Retro Recipe: Homemade Nutty Bars (2024)

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Nealey Dozier

Nealey Dozier

Nealey Dozier is a former wedding planner turned chef, culinary instructor, recipe developer, and food writer. She is based in Atlanta. You can find more of her Southern adventures in eating and entertaining at

updated Jun 5, 2019

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Retro Recipe: Homemade Nutty Bars (1)

Serves8Makes8 bars

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With my wedding plans well under way, in addition to an upcoming engagement party and the fiance’s big 3-0, let’s just say I’ve been in full on entertaining mode. The internet has been a fabulous (if not overwhelming) source of creativity. With all the extra inspiration coming my way however, I feel the need to harness the overload of ideas into a few solid hostess home runs.

I’ve always loved the idea of a themed dessert bar for a party. For my own, I thought it would be fun to create the “ultimate snack bar,” featuring homemade versions of all my store-bought junk food favorites—think ding dongs, cereal bars, twinkies and whatever other whacky gas station goods I can think of.

I was hashing the idea out with a coworker and she demanded I make her Nutty Bars, a Lil’ Debbie snack I had all but forgotten about. Feeling nostalgic, I stopped by the grocery store on the way home just to snag a box. It had probably been 15 years since I’d last tasted a Nutty Bar and one bite took me right back to childhood. I flipped over the carton to check out the nutritional info; let’s just say I didn’t make it to bite number two. I practically needed a chemistry textbook to decipher the ingredient list!

Despite the onslaught of preservatives, the flavors are simple: chocolate, peanut butter, and sweet wafer. I figured I could handle the task. I had planned on making homemade wafers from scratch, but a little research made me realize it would overcomplicate my whole concept. I remembered seeing recipes floating around the web for a spin on toffee using matzo crackers; I wondered if they could work for my Nutty Bars? (Full disclosure—this was the first time I’d ever seen or tasted a matzo cracker in person. It’s just not something that shows up very often in a Southern kitchen.) The crackers sure didn’t taste like much, but then again neither do plain wafers, so my plan was still on.

Three ingredients and a *heap* of cracker crumbs later, I had homemade Nutty Bars that would make the “real thing” run for the hills. These crispy treats taste of good quality chocolate, creamy peanut butter and nothing else. Make these today and remember your childhood—without the plastic wrappers or the guilt.

(Readers, if anybody has a good method for breaking/cutting matzo sheets into even pieces, please let me know in the comments section. I have a feeling mine is not the most efficient method!)


Makes 8 bars

Serves 8

Nutritional Info


  • 6

    plain, thin matzo sheets

  • 1 cup

    creamy peanut butter

  • 4 ounces

    good quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips


  1. Gently break the matzo sheets into 4 long pieces, then split each of those pieces in half cross-wise. (In a perfect world you'd get 8 even sections from 1 matzo sheet. I am not so lucky and shattered many pieces of matzo to get all my rectangles. Good thing I have a new recipe for Matzo Brei, which I'll be having for breakfast tomorrow.) Arrange similar sizes of rectangles into stacks of three. (I made 8 stacks.)

  2. Heat the peanut butter for a few seconds so that it is spreadable but not runny (if you overheat it, allow to cool a bit before moving forward). Have a 3-stack of matzo rectangles ready. Using a knife or off-set spatula, smooth a layer of peanut butter on one cracker, add another cracker, another layer of peanut butter, and top with the third cracker. Place the stack on a parchment-lined sheet pan and continue with the remaining crackers.

  3. In the bowl of a double boiler (or in the microwave on medium power), melt the chocolate until smooth and glossy. Use a pastry brush or off-set spatula to smooth a thin layer of chocolate over the top and around the sides of the stacks. If desired, draw a waffle pattern across the top of the bars using a toothpick. Chill the bars until the chocolate has hardened, at least 30 minutes. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Related: Do You Have a Secret Food?

(Images: Nealey Dozier)

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Retro Recipe: Homemade Nutty Bars (2024)


What is the difference between Nutty Bars and nutty buddies? ›

Nutty Buddy, formerly known as Nutty Bars, are a snack manufactured by McKee Foods under the Little Debbie brand since 1964. The snack consists of four wafers sandwiched together in a peanut butter mixture and covered with a "chocolatey coating".

