Monday, August 3, 2015

Guilt-Free Homemade Peanut Butter Twix Bars


I used to absolutely love candy. I remember summers as a kid when my sister and I would walk down to the liquor store to spend our allowance on sugary treats and drinks. Just the thought of consuming that much sugar today, makes me cringe. Don't get me wrong, I still live for chocolate, but I usually opt for just one or two squares of the darkest variety. Chocolate preference aside, I started reading the nutrition facts and ingredients in my favorite candy bars, and now they just don't taste as good as they did to my 12 year old self. However, I am not one to shy away from a challenge. Especially when it comes to re-creating a healthier version of some of my favorite treats. Nothing feels more rewarding then having a sweet snack after a long, hard week.... except for a sweet snack that leaves you feeling guilt-free. How often can you say that about a candy bar?


Adapted from Blissful Basil

Ingredients:

For the Shortbread Crust
  • 1 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoons shredded, dry coconut (unsweetened, natural)
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil (measure it after it's melted)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup (Grade B)
For the Caramel Layer
  • 1/4 cup raw creamy unsalted peanut butter (almond butter is great too!)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup (Grade B)
  • 2/3 (about 5 tbsp.) cup virgin coconut oil
  • A pinch of fine-grain sea salt
For the Chocolate Layer
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup (Grade B)

Directions:
To Make the Shortbread Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Add the rolled oats and coconut to a food processor or magic bullet for 3-4 minutes or until a fine flour is formed.
  3. Add the oat flour + coconut flour mixture, coconut oil, and maple syrup to a large mixing bowl. Mix with a whisk or spatula until incorporated.
  4. Grease a 9x9 inch square baking pan with coconut oil. Pour the crust mixture to the pan, and use your hands to press the mixture evenly into the pan. Using a fork, poke the crust 8-10 times to allow it to vent as it bakes. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until just beginning to turn golden. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
To Make the Caramel
  1. Add the peanut butter, maple syrup, coconut oil, and sea salt to a small saucepan. Whisk together over medium low heat until all ingredients are melted together and smooth. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
  2. Once the crust has cooled completely, pour the caramel over top and use a spatula to spread it out evenly.
  3. Transfer the tart pan to the freezer for at least 25 minutes to set the caramel layer.
To Make the Chocolate Layer
*There are two ways to complete the next step, depending on your preference. I wanted to coat my bars in chocolate, so I cut the chilled crust and caramel layers into bars before coating in chocolate. Just cut the bars and place on a sheet of wax paper. Coat with chocolate and immediately return to the freezer to harden the chocolate coating. If you prefer a simple top layer of chocolate, continue to follow the instructions below:
  1. Add the cocoa powder, coconut oil, and maple syrup to a small sauce pan over low heat. Whisk together constantly until smooth. Let cool to room temp.
  2. Once cooled, pour the chocolate over the caramel layer and use a spatula to spread it out evenly.
  3. Return the tart pan to the freezer for 25 minutes to set the chocolate layer.
  4. Remove from the freezer. Use a sharp knife to cut the bar into squares or twix-shaped bars. The crust is dense and can be tricky to cut after it's been in the freezer, so be patient and cut carefully.
  5. Store the bars in a zip bag in the freezer, and enjoy!


xoxo

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