Chocolate Peanut Butter Nanaimo Bars
These bars showcase the classic combination of chocolate and peanut butter, with pops of caramel flavour in the base.
For the Base
- For the Middle Layer
- For the Top Layer
For the Base Layer
- Line an 8 inch square baking tin with parchment paper or aluminum foil with edges overlapping the sides of the pan for easy removal.
- Toast peanuts in skillet over medium high heat. Once toasted, turn out onto a baking sheet to cool slightly while you prepare the sugar.
- In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and water. Cook over medium heat, occasionally swirling the pan gently until the the mixture turns a deep golden caramel colour, when the mixture is around 176C/350F.
- Take the caramel off the heat and stir in salt and the peanuts.
- Spread the mixture over a baking sheet lined with silicone baking mat or greased aluminum foil and put into the fridge to cool and harden, about 10 minutes.
- When the mixture has hardened and is cool enough to handle, break into pieces and pulse in a food processor until you have the texture of coarse breadcrumbs.
- In a medium metal bowl or double boiler set over a pan of barely simmering water, combine dark chocolate and butter. Stir with rubber spatula until the mixture is melted and smooth.
- Stir the peanut mixture into the chocolate mixture and then spread over the bottom of your prepared pan.
- Chill the mixture in the freezer until set, about 10-15 minutes. For the Middle Layer
- In a medium bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter, peanut butter, vanilla and a pinch of salt. Beat on medium speed until the mixture is well combined and light in colour.
- Add the icing sugar and mix on low speed until combined.
- Increase the speed and beat on medium high until you have a light and fluffy texture, about 30 seconds.
- Spread buttercream over the chilled bottom layer and put in the freezer until hardened, about 15 minutes. For the Top Layer
- In a medium metal bowl or double boiler set over a pan of barely simmering water, combine semi-sweet chocolate and butter. Stir with rubber spatula until the mixture is melted and smooth.
- Remove from heat until cool but still spreadable.
- Spread over the top of your chilled bars and smooth top (an offset spatula works well for this).
- Optional – sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt.
- Put the bars in the freezer until top is set, about 15-20 minutes.
- When bars have fully set, remove from pan. Warm a chef’s knife under hot water and wife dry. Use this warm knife to easily cut bars into 16 squares. Store in the fridge.