October 25, 2012

Homemade Candy Bars (similar to the 'crunch' of a KitKat but it's own amazing flavor)

I made our most recent version sugar free - and you would NEVER know it!

We have been making and enjoying these bars since around 1999 or 2000.  They actually are an annual tradition that I make without fail every Christmas holiday season, but then again about twice throughout the year because they are probably one of my favorite 'bar' cookies.  Ever.

This time around I decided to make them without guilt.  I made an almost sugar FREE version and although I thought it was fabulous and you couldn't tell from the bars we've enjoyed for over 12 years, the real test was when my 16 year old daughter tried them.  She saw my grin as she was eating it and telling me how delicious they were.  My grin however, gave it away.  "What?  Are they sugar free or something?"  "Yep!"  "Well, you can't tell.  They taste like normal!" 

PERFECT!  There are fewer grams of sugar in graham cracker crumbs than I thought and the peanut butter you use will vary on sugar grams.  So although there are a few grams, replacing the sugar, peanut butter and brown sugar as well as the chocolate chips - makes this a GREAT recipe that you will never, ever know does not contain mounds of sugar.

I hope you enjoy these as much as we do.  I don't care for sweets too much but I can eat 5 of these at one time (although admittedly I pull the top cracker off since I don't like chocolate all that much.)  These bars are gone by the next day in this house.  We never, ever, have leftovers.

Homemade Candy Bars 
(We call these Angel Bars - they are similar, sort of, to the crunch of a KitKat)

72 crackers (Keebler Butter, Club Crackers, Ritz Crackers - I've used them all!)
1 c butter
1/2 c cream, half and half or milk
2 c graham cracker crumbs (store bought or crush your own but make sure they are finely crushed)
1 c brown sugar or brown sugar substitute* see products I used below
1/3 c white sugar or white sugar substitute* (I used a mixture of both Erythiritol and Splenda)
2/3 c peanut butter - (I opted for natural, sugar free)
1 t vanilla extract or powder
1/2 c milk chocolate chips (I used sugar free by Hersheys)
1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips (I did not mix, but used all Hershey's Sugar Free)

Line a 9X13 inch pan with foil. Spray the foil with Pam. Lay crackers down to cover the bottom of the pan, side by side, but don't overlap. In a saucepan melt the butter. Add the sugars and the milk. Bring to a boil, reduce and keep on a low boil for 5 minutes. Add the graham crackers, bring to a boil again and let boil for full minute, stirring.

Spread half of this mixture over the crackers. Layer another layer of crackers and pour the rest of the graham mixture over. Top with the third layer of crackers.

Melt together the peanut butter, vanilla and chocolate chips. Spread over the top and chill 4 hours.

Cuts beautifully into sharp, nice squares showing the layers. Enjoy!

Products I used in my almost sugar free bars;


Hershey's 8 oz Bag of Sugar Free Chocolate Chips,
Smucker's Natural Creamy Peanut Butter 16 oz
Splenda No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated, 1.2-Pound Bag
Ideal Brown No Calorie Sweetener
NOW Foods Erythritol Natural Sweetener, 1 lb

***UPDATE*** 2016 - Ideal no longer makes the brown sugar version but Just Like Sugar is a good substitute

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