25th as unofficial Chocolate Peanut Butter Day, I jumped on the bandwagon, mostly because I'd been looking for an excuse to make these Peanut Butter Nanaimo Bars for ages.
So, what is Chocolate Peanut Butter Day, exactly? It's a fun excuse to eat some chocolate and peanut butter hosted by Carla of Chocolate Moosey and Miriam of Overtime Cook, and featuring a total of 31 awesome recipes made with... you guessed it... chocolate and peanut butter. Follow the hashtag #chocPBday all day today and our Pinterest board to keep up with all the happenings!
Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's get back to the food. Nanaimo bars are an honest-to-goodness classic Canadian treat that features three distinct layers: a chocolatey cookie-crumb base, a creamy vanilla custard frosting middle, and a thin layer of ganache to top it all off.
Over the years, some resourceful bakers have discovered that the middle layer lends itself to a million and one variations, from Irish cream to mint to orange to mocha. Basically, any flavor that plays well with chocolate will do.
But today is Chocolate Peanut Butter Day, so this particular version has peanut butter in the middle. More specifically, white chocolate peanut butter, because the only thing better than chocolate and peanut butter is two kinds of chocolate and peanut butter.
If you can't get your paws on some white chocolate peanut butter (or if you happen to eat the whole jar by accident, which may or may not have happened to me before), any ol' kind of peanut butter will do. Skip the chunky, though, because what makes these bars so darn good is the contrast between the silky-smooth custard and the crunchy chopped nuts in the base.
It's also all about the contrast between the tooth-aching sweetness of the middle layer and the deep, dark chocolatey flavour of the base and the ganache. This ain't no time to go with milk chocolate... I'm talking about grabbing the darkest chocolate you can get. The 70% cocoa stuff, if you can find it. You won't regret it.
Then, once it's all done, park yourself on the couch with a Nanaimo bar in one hand and a double-double coffee in the other for the ultimate Canadian experience. Toque and hockey pads optional.
- ¾ cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup cocoa
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1 cup chocolate wafer crumbs
- 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
- ¾ cup finely chopped walnuts
- ¼ cup milk
- 3 tbsp custard powder (or vanilla pudding mix)
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup White Chocolate Wonderful peanut butter
- 3 cups icing sugar
- 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- In a small saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter. Using a heat-proof spatula, stir in the sugar and cocoa until smooth, then add the eggs and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly to keep the bottom from scorching, until glossy and thickened.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the graham crumbs, chocolate crumbs, coconut and walnuts. Add the hot cocoa mixture, and stir to combine. Press evenly into a parchment-lined 9x13-inch pan, and place to the fridge to chill and set up for 15 minutes.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and custard powder.
- In a medium mixing bowl, cream together the butter and peanut butter. Stir in the custard, then gradually beat in the icing sugar, ¼ cup at a time, until the filling is thick and fluffy and smooth.
- Spread the filling onto the prepared crust in an even layer. Chill for 30 minutes, or until firm.
- In a heatproof bowl set over a small saucepan of boiling water, melt the chocolate and butter together, stirring frequently. Spread out into a thin layer onto the chilled filling. Return to the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes longer, or until the filling is completely set, before cutting into squares and serving. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
For more chocolate and peanut butter deliciousness, check out the rest of today's posts:
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Mousse Parfait by Hip Foodie Mom
- Dark Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Sandwich Cookies by Mind Over Batter
- Chocolate & Peanut Butter Crumb Parfait by Hungry Couple
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Doughnuts by It's Yummi!
- Flourless Peanut Butter Cup Swirl Brownies by Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Buckeye Cheesecake Bars by Chocolate Moosey
- Peanut Butter & Chocolate Scones by All Day I Dream About Food
- Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Jam Bars by Poet in the Pantry
- Crunchy Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls by Cindy's Recipes and Writings
- Chocolate & Peanut Butter Cannolis by Souffle Bombay
- 4 Layer Chocolate Brownie Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting by Neighborfood
- Mini Chocolate Caramel Peanut Butter Cheesecakes by The Spiffy Cookie
- Peanut Butter Nanaimo Bars by Crumb: A Food Blog
- Chocolate Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies by Jen's Favorite Cookies
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies by In The Kitchen With KP
- Peanut Butter & Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies by The Cooking Actress
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Trifle by Kelli's Kitchen
- Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream by Kelly Bakes
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Biscotti by Lauren Kelly Nutrition
- Chunky Peanut Butter Stuffed Brownies by Snappy Gourmet
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Caramel Bars by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Peanut Butter Bundt Cake with Chocolate Cheesecake Filling by Overtime Cook
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Cinnamon Rolls by Gotta Get Baked
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Quick Bread by Magnolia Days
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Ice Cream by Kudos Kitchen By Renee
- Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chips Bars by Roxana's Home Baking
- Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Blondies by What Smell's So Good
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Earthquake Cake by I Wash You Dry
- Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares by Food Lust People Love
- Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Cups by The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
- Skinny Chocolate Peanut Butter Krispie Cheesecake Bars by Food Faith Fitness