Do you remember how exciting Halloween was when you were a kid? I lived on an airforce base, and we always had the best Halloweens. A base is a place with lots of homes and lots of families with kids. Because of those two things, almost every house on the base was open for trick-or-treating. Lots of trick-or-treating meant gargantuan amounts of candy for all the kids. I loved that part. If you lucked out and made it to the “awesome” house first, you could even get full cans of pop or entire chocolate bars. So proud of myself the years I made it to those houses.
I genuinely enjoyed dressing up for Halloween too – it wasn’t all about the candy. My dad always made the best costumes. One year I was a credit card, another year a can of Coke, and another year a bag of jelly beans. My dad cut these out of sheets of cardboard and hand painted them himself, or at least crafted them himself in the case of the bag of jelly beans. My siblings went as various amounts of money, knights, ninja turtles and ballerinas…we rarely had a store-bought costume.
I’ll always remember the can of Coke costume – it was top-heavy and went well below my knees. The top was made of wood with a cardboard pull tab stapled to the top. If I looked down, for instance when I was going down the stairs, if I wasn’t careful I’d tip over. The can was also just long enough that I didn’t have very good mobility. There were a few occasions that year when I’d fallen down the stairs because of the heavy top, and couldnt’ get myself up off the ground because I couldn’t bend my legs. The bag of jelly beans was also a memorable one. My parents didn’t need to follow me around too closely that year, because I left a trail of balloon “jelly beans” in my path. By the time I got home, my costume was simply a plastic bag – no more jelly beans.
When we got home from trick-or-treating, we’d quickly discard our costumes and turn out our candy bags. Time to inspect our bounty, and to make sure it was safe. I used to classify my goodies: good chocolate bars, not-so-good chocolate bars, good candies, not-so-good candies, gum, suckers, and other weird things that I probably wouldn’t eat. The good chocolate bars? Snickers, Mars, Butterfinger, Coffee Crisp, Crispy Crunch. The not so good chocolate bars? There weren’t many of these, because I love the chocolate, but I had to discriminate. They included those little bars that were either plain, crispy or peanuts – they had yellow or red wrappers. I can’t remember the brand. The good candy? Anything caramel, taffy or gummy. The bad candy? I didn’t really like Rockets very much.
My favorite of the “good” chocolate bars was always Snickers. They’re just SO good! I can’t eat these anymore though, because they’re definitely laden with milk. I’m always on the look out for recipes of things I can’t have, and when I came across a recipe on Pinterest for Homemade Snickers Bars, that was it. I knew I’d have to do it. I decided to step it up a notch though; no corn syrup or store-bought components for this girl. I did it all from scratch. I definitely busted my chocolate bar craving with these babies. Hungry? Grab a Snickers…a few hours after your craving hits and you’ve managed to make the bars yourself. They’re good though, and so worth the wait if you’re lactose-intolerant.
Homemade Snickers Bars
Yield: 1 9″ x 9″ pan of bars
Prep Time: 1 hour | Inactive Prep Time: 1 hour | Cooking Time: 30 minutes | Total Time: approx. 3 hours
Ingredients and Step-by-Step Directions
Chocolate Layers Ingredients:
3 100 g dark chocolate bars
1/4 cup crunchy natural peanut butter
Chocolate Layers Directions:
1. Cover a 9″ by 9″ pan with plastic wrap. Set aside.
2. Break the chocolate bars into small pieces. Place in a double boiler with 1/4 cup of peanut butter. Stir constantly until the chocolate and peanut butter has melted and the mixture is smooth. (As smooth as chunky peanut butter can be!)
3. Pour half of this mixture into the bottom of your lined pan. Spread out with a spatula so the entire pan has an even layer of chocolate. Refrigerate until chocolate has hardened.
4. Reserve the remaining chocolate for the last layer of the chocolate bar. Keep at room temperature, stirring occasionally to keep the chocolate mixture moving.
Nougat Layer Ingredients:
2 egg whites
3/4 cup honey
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsalted lactose-free butter (or vegan margarine)
1/4 cup lactose-free milk
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup crunchy natural peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups peanuts, roughly chopped
Nougat Layer Directions:
1. Start by creating the marshmallow fluff. Combine the 3/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup water and 1/2 cup of sugar in a large saucepan. Stir with a wooden spoon over medium heat, until the mixture comes to a boil.
2. Once the marshmallow mixture is boiling, place a candy thermometer on the side of the pot. the tip of the thermometer should be in the mixture, but not touching the bottom of the pot. Continue to cook without stirring, until the mixture reaches 244 degrees.
3. While the mixture is cooking, separate 2 egg whites and place in the bowl of your mixer. Beat at high-speed until they develop stiff peaks.
4. When the sugar mixture is ready, pour it slowly and steadily into the egg whites with the mixer running at medium-high-speed.
5. Once all the sugar mixture has been added, let the mixer continue for another minute or two, or until the marshmallow is thick and fluffy. Allow to cool slightly.
9. In a sauce pan, melt a 1/4 cup of butter over medium heat. Add a 1/4 cup of milk and 1 cup of sugar, stirring until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture comes to a boil.
10. Allow the mixture to cook for 5 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups of the marshmallow fluff you made, a 1/4 cup of peanut butter and 1 tsp of vanilla extract. Stir until smooth. Remove from heat and fold in peanuts.
11. Spread the nougat over the chilled chocolate layer. Put back in the fridge to cool completely.
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup whipping cream
1 tbsp vanilla
Caramel Layer Directions:
1. Pour water into a medium-sized saucepan, then pour the sugar into the water.
2. Turn the heat to medium and cook without stirring. The sugar will dissolve on its own, and the water.
3. Allow to boil until spots in the sugar start to become brown. Gently swirl the pan until all the sugar has turned golden brown.
4. Carefully pour the cream and vanilla into the caramel. It will boil up and could splash – watch out! It may also seize and have chunks. Just keep over heat and stir until the sugar dissolves and the caramel is smooth.
5. Allow the caramel to cool before pouring over the nougat layer. Finish the chocolate bar by pouring the remaining chocolate mixture on top of the cooled nougat. Refrigerate until chocolate has set.