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Dessert

Skip The Candy Aisle and Make These Homemade Snickerz Bars Instead

You don’t need to miss out on the classic flavors of decadent nougat, caramel and peanuts. We’ve remade the iconic treat using only whole-food ingredients and without any dairy or refined sugar.

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We all know the classic bar with layers of delicious nougat, caramel and peanuts, all coated in mouthwatering chocolate. In our homemade candy bars (or Snickerz bars as we call them), we layer all the same great flavors, but without any of the processed ingredients. And, you might be surprised to learn that they’re actually quite easy to make. 

A better bar

In our homemade candy bar, we use only whole-food ingredients and no refined sweetener at all. Fiber-rich dates work to give these bars just enough sweetness to feel like the real thing. 

We use both peanuts and peanut butter, which add a savory edge to these bars, but make sure to choose varieties without any refined oils or added sugar.

When it comes to the chocolate coating, it’s all about the quality. Cacao is actually considered a superfood because it contains flavonoid antioxidants, which help protect the lining of your arteries. But a poor quality variety may not have as many benefits so make sure to read your labels and look for 70% or higher dark chocolate. If you’re looking to keep this recipe dairy-free, make sure to choose a plant-based variety.

The method matters

In our homemade candy bars, the base (the equivalent of the nougat layer) uses dates and peanuts in the food processor to get just the right texture and then it’s pressed into a baking pan. It’s topped with a caramel made from dates, peanut butter and vanilla and then sprinkled with roasted peanuts overtop.

Make sure you leave enough time to chill them in the freezer for a few hours as this step is key. Once the layers are well chilled, it makes easy work to cut them into even bars and then dip them into chocolate. 

Make these homemade candy bars ahead of time and keep a stash of them in the freezer to satisfy your sweet cravings when they strike. Remember that there’s always a place for indulgence in a balanced meal plan, so you don’t have to swear off your favorite treats forever – but, you can try to make your own using healthier ingredients as we do with these delicious bars.

Homemade Snickerz Candy Bars

Servings
12 Large or 24 Mini Bars

Ingredients

Base

  • 2 cups raw, unsalted peanuts
  • 10 Medjool dates, pitted
  • ¼ tsp Himalayan pink salt

Caramel filling

  • 1 cup crunchy peanut butter, divided
  • 10 Medjool dates, pitted (TIP: If you’re using dates that are on the dry side, you can soak them in water to soften. )
  • ½ cup unsweetened rice milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 cup roasted peanuts (use unsalted if preferred)

Chocolate coating

  • 9 oz non-dairy chocolate
  • 1 tsp coconut oil (solid)

Preparation

  1. To make the base of the bars, blend the peanuts in a food processor until they form a light crumb. Add dates and salt and blend a few minutes more, until completely combined and the ingredients stick together to form a doughy consistency.
  2. Line a 12- x 3½–inch baking dish with parchment paper and press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the dish using a rubber spatula. Set aside in the fridge while you make the caramel filling.
  3. For the caramel, add ½ cup peanut butter, dates, rice milk, vanilla and salt to a high-speed blender and blitz until completely smooth. Transfer the caramel to a bowl and add stir in remaining ½ cup peanut butter. Using your spatula, spread the caramel on top of the base.
  4. Add the roasted peanuts on top of the caramel in an even layer. Place in the freezer to set for at least 4 hours or overnight. Once set, remove the slab from the dish and place it on a cutting board.
  5. Run hot water on your knife to heat it, then cut the slab into 12 large or 24 miniature bars. Place the bars back in the freezer while you prepare the chocolate coating.
  6. For the coating, melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a double boiler over simmering water. Dip the bars into the chocolate and sit them on top of a cooling rack lined with parchment paper to set. (You can dip them a second time for a thicker layer of chocolate!)
  7. Store the bars in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week or enjoy straight from the freezer.
No-Bake Vegan Desserts book cover
Photo: Christina Leopold

Reprinted with permission from No-Bake Vegan Desserts by Christina Leopold, Page Street Publishing Co. 2020.