Peanut Butter and Jam Nanaimo Bars

187 comments

These are the bars you make for someone you’re madly in love with.

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Or maybe just have a crush on.

These are the bars you make when you have a broken heart.

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Or better yet, to celebrate being single.

These are the bars you make when you want to say I’m sorry for being a jerk face.

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Or maybe Happy Belated Birthday.

These are the bars you make when you’re celebrating 3 years of marriage and your husband has been dropping some serious hints about those amazing Nanaimo bars you made back in 2010.

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Peanut Butter and Jam Nanaimo bars

Also known as: I Love You bars. Forgive Me bars. Bite Me bars. Anniversary Bars. Ange’s New Favourite Dessert Bars. Or the always popular, Me Time Bars. There’s always a good reason to make these scrumptious bites of peanut butter, chocolate, and jam! Be sure to keep them in the fridge as they will soften at room temperature. Use gluten-free graham crackers and they will be gluten-free to boot.

print this recipe!

Adapted from my other 3 flavours of Nanaimo bars and inspired by Guilty Kitchen.

Yield: 16 squares

Bottom Layer

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 5 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter (or regular butter)
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp warm water, mixed)
  • 1 and ¼ cup peanut butter graham crackers or store bought, processed into crumb
  • 1/4 cup almonds, processed into crumb
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut

 

Middle layer

  • 1/4 cup non-dairy butter (I use Earth Balance)
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar (icing sugar)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup smooth all-natural peanut butter (if firm, you may need to increase butter)
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup strawberry jam

 

Top layer

  • 4 oz non-dairy dark chocolate chips (about 1/2 cup maybe?)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil (or butter)
  • Shredded coconut, to garnish (optional)

 

 

1. Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment paper and grease with butter on all sides.

2. Bottom layer: In a small bowl mix the flax egg together (1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp warm
water). Set aside. In a saucepan, whisk together the butter, sugar, and sifted cocoa powder. Heat on medium to low and stir frequently until smooth. Now add in the gelled up flax egg and stir well.
Now remove from heat and stir in the coconut, processed almonds, and graham wafer crumbs. Stir well and then mix with your hands. Press this mixture into your prepared pan, ensuring that you press it down very firmly. I used a pastry roller to smooth it out, but this is not necessary. Place in freezer to set.

3. Middle layer: In a medium bowl with an electric mixer, beat together all the middle layer ingredients except the jam until smooth. Spread middle layer over top the bottom layer with a wet spoon as evenly as possible. Now gently spread on the jam over top. Place in freezer to set.

4. Top Layer: Melt your chocolate and oil in a double boiler or in the microwave. Stir well until smooth. Remove the pan from freezer and spread the chocolate quickly over the top. Sprinkle coconut on top. Place back in the freezer for about 1 hour until set. Once set you can transfer it to the fridge to keep until ready or you can place it on the counter for about 10 minutes before cutting it into squares.

Note: Middle layer gets very soft at room temperature. Please keep in the fridge until serving.

 

Did I mention these are no bake?

As if you needed another reason to make them.

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The graham coconut base is a cross between a coconut macaroon and a graham crust, with a chewy, moist, and chocolaty flavour that is impossible to resist. The middle layer is basically a peanut butter ball in bar form topped with strawberry jam and a rich chocolate coating sprinkled with coconut.

Hot damn.

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If these bars aren’t the answer, I don’t know what the question is.

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Happy 3rd Anniversary, to my one and only chocolate monster! Red heart

For photos and a video of our wedding day, check out this post (as well as some love butter muffins!).

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Now, where can I hide these so I don’t eat them all before tonight?

Don’t say “at my house”…your sticky fingers can’t be trusted either!

Let's get social! Follow Angela on Instagram (@ohsheglows + @theglowspot), Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Google+

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{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

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Silvia August 22, 2016

Hi! These looks seriously amaaazing! I was wondering about a couple of substitutions:
1) if I can’t find pb graham crackers in the store, can I somehow add pb powder to regular graham crackers to achieve the same taste/texture?
2) can the icing sugar be replaced with anything? coconut sugar? maple syrup? ..?

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Genevieve February 1, 2016

Hi!
I’ve made these many many times since you posted them. Today I tried a new variation and I’m quite pleased. Instead of graham cracker crumbs for the bottom crust, I used crushed up pretzels. Not completely fine, left some pieces a little bit chunky. Delicious! ! !

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Neena July 10, 2014

I love love love your recipes I just wish I had time to make every one!! Thanks so much for sharing your such a great cook!! Xoxo

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Saoirse February 21, 2014

I made these yesterday!! SO TASTY!!!! A huge hit with my non-vegan friends. ;)

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Cynthia April 23, 2013

Thank you!!!! Wow, are these incredible! Just what I needed to make a fabulous treat for my Grandma!!! =) I will be so happy if you ever make a lightened-up version of these. (hint, hint ;) )

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Jana August 18, 2012

Hi Angela. I feel dumb discovering these almost a year later… when I’ve been craving them for so long. Just finished making them, they’re setting in the freezer (not even half hour, but I had to cut a tiny bit to try…LADIES: THESE ARE HEAVENLY) Although I substituted peanut butter with almond butter (I never liked peanut butter) and used the new Earth balance coconut flavour spread and used coconut sugar instead of icing and added little agave syrup for the middle part with the coconut sugar. GF graham crumbs and I used mommy’s home made strawberry jam.
So I’m wondering, since your next anniversary is around the corner, did you start working on some new deliciousness?

