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Who needs traditional candy bars when you can make these healthy homemade Snickers bars? Bite into layers of rich chocolate, crunchy peanuts, creamy date caramel, and chewy nougat. What a delicious way to curb your hunger!
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We love chocolate. And, we love peanut butter. But, we also love caramel. So, it’s only natural that we used to love Snickers before transitioning to a vegan lifestyle.
Now, that doesn’t mean we lost our sense of taste people. Let’s be honest, those candy bars are delicious. However, if you take a look at the ingredient list, you may wish you hadn’t seen it. Sugar, milk-fat, corn syrup, palm oil, egg whites, and artificial flavors are just some of the components of these bars (yikes).
Not all hope is lost though! You can still enjoy this delicious treat of layered nougat, caramel, peanuts, and chocolate without feeling like you’re eating a science experiment.
We made these homemade Snickers bars with healthy, wholesome ingredients you can actually pronounce. They’re free of refined sugars, gluten, and (most importantly) animal products!
Did we mention how easy they are to make? Yup, no-bake desserts are the best! All that you need is a few simple ingredients, a pan, and a freezer for these healthy homemade Snickers bars. Think you can manage that? Let’s do it!
🍲 Key ingredients
- Dates: dates are quite possibly the best food ever created. With sweet, honey-like characteristics, they create the absolute perfect caramel layer in this recipe. Unlike the caramel in an actual Snickers bar, dates are packed with fiber and other important nutrients like potassium. You’re body (and your bowels) will definitely thank you for eating these golden nuggets!
- Peanuts: with all the sweet flavor happening, a touch of salt and crunch is just what these bars need. They’re a nice halfway point between layers of rich chocolate and caramel, but before chewy nougat (like, “hey congrats you’ve almost made it through!”). Peanuts are a mighty tasty superfood. Bet you didn’t know they contain more protein than any other nut!
- Oats: Just like the base of these snickers overnight oats, we combine rolled oats with more dates and almond flour. It basically tastes like the middle portion of Dad’s Goodie Rings (did anyone else only eat those from those variety cookie packs?). Oats contain an insoluble fiber, called beta-glucan, which helps keep you full and prevents a huge spike in blood sugar levels.
- Cacao butter: rich and velvety smooth with subtle hints of chocolate. That’s cacao butter in a nutshell (well, in a cocoa bean shell). Seriously though, how this is wonder food created? Cacao beans are pressed to extract cacao powder and cacao butter. This fat portion from the beans actually turns solid at room temperature, making it the perfect ingredient to use in a chocolate candy bar coating!
For the nougat crust, you’ll throw some rolled oats, almond flour, and a pinch of salt to a food processor. Blend that up until you achieve a fine meal texture, especially the rolled oats. Next, mix in the pitted Medjool dates and blend until you have a dough-like consistency. It should easily stick together between your fingers.
Pro tip: If your dates are dry, you may want to soak them for a few minutes in hot water before adding them to the food processor.
Once your nougat is blended, press it into a parchment-lined baking pan or dish (an 8×8 works best) and set it aside while you prepare the caramel layer.
For the caramel, you’ll place some more pitted & soaked Medjool dates, peanut butter, and vanilla in a small blender or food processor, leaving the roasted peanuts out at this point. Blend everything until you achieve a smooth consistency. You may need to stop and scrape down the sides a few times.
Once you have a smooth texture, spread the date caramel evenly on top of the nougat crust. Then, layer the roasted peanuts evenly across the caramel. It helps to push down on the peanuts slightly in order to help them stay in place (don’t want to lose any of those bad boys).
Then, stick the whole pan or dish in your freezer to set for at least 3-4 hours (we usually leave it overnight to make cutting easier). Once your Snickers “base” has set, remove it from the pan with the parchment paper. Cut it into bars and pop them back in the freezer while you prepare the chocolate.
For the chocolate coating, melt cocoa butter and coconut oil in a double boiler over low heat. Once those are melted, mix in the cacao powder and maple syrup. Whisk everything together until there are no clumps left.
Dip each bar in the bowl of melted chocolate, then transfer back to the parchment-lined pan. Let the bars set in the freezer for at least another 15-20 minutes before serving them.
Keep these snickers bars in your freezer for a healthy, yet incredibly delicious treat!
These bars store best in the freezer in an airtight container for up to 4-5 months. They will also keep in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. If you do store them in the freezer, just defrost each bar for a few minutes before eating it.
💭 Budget tips
We think everyone should be able to eat better for less, so here are a few tricks to make this recipe even more affordable:
- Replace the Medjool dates with a cheaper variety like Deglet Noor
- Use agave nectar in place of the maple syrup
- Choose a cheaper vanilla extract, or use artificial
- Half the chocolate coating ingredients and drizzle chocolate over top the bars instead of coating them entirely (see above picture)
🍴 Tasting notes
We hope you enjoy our healthy version of this classic candy bar as much as us! They’re:
- Peanut buttery
- Naturally sweet
If you try these Snickers bars, please rate them and leave us a comment below! Want to stay up-to-date with new recipes? Subscribe to our newsletter or connect with Broke Bank Vegan on social media. Happy eating!
To make these bars peanut-free, swap out the peanut butter for almond butter or cashew butter. For the roasted peanut layer, try using pecans, cashews, or almonds.
If you don’t have cacao butter, you can replace it with all coconut oil (although the consistency will be meltier). You can also just use about 3/4-1 cup of melted vegan chocolate chips or a chocolate bar.
♻️ Similar recipes
For more tasty sweets, check out these recipes:
- 2-ingredient chocolate peanut butter fudge for a seriously easy dessert.
- Vegan brownies if you need a rich and decadent treat.
- 3-ingredient vegan chocolate if you’re chocolate addicts like us!
- Vegan cookie dough bites because you should be able to eat cookie dough without chancing salmonella.
Healthy Homemade Snickers Bars
- Food processor
- 8×8 baking dish
- Parchment paper
- Double boiler
- 1 ¼ cup rolled oats ($0.24)
- ¾ cup almond flour ($0.74)
- ¼ tsp salt ($0.01)
- ⅔ cup pitted Medjool dates ($1.15)
- 1 cup pitted & soaked Medjool dates ($1.84)
- ¼ cup smooth natural peanut butter ($0.44)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract ($0.21)
- ⅓ cup roasted & salted peanuts ($0.21)
- ¼ cup + 3 tbsp cacao butter ($2.58)
- 1 tbsp coconut oil ($0.12)
- ½ cup cacao powder ($1.25)
- 3 tbsp maple syrup ($0.45)
- For the nougat crust, add rolled oats, almond flour, and salt to your food processor. Blend until you achieve a fine meal texture.
- Next, add in the pitted Medjool dates and blend until you have a dough-like consistency. It should easily stick together between your fingers. If your dates are dry, you may want to soak them for a few minutes in hot water before adding them to the food processor.
- Once your nougat is blended, press it into a parchment-lined baking pan or dish (an 8×8 works best) and set it aside while you prepare the caramel layer.
- For the caramel, place pitted & soaked Medjool dates, peanut butter, and vanilla in a small blender or food processor (leave the roasted peanuts out). Blend until you achieve a smooth consistency. You may need to stop and scrape down the sides a few times.
- Once you have a smooth texture, spread the date caramel evenly on top of the nougat crust. Then, layer the roasted peanuts evenly across the caramel (it helps to push down on the peanuts slightly in order to help them stay in place).
- Place the whole pan or dish in your freezer to set for at least 3-4 hours (we usually leave it overnight to make cutting easier). Once the caramel has set, cut into 10-12 bars and pop them back in the freezer while you prepare the chocolate.
- For the chocolate coating, melt cocoa butter and coconut oil in a double boiler over low heat. Once they have melted, mix in the cacao powder and maple syrup. Whisk everything together until there are no clumps left.
- Taste and adjust sweetness to your taste. Then, dip each bar in the bowl of melted chocolate with 2 forks to roll them around. Once they are coated, transfer each bar back to the parchment-lined pan.
- Let the Snickers bars set in the freezer for at least another 15-20 minutes before serving them. Keep these treats in your freezer for a healthy, yet delicious snack!
- If you don’t own a double boiler or can’t makeshift one, you can also melt the cacao butter and coconut oil in the microwave. Just be careful not to burn the cacao butter by microwaving it in 10-15 second bursts.
- If your dates are quite dry, soak them in hot water for a few minutes or hours to soften them up. The dates for the crust don’t need to be as soft as the dates for the caramel though.