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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Homemade Snickers Bars!


What else can I say except WOW! These are rich with dark chocolate layers, luscious creamy fresh made caramel, and perfect peanut-nougat. Just plain amazing. Unsweetened iced tea is perfect for me along with these cut into 1 inch squares.
I found these on a Pinterest perusal while looking for some inspiration for baby shower desserts for my daughter Candice. You know how that works, you're looking for one thing and turn the corner constantly, being lured by intriguing crafts, ideas, recipes...eventually having to search through your computer's 'history" to get back to where your quest began. And sometimes hours later! It always amazes me how time can fly while searching the internet possibilities. Don't get me started with genealogy! We'd never find the end.

So while looking around Pinterest I came upon these tantalizing goodies, modifying them slightly to dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate (but you can decided between milk and dark), from Jamielyn with  iheartnaptime.com, along with other treasures. My bookmarks are increasing exponentially! Talk about inspiration.

I also don't really like the wrapped caramel candies because they tend to taste chalky or grainy, and sometimes even stale. I wanted truly creamy, buttery goodness and was more than delighted that I have a fabulous recipe for salted caramel. Be very sure to follow the directions and cook the sugar until completely liquid or it won't set up! I was also intrigued about making the peanut-nougat. I did not need to be nudged to make these at all. And the truly wonderful thing about them? They are gluten free without deleting or changing anything! Yeah!

**You can of course switch the nut butters to accommodate your tastes and health needs, then just match up the nuts for the nougat. If the nut butter is a bit runny I suggest you use less than what's called for of the peanut butter.

So let's satisfy your salivating tastebuds.

Homemade Snickers Bars
Line a 9 " x 13" baking pan with lightly buttered parchment paper or foil. Be sure to cover all inner surfaces. Set aside.

Ingredients:

First: Layer #3: Homemade Salted Caramel (see end of recipe for using bagged caramelsBe very sure to follow the directions and cook the sugar until completely liquid or it won't set up! 
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt - halve this amount if using table salt

Layer #1 Bottom Choco-Peanut Butter Layer:
2 cups dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup unsweetened peanut butter *I use Trader Joe's Crunchy-be sure to stir it until smooth before adding to any of the layers!

Layer #2 Peanut Nougat Layer:
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 7 ounce jar of marshmallow cream/fluff
1/3 cup peanut butter *TJ's
1/4 cup heavy cream or evaporated milk
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup salted peanuts, roughly chopped

Layer #4 Top Choco-Peanut Butter Layer:
2 cups dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup peanut butter *TJ's

Method:
Make First-Layer #3 Homemade Salted Caramel: pre-measure all ingredients and have them ready
-In a deep saucepan melt the sugar until completely liquid over medium-low heat. Add the butter stirring constantly until completely melted and bubbly about 1-2 minutes. Slowly pour in the cream and bring to a boil, stir one minute and then remove from heat and stir in the salt. Cool completely and store in the fridge until needed-this can be done 1-2 days ahead of time to save steps and time for assembling.

Layer #1 Choco-Peanut Butter Bottom Layer:
-Melt the chocolate chips and peanut butter together, stir until smooth. Pour into the bottom of the lined baking pan and spread evenly over the bottom. Tap the pan firmly onto the counter to release any air bubbles. Place levelly in the refrigerator while making Layer #2.

Layer #2 Peanut Nougat Layer: pre-measure all ingredients and have them ready
Melt the butter in a deep saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the sugar and milk stirring until dissolved. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in marshmallow fluff/cream, peanut butter, and vanilla and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and FOLD in the chopped peanuts with a silicone spatula. Spread this layer over the chilled choco-peanut butter layer. Place quickly back into the fridge and chill completely- about 20-30 minutes.

Layer #3 is the Salted Caramel Layer you pre-made:
-Stir the chilled caramel really well, then pour it over the chilled peanut nougat layer, smooth over all of the nougat layer. Chill immediately for at least 30-45 minutes.

Layer #4 Top Choco-Peanut Butter Layer:
-Melt the chocolate chips and peanut butter together, stir until smooth. Pour onto the well chilled caramel layer and spread smoothly and evenly with an offset knife. Tap the pan firmly onto the counter to release any air bubbles. Cover with plastic wrap. Place levelly into the refrigerator and chill for at least 1-2 hours or until ready to serve.

To Serve:
Carefully lift the entire bar out of the pan, carefully peel the parchment or foil away and lay flat onto your cutting surface. I cut these into one inch squares because they are so rich-using a hot knife dipped into very hot water and wiped free of any water residue which will discolor your chocolate. Or carefully heat the knife over an open flame first.

You can of course cut them as big as you like! Keep these covered and refrigerated. I really can't offer any "keeping" length of time 'cuz I'll bet yours won't last long enough to figure that out, just like mine!


Enjoy!

Using Bagged Caramels:
1 14 ounce bag of caramels, remove wrappers
1/4 cup whipping cream

Cook the caramels and whipping cream over low heat for about 10-15 minutes or until smooth, stirring occasionally. Cool, then pour over the nougat layer, chill immediately.