Why did they change Nutty Bars to nutty buddies? ›

It's explained on the Little Debbie website. As the earlier responder said, there was the official name - and there is what people called it. It was simpler to just adjust to what people called it instead of forcing people to use it's official name.

What are the ingredients in a nutty bar? ›

dextrose, peanut butter, enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate [vitamin b1], riboflavin [vitamin b2], folic acid), sugar, palm and soybean oils with tbhq and citric acid to protect flavor, palm and palm kernel oil, water.

What was the original Nutty Buddy? ›

Nutty Buddy was originally created and produced by Seymour Ice Cream Company, which was located in the Port Norfolk section of Dorchester, Massachusetts and named after its owner, Buddy Seymourian. Seymour Ice Cream ceased operations in the 1980s.

When did Little Debbie change the name from Nutty Bar to Nutty Buddy? ›

Originally Nutty Bars, the treat went through a mysterious name change to Nutty Buddy somewhere around 2016. A comic released in November of that year by the company made it all the more confusing for fans, who weren't quite sure what it meant, at least when it came to the great nomenclature debate of Nutty Bars.

What is the shelf life of nutty bar? ›

Each bar is twin-wrapped with calories displayed on the front of the wrap and packed in retail-ready cartons. This item is the perfect size for Vending Machines, Hospitals, Lodging, Colleges/Universities, B&I, Transportation, Caterers and Micro Markets. Shelf Life 60 days, FOA: Freeze for up to 6 mos.

Were drumsticks called nutty buddies? ›

Nutty Buddies and Drumsticks are similar but not the same thing. Nutty Buddies are cone-shaped wafers filled with vanilla ice cream and topped with peanut butter and chocolate, while Drumsticks are cone-shaped wafers filled with vanilla ice cream and topped with a chocolate coating and nuts.

Do Nutty Buddies have red 40? ›

Whole Wheat Flour, Sugar, Whole Grain Oat Flour, Rice Flour, Fructose, Vegetable Oil (Soybean, High Oleic Soybean and Palm), Contains 2% or Less of Nonfat Milk, Cocoa Processed with Alkali, Salt, Caramel Color, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Soy Lecithin, Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 1, Yellow 6, BHT for Freshness.

Does Little Debbie still make Nutty Buddy bars? ›

This quintessential treat has been a shopping cart staple since 1964 and is still one of the top Little Debbie snacks going home with families everyday. How do you enjoy your Nutty Buddy snacks? Show us on social media!

What flavor is the Nutty Bar? ›

Peanut butter ice cream with a thick fudge ripple and milk choco coated waffle pieces.

What kind of chocolate is on Nutty Buddy? ›

Nutty Buddies are a prepackaged dessert from Little Debbie, they are a peanut butter filled wafer cookie thinly coated in milk chocolate.

Do Nutty Bars have egg? ›

Contains: allergy information: contains wheat, peanuts, soy, milk, egg. May contain tree nuts.

Do nutty buddies go bad? ›

Average Shelf Life Estimates

Zebra Cakes, Nutty Buddy, and Oatmeal Creme Pies: Typically labeled fresh for 60 days from production. When frozen: Can extend up to six months, preserving quality.

Why is it called Nutty Buddy? ›

Nutty Buddy was created by Seymour Ice Cream Company in Dorchester, Mass., and named after its owner, Buddy Seymourian. Seymour's ice cream factory was located in a three-story brick building built in the 1850s, but historians cannot agree on the company's founding date.

What is the ice cream called Nutty Buddy? ›

The Nutty Buddy is an ice cream cone topped with vanilla ice cream, chocolate, and peanuts.

What's the difference between a drumstick and a Nutty Buddy? ›

Nutty Buddies and Drumsticks are similar but not the same thing. Nutty Buddies are cone-shaped wafers filled with vanilla ice cream and topped with peanut butter and chocolate, while Drumsticks are cone-shaped wafers filled with vanilla ice cream and topped with a chocolate coating and nuts.

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