Bars, Cookies, Sweets

If You Can’t Buy ’em, Make ’em, Maple Nut Bars

There’s no reason to get sappy. If you can’t buy the real Pearson’s Maple Bun Bars where you live, make them yourself! Click here for a locator to find where you can purchase the candy bars, because I highly recommend you eat the real Maple Bun Bars when you can, and make this recipe for times when you can’t.

If you aren’t familiar with the Bun Bar, maybe the Salted Nut Roll rings a bell? Or how about those little Mint Patties wrapped in silver and green foil, cleverly placed in a big jar near the cash register at your local café? They are all made at Pearson’s in Minnesota.

I like the story of Pearson’s Candy Company, which three Pearson brothers began in Minneapolis in 1909 as a candy distribution company. They did some candy manufacturing and a few years later two more brothers joined the company. At the end of World War II, they got out of the candy distribution business and focused on candy making.  In 2011, Brynwood Partners VI, L.P. purchased the company. Note to the new owners: you’ve got a good thing going here –  don’t change a thing except for making your candy available in more locations. xoxoxo Staci

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Pearson’s Candy Company in any way. Of course we all know this recipe is not really the Maple Nut Bun Bar recipe – it’s my version of the candy bar, just to get me through times I can’t buy them in my area. Unlike my opinion that my homemade Snickers®are better than the real thing, you just can’t duplicate the distinct maple flavor and the slight snap of the chocolate layer in a real Pearson’s Maple Nut Bun Bar.

Maple Nut Bars

Generously butter a 15 x 10-inch jelly roll pan.

In a large saucepan over low heat, melt together the chocolate and butterscotch chips.

Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter, mixing well until smooth.

Spread a generous half of the mixture in the buttered pan. (As you can see in my first photo, the bottom chocolate layer is actually too thin – the bars are easier to get out of the pan if the bottom layer is a little thicker.) Chill in the refrigerator.

Stir peanuts into the remaining chocolate mixture. Set aside. In a large saucepan over low heat, melt butter.

Slowly add the evaporated milk.

Stir in the pudding mix. Cook, stirring constantly until mixture is slightly thickened. Do not boil. Remove from heat.

Stir in powdered sugar and maple extract. (It’s easier to use a wooden spoon at this point.) Cool slightly.

Carefully spread the maple mixture over the chilled chocolate layer in the pan. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Drop the reserved chocolate and peanut mixture by spoonfuls over the chilled maple layer; spread to cover.

Chill the bars until firm.

Store tightly covered in the refrigerator.

{Maple Nut Bars}

12 oz. package semi-sweet chocolate chips

12 oz. package butterscotch chips (I’m pretty sure real Maple Bun Bars don’t have butterscotch chips in them.)

2 cups creamy peanut butter (And they probably don’t use peanut butter either.)

2 cups dry roasted peanuts

1 cup butter

1/2 cup evaporated milk

1 small package cook and serve vanilla pudding mix (not instant)

2 lbs. powdered sugar (approximately 7-1/2 cups)

2 teaspoons maple extract

Generously butter a 15 x 10-inch jelly roll pan. In a large saucepan over low heat, melt together the chocolate and butterscotch chips. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter, mixing well until smooth. Spread a generous half of the mixture in the buttered pan. (As you can see in my first photo, the bottom chocolate layer is actually too thin – the bars are easier to get out of the pan if the bottom layer is a little thicker.) Chill in the refrigerator.

Stir peanuts into the remaining chocolate mixture. Set aside.

In a large saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Slowly add the evaporated milk. Stir in the pudding mix. Cook, stirring constantly until mixture is slightly thickened. Do not boil. Remove from heat. Stir in powdered sugar and maple extract. (It’s easier to use a wooden spoon at this point.) Cool slightly. Carefully spread the maple mixture over the chilled chocolate layer in the pan. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Drop the reserved chocolate and peanut mixture by spoonfuls over the chilled maple layer; spread to cover. Chill the bars until firm. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator. Makes approximately 48 bars.

What store-bought candy do you make in your kitchen?

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0 Comments

  1. Hi Lori. I had to think about this for a while because I haven’t tried using the maple filling for molds before. But I think it’s a brilliant idea and I think it would work. Please let me know how it works out! If you like, snap a couple photos and I’ll share your idea with my readers. Thanks! Staci

  2. Honestly, I don’t need to find the *read* bars. Yours look delicious and completely satisfying. Thanks for sharing your recipe. A must bake for sure.

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