Do you ever have those moments that knock you off your tracks? Life is just going forward and then out of left field something derails you. I had one of those moments a few weeks ago and I had to bake my feelings. Then eat my feelings. And then force everyone around me to eat their feelings because I could stop eating the peanut butter nanaimo bars and I needed the help to get rid of them. Thankfully, everything worked out and the worry was unwarranted, but it was an excellent reason to make these bars. While I was searching for a comforting recipe, my first thought went to some kind of bar. And then I thought about adding chocolate to the mix. And why stop at chocolate, let's get some peanut butter in there.
Baking gives me so much comfort and joy. It makes a bad day better and a good day awesome. Since I was a teenager my family and friends have been telling me I should go to pastry school and the truth is - I'm scared to go because I fear I'd lose the the comfort and joy that comes from baking if it became my job. Truth.
So in the end, I accumulate zero dollars for my baking skills, but the payoff is worth it. My tummy is almost always happy, I have made many friends with cupcakes, and I have found an outlet to express my creativity, challenge myself, and experiment. All of those attributes are more valuable than money any day!
Enough sap, let's get to the good stuff, the peanut butter nanaimo bars. I know I'm about a year behind on the whole nanaimo bar craze (look for cronuts summer 2014), but I'm glad I joined the party! The crust is solid, but not hard and crunchy; the coconut provides flavor and chewiness, the graham crackers provide a little crunch, and the cocoa adds richness and depth. A thick, creamy peanut butter layer is pure perfection in all its glory. There are not words to describe and sweet peanut butter concoction, so I'm not going to try. A little chocolate ganache of top hold all the flavors in and adds more chocolatey goodness. Good day, bad day; weird day, regular day: it doesn't matter, these peanut butter nanaimo bars are going to rock your world!
One Year Ago - Baked Brownies
Peanut Butter Nanaimo Bars Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker Yield - 24 bars
Base 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter 1/2 cup sugar 2 eggs 2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs 3/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and line a 9 x 13” baking with parchment paper.
- Melt the butter in the microwave and then whisk in the sugar and eggs.
- Stir in the graham crackers, coconut, and cocoa.
- Spread and press evenly in the pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until baked through.
- Let cool completely before adding the filling.
Filling 1 1/4 cups creamy peanut butter 5 tablespoons unsalted butter 3 cups powdered sugar 1/3 cup milk
- Add the peanut butter and butter to a microwave safe bowl and heat in 20-second intervals until the butter is melted. Stir to combine.
- Whisk in the powdered sugar one cup at a time with 2 additions of milk in between. Whisk until smooth and then spread evenly over the base. Let chill for about an hour.
Chocolate Topping 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces