Quick and Easy Sugar Free Chocolate Caramel Crunch Candy Bars

First - IMPORTANT:  this is not the candy bar I intended to make, nor is it the version I'm going to post in a week or two.

This was a quick 'cheater' candy bar because frankly... I didn't feel like making the peanut butter nougat filling that day.  I had gone to the grocery store and had spied these sugar free peanut butter wafers and decided that would be my "cheat".  To use the wafer cookie inside so I didn't have to bother with the nougat that day.   

The end result was a candy bar my husband was crazy about.   And because it's so easy to make, I can whip these up quickly when I don't want to deal with homemade fillings or don't have the time.

Quick and Easy Sugar Free Chocolate Caramel Crunch Candy Bars

1 batch sugar free caramel (recipe copied below)
1 package sugar free peanut butter or vanilla wafer cookies
1 package sugar free chocolate chips (Hershey's is the brand I use)
1/3 c Bodycrunch-Whey Protein Crunchies Natural (optional)
1/2 c Dry Roasted Peanuts - chopped

Mix one batch of thick caramel. Let it cool to room temperature (or chill it for a faster cool).  Lay two rows of wafer cookies on a foil or parchment lined pan.  Add the chopped peanuts and if you wish (and you have them on hand) the Whey Protein Crunchies to the caramel.  Using your hands, roll a walnut size scoop into a log shape, the same size as the wafer cookie.  Place one caramel filling roll on each cookie, pressing gently.  Freeze or chill until you are ready to dip.   Melt the package of sugar free chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl or in a metal or glass bowl over simmering water on the stove, double boiler method.  Melt slowly so it doesn't burn or seize.  Dip each candy bar into the chocolate and place on the foil or parchment. Chill until hardened.  Can be individually wrapped in plastic wrap or in a little snack size baggy for 'on the go' snacking later.

Thick Sugar Free Caramel

6 T real butter
1 cup Just Like Sugar or mixture of your favorite sweeteners 
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 t vanilla
1/8 t xanthan gum (optional)

Have everything measured out, ready to go, because once you start to make this, you don't want to walk away from the stove and let it burn. This last batch, I sprinkled 1/8 t xanthan gum in with my Just Like Sugar Sweetener so it mixed in evenly and easily.

Heat butter in a heavy bottomed pan on the stovetop over high.  Just as soon as it starts to sizzle and boil, watch for it to start turning brown.  When it's turning the color of a penny, immediately add the sweetener, xanthan if you are using it, and cream to the pan, whisking quickly.  If you want your caramel sauce thinner, leave it out completely.  After only a minute or so, your caramel should now be a rich color and nice and thick and beautiful.  Remove from heat and whisk or stir in the vanilla.  Store in a glass jar - let cool on the counter and then put the lid on and store in the refrigerator.

Just starting to brown

It browns quickly! 
So buttery and rich!  And yet... no sugar!

Adding the whey protein crisps (optional)

Adding the dry roasted peanuts

Apparently when I sent the photos of the caramel rolls on the cookies before dipping, from my iphone to my email, they didn't go through.  I deleted them from my phone thinking they were sent.  But... they never made it.  So I have no photos of the naked caramel topped wafers before dipping.

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