Who doesn’t love Snickers bars? The chocolate, the nuts, the caramel. It’s a tantalizing combination, to say the least. Yet, while it’s a candy bar that proclaims it will satisfy your hunger, I’d like to suggest that my wholesome version will do the job even better.
Well, for starters, my recipe uses very dark chocolate, which is lower in sugar than milk chocolate. My caramel is made with coconut palm sugar, which won’t set you up for a sugar rush and energy crash. And my cookie layer is made with toasted ground nuts, which provide real, usable energy. And instead of peanuts I use dry-roasted macadamia nuts, just to change things up.
I simply love the challenge of taking an existing, unwholesome item and creating it anew with really nutritious ingredients.
The best part is when my taste testers tell me that my healthier version tastes even better than the original—whoop whoop!
2 cups dark chocolate pieces, 72% cocoa
3 tablespoons coconut oil
Use a lazy man’s double boiler to melt the chocolate and coconut oil. Stir until the mixture is smooth, then remove from the heat.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the pecans on a large rimmed baking sheet and bake for 8–10 minutes, until toasted.
Transfer the toasted pecans to a food processor and pulse until fine. Add the remaining cookie layer ingredients. Pulse until a dough forms.
In a skillet over medium heat, combine the coconut palm sugar, coconut milk, coconut oil, sea salt, and vanilla. Once the mixture begins to boil, decrease the heat to low and continue to cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes.
Remove the skillet from the heat and whisk in the baking soda. The mixture will turn a lighter color and become creamy. Return the pan to low heat and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes.
Remove the caramel from the heat and allow it to cool and thicken for 5 minutes.
Line the bottom and sides of an 8 × 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper, so that the parchment paper hangs over the sides. (These will be your handles to easily pull the snickers bars from the pan once they’re done.) Lightly rub the parchment paper with coconut oil.
Pour half of the chocolate layer into the bottom of the pan. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Sprinkle the cookie layer over the hardened chocolate layer. Press down to create an even layer of dough. Place in the freezer for 5 minutes to harden.
Pour the caramel layer over the cookie layer and spread to evenly coat. Sprinkle the caramel with the chopped macadamia nuts, then pour the remaining chocolate over the top of the nuts and carefully spread to evenly cover. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes, until the top chocolate layer sets.
Use the parchment paper “handles” to ease the set mixture out of the pan. Transfer it to a cutting board and slice it into 24 bite-size bars.