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Marianne September 17, 2011

I actually have never liked Nanaimo Bars (I know, who am I?) but these sound like a bar I could enjoy. Definitely saving this recipe – if all goes well, I may have someone special to make them for soon enough ;)

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Addy September 6, 2011

Yummm!! These look so delicious! I made your peanut butter graham crackers, but they were so delicious that we ate them all before I could make these! I just made another batch today, and I will definitely make sure I get around to making these :)

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Jana August 18, 2012

haha

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Sandra Kohlmann September 5, 2011

I made these bars today. They are amazing. By amazing, I mean AMAZING! They were completely delicious. They took a little time to make, but they were simple and they turned out perfectly. I can’t wait to have a reason to make them for someone else.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 6, 2011

So glad to hear that!

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Jana August 18, 2012

I can’t wait to make them again for someone special (if I ever find him), but for now I just made them for my monthly visitor, lol.

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Eliza September 5, 2011

I made these last night, and I think you should definitely add “these are the bars you make for a seven-months pregnant friend” to the list. So decadent!

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Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) September 3, 2011

You were an absolutely STUNNING bride. You should be on the cover of a magazine girl!

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Logan September 3, 2011

Happy Anniversary! These look yummy and I’m going to try them this weekend. Between my husband and my almost 17 yr old stepson, I don’t think they will last too long.

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JenATX September 2, 2011

these are the bars when you are seriously obsessed with peanut butter & jelly

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Anie September 2, 2011

Hey Angela!! I LOVE your blog :)

Just curious… what would you recommend as a replacement for the coconut… I’m allergic but these look DELICIOUS :)

Love and Sunshine :)
Anie

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 3, 2011

I’m not sure there is a replacement as I consider it a pretty essential ingredient in nanaimo bars. You might be able to get away with using more ground almonds & graham crumbs, but that seems like too much to sub.

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Lisa September 2, 2011

In the freezer now! Can’t wait! ;-)

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Happy When Not Hungry September 2, 2011

Wow these bars look fantastic! Anything peanut butter and jelly is a big win for me!

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Ally Chick September 1, 2011

Ange I made these bars last night for my husband and myself. His word was ‘sensational’! Thankyou :) I love cooking for him and spoiling him with food, lucky him hey. Plus I love food myself so its a win win situation :)

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michelle September 1, 2011

My anniversary is this weekend as well and my husband would love you and I both if I made these.

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Lisa September 1, 2011

It is OUR Anniversary today also, 23 years today!!!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 1, 2011

Congrats!!

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Renata September 1, 2011

Angela – how much time would you allow to make this for someone who has NEVER made nanaimo bars?

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Mer @mersworld September 1, 2011

HI! These look amazing! I was searching for new blogs to read and these caught my eye! Loved reading your blog and the recipe! Can’t wait to try and it and I’ve bookmarked your page to visit again! Thanks!

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Ellie@fitforthesoul September 1, 2011

awww! hehehe loved how you tied it all in together. And these look like something my fiance would beg for too! He and Eric can be best friends :P (both are chocolate monsters)

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Meredith September 1, 2011

Oh my… those look incredible.

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Rachel September 1, 2011

Oh, this look soooooo goooood!!! Nut butter is my favorite thing in the whole wide world! Thank you, thank you, thank you for this recipe!!!

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Rebecca September 1, 2011

Are you serious?? I just want a bowl of that middle layer…to pour into my mouth! Happy anniversary to you and Eric!! You really do have the sweet life :)

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LizAshlee September 1, 2011

A bar with multiple layers and includes peanut butter and chocolate..oh no, you better not hide them in my house…how ’bout my belly?:) No one will ever find ’em…

Have a great day!

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Ricki September 1, 2011

Hot Damn! Is right. And I love “Sorry for being a Jerk Face.” Now I’ll be saying “Jerk Face” all over the place. ;) Happy Anniversary, lovebirds!

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Molly @ RDexposed September 1, 2011

I appreciated how thick the peanut butter layer is!

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Marijke September 1, 2011

Awww your “chocolate monster”!

These bars look like heaven on a plate. I would make them for my husband but he doesn’t like peanut butter… unfortunately I only found that out after we were married. Joking! Kind of.

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Jennie @ What's Jen Eating? September 1, 2011

Those bars look so delicious! …and you’re always so great with your photography. :) Happy Anniversary!!

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vegantasmania September 1, 2011

Happy Anniversary! It looks delicious!

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laura September 1, 2011

Aw, happy anniversary!
I want one of these bars asap :)

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adrienne September 1, 2011

haha:
when you said, “If these bars aren’t the answer, I don’t know what the question is.” I almost died – that is hilarious, like really pee-your-pants funny!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 1, 2011

hehehe ;p

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Olya September 1, 2011

Happy anniversary!

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Jackie @ That Deep Breath August 31, 2011

chocolate & pb…perfect combo! I’ve never tried a nanaimo bar, but it sounds like I need to try one!!

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