Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Homemade Healthier Candy Bars (Gluten Free & Refined Sugar Free)

Once upon a time I used to eat snickers and butterfingers. It was a joyous time of ignorance. That yummy crunchy taste filled with, I had no clue!! Those were the days when I thought that the caramel was actually caramel. And then I awake from this fairy tale land, and realized it corn syrup...YUCK!

Honestly, I might have continued that eating path if I didn't have kids, get sick from eating certain foods and love cooking/baking so much. I count it a blessing to know the truth behind our food industry. I'm thankful that it has moved me to act. After I watched Food, INC. I was so grossed out and disgusted with Tyson. I went straight to my freezer after the movie and threw away the bag of Tyson frozen chicken breasts. I was that upset! And I don't regret that. They treated those animals with abuse and cruelty. And then they fed them genetically modified grain and pumped them with antibiotics to make them grow faster so they can make profit faster. How could I eat those frozen chicken breasts after knowing that?

There are times I do go out to eat and I'm not always aware of where the food is from or everything they are putting in it. I usually stick with something basic like a salad, shrimp or any gluten free options. Half of the labels on food on are so misleading anyhow. I like to shop at a store called Fresh & Natural, they strive to source there meat from sustainable farms, that do not use antibiotics or gm feed.

One thing I enjoy about cooking/baking is there is so many ways to manipulate the ingredients. Each produces a little different taste, texture or flavor so you can choose. I also like that I can substitute unhealthy choices for healthier choices. I can recreate a brownie by using whole foods, with REAL ingredients and getting in my daily dose of food groups. In this case I made homemade candy bar. i would say it tastes like a snickers mostly but I was going for a butter-finger. 

I used easy, simple ingredients that have health benefits. Here is the recipe!

Homemade Healthier Candy Bars ~Gluten Free & Refined Sugar Free~
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tsp REAL salt or sea salt
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter or any nut butter
  • 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts chopped
  • half a package of dark chocolate 
Measure and pour water and honey in a sauce pot. Bring to a simmer for about 8-10 minutes. It should be bubbling for about 6-8 minutes straight without stirring. Only stir if you think it may burn. 

After the honey is done bubbling immediately add the vanilla, molasses and salt. Remove from heat and stir together, then add the peanut butter and stir until creamy. Set aside.

 Get a small glass baking dish and line with parchment or plastic wrap. I poured the peanut butter mixture and spread it into only half of my pan. Depending on the size of your pan, pour the mixture but allow it to be about 1 inch thick. Spread out the pecans or walnuts on top of the mixture and gently press nuts into the mixture.

Put in freezer for about 5-7 minutes, take out and cut into bars, then set in freezer again for another 8-10 minutes. During that time melt your dark chocolate. You can either melt in a pan on stove or microwave for about 45 seconds, then mix and keep heating at 30 second intervals until the chocolate is melted and creamy. 

Take the bars out of the freezer and gently separate each bar in the pan with about 1-2 inches between them. Pour just enough of the chocolate mixture on top of each bar so it covers the top of the bar. When you have finished this, place the finished candy bars in the freezer for about 20 more minutes.

Place leftover bars in freezer and enjoy as desired!

This made 8 bars for me! They were so yummy and better then eating a store bought candy bar any day. Mostly because I knew what was in them and I made them with love! But they really were a nice treat for the boys and I. The peanut butter mixture tasted much like caramel in snickers! These bars are packed with protein from the peanut nutter and nuts, vitamins from the organic fair trade molasses I used, health properties from the honey and healthy pick me ups from the dark chocolate.

From my kitchen to yours.....Enjoy!

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