When I went searching on Google for images of Nanaimo Bars to help explain what they are to a friend of mine who didn’t know what they were, I came across a site that had some interesting suggestions for variations for making different kinds of Nanaimo Bars. I was most intrigued by the Peanut Butter Nanaimo Bars variation and thought the next time I made some, I would give that a try. And of course, I would make my variation completely sugar-free so that it can be compliant with Jorge Cruise’s Belly Fat Cure program that I have been following.
The main changes to the basic Nanaimo Bar recipe is that I would replace the walnuts with peanuts and leave out the coconut out of the base layer. In the custard layer I would reduce the amount of butter used and replace it with peanut butter. In this case, I used Joseph’s Sugar Free Crunchy Peanut Butter, and the top layer would remain the same. So not too much different to try the variation. Fortunately I had some raw peanuts to use, and the sugar free peanut butter on hand to make it.
One of the things I liked about trying this recipe variation is that when I placed the pan into the freezer so it could firm up a bit before I would add the top chocolate layer, it seems the peanut butter helps the custard mixture stay together more easily. When I pulled the tray out of the freezer after fifteen minutes, it was practically solid already and wasn’t moving around at all, this definitely helped make the top chocolate layer easier to spread.
I also decided to see how the bottom layer came out by leaving out the added cinnamon and Sugar-Free Maple Syrup I had used in previous batches. I mainly added those because the non-salted Saltine Crackers in the Sugar Free version were replacing Graham Crackers which tend to be a little sweeter. I couldn’t really taste any of the cinnamon nor the syrup in my previous Nanaimo Bars so they just seem like unnecessary ingredients. The cocoa powder, the butter, and Xylitol give the saltine crackers enough flavor on its own. So I’m modifying the recipe to eliminate the cinnamon and Maple Sugar as ingredients because they aren’t necessary.
Thanks to a suggestion from the same site, I also decided this time I was going to line the pan with foil, so that once it had hardened completely, I would just pull the whole layer of foil out of the pan so that I could cut the Nanaimo Bars into squares more easily. This proved to be a brilliant strategy because I was able to just use a very large knife and make single cuts to split the 8 inch x 8 inch square block of Nanaimo bars into 36 squares by making five cuts down one side and then rotating the block 90 degrees and cutting five additional cuts to make 6 rows by 6 columns of Nanaimo Bars.
Below is my new modified Sugar-Free Nanaimo Bars Recipe and below it are the variations that can be tried. most of which is adding a flavored extract and an optional food coloring so its simple to try out a different flavor if you want a little variety. For those not familiar with my earlier recipe, it’s very important to get as a British food import Bird’s Custard Powder as there is no sugar-free American equivalent that I’ve been able to find. You can find it in stores specializing in British food imports and if you have a Cost Plus World Market in your area, they will have it as well. Click here to see my original blog posting on Bird’s Custard Powder, and click here to see my original Nanaimo Bar recipe blog entry.
Nanimo Bars (Ryan Cameron’s Sugar Free Version):
Ingredients Part 1:
1/2 Cup butter
1/2 Cup xylitol
5 tablespoons Unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Cups non-salted saltine Crackers (crushed)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
Ingredients Part 2:
1/4 cup butter
4 tablespoons Bird’s custard powder (Get at a British Foods store)
5 tablespoons cornstarch
1-3/4 cups xylitol
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
Ingredients Part 3:
1 tablespoon butter
3 (1 oz.) squares unsweetened chocolate
3 single serving packets of Truvia
Directions Part 1:
Melt butter in a double boiler
Add xylitol and unsweetened cocoa.
Beat egg and add
Mix well and take off stove.
Add finely crushed non-salted saltine crackers, chopped walnuts, and coconut
Mix well and pack loosely in 8″x8″ cake pan.
Directions Part 2:
Grind xylitol and cornstarch in Food Processor until a fine powder
Set aside mixture
Add Bird’s custard powder, ground xylitol and cornstarch mixture and almond milk
Beat well and pour over Part 1 and put in freezer for 15 minutes to chill custard layer.
Directions Part 3:
Melt butter and squares of unsweetened chocolate
Mix in Truvia packets until chocolate is smooth
Spread over chilled cake.
Put in refrigerator and chill for 24 hours.
Peanut Butter Nanaimo Bar Variation:
In Part 1: Replace Walnuts with Peanuts and leave out the coconut.
In Part 2: Replace butter with 1 Tablespoon (Tbsp) butter and 4 Tbsp of Sugar-Free Peanut Butter
Mint Nanaimo Bar Variation:
In Part 2: Add 1 Tablespoon Mint Extract. If desired, add a couple drops green food coloring
Orange Nanaimo Bar Variation:
In Part 1: You may want to replace the Walnuts with Hazelnuts
In Part 2: Add 1 Tablespoon Orange or Raspberry Extract. If desired, add drops of food coloring
Cherry Nanaimo Bar Variation:
In Part 1: You may want to replace the Walnuts with Almonds
In Part 2: Add 1 Tablespoon Cherry Extract. If desired, add drops of red food coloring
Many thanks to the unknown author of the site that I found that had these additional variations.