Homemade Halloween Candy Bars

Homemade Halloween Candy Bars

The information, recipe and photography in this post were provided courtesy of local cookbook author and chef, Carla Snyder. Learn more about Carla and discover her recipes at Ravenouskitchen.com or in her cookbook, One Pan Whole Family. 

Remember the sheer bliss of dumping a pillowcase of candy on the kitchen floor, sifting through the “just okay” candy (mints, jujubes, lifesavers) to find the really great candy (full size Three Musketeers, Milky Way Bars and Butterfingers) and the ensuing sugar binge? Just because your trick or treating days are many harvest moons ago doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy delicious treats this Halloween…no costume required.

How can we return to this time-honored tradition, but in a better way? I say it’s time to indulge in some homemade candy. No preservatives, high fructose corn syrup or crazy chemicals, just pure cane sugar – the way nature meant it to be. This candy is so good and so easy to make that you just might share the sugar buzz with the kids as well.

Homemade Halloween Snickers

In 2012, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups was the best-selling candy brand in the United States with sales of $2.603 billion. I think this is a good candy to start with as Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups just might be the most popular confection on the planet. Sure, they’re good, but they can be even better if you make them yourself. For the filling, I ground up salted cocktail peanuts, honey, sugar and vanilla into a paste, shaped it into disks and covered them with good quality chocolate. How good are they? The freshness of the filling and better chocolate makes these completely irresistible. You might want to make a double batch.

Butterfingers are one of our favorite candy bars, but I couldn’t resist the idea of making an even easier Butterfinger Bark. I rolled out the Butterfinger center to get an idea of the size, then poured melted chocolate onto a sheet pan lined with parchment and spread it to the same dimensions. While still soft, I laid down the Butterfinger center and then poured the remaining chocolate over the top and placed it in the fridge to set for a few minutes. I cut the bark into pieces with a sharp knife, leaving them large enough for a few bites. This bark is bound to show up again over the holidays in my cookie gift bags as it is not only special but quick and easy enough for the kids to help make. You’ll never guess the main ingredient in the center. Clue: it’s a staple fall candy.

Last up is a homemade version of a Snickers Bar complete with nougat center, caramel, chocolate and peanuts. A combination of marshmallow fluff, sugar and peanut butter forms the chewy center studded with peanuts then drizzled with melted caramel and once again, good chocolate. I made these in two loaf pans so they would be easy to slice and I don’t mind that the sides are bereft of chocolate. It’s better to see all that candy goodness inside. Really, it’s like a slightly less healthy energy bar. It has nuts!

These 3 candy recipes should keep you buzzing from now until the holidays. Plan to make at least one of these tricked out Halloween treats and get ready for your sugar high.

Peanut Butter Cups

Start-to-Finish: 2 hours
Hands-On Time: 30 minutes
Makes 12 Cups

Reese’s peanut butter cups were invented by a dairy farmer in Hershey, Pennsylvania back in the 1920’s. He worked for Hershey Chocolate Company at the time and in the 60’s his sons merged the H.B Reese Candy Company with the Hershey Chocolate Corporation in a stock for stock merger now worth over 2.5 billion dollars. Not bad for a dairy farmer, but great for Hershey as well since peanut butter cups are their most popular candy in the U.S. with sales in the billions. Hard to believe but peanut butter cups are even better when you make them yourself. This filling is perfect if you ask me, but these nutty cups are begging to be dabbled with and fine-tuned to your very specific tastes.

It’s That Easy: Melting chocolate is a very important part of this recipe and so information on the method for melting chocolate is in order. Chocolate is an emulsion of fat and water and when you melt chocolate the emulsion breaks, the fat and water separate and the chocolate isn’t the same. Chocolate is very sensitive to heat. If you allow it to get too hot, the chocolate can become grainy. That’s why I direct you to melt most of it but not completely, then add the remaining chocolate at the end to cool it down and help it to emulsify again. This way you have less chance of overheating the chocolate and it will harden more efficiently without refrigeration.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups salted cocktail peanuts
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2-lb good quality dark chocolate such as Callebaut, finely chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Toast the peanuts on a foil-lined sheet pan until fragrant, about 7 minutes.
  3. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper inserts.
  4. Cool the peanuts and transfer them to a food processor. Process until the finely ground, about 30 seconds. Add the honey, oil, sugar, vanilla and salt and process until fully mixed.
  5. Roll the filling into a log and cut into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball then flatten them into disks that fit inside the muffin cup but do not touch the sides.
  6. In a medium saucepan heat 1-inch of water to a simmer. Place 3/4 of the chocolate in a heatproof bowl, set it over the simmering water making sure that the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Let sit undisturbed for a few minutes then stir with a rubber spatula every now and then. Remove the bowl from the heat when the chocolate still has lumps in it but it’s mostly melted. Sprinkle in the remaining chocolate and stir until completely melted.
  7. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the melted chocolate into each paper-lined cup. Transfer the tin to the refrigerator to set lightly, about 3 minutes. Top with a peanut butter disk, pressing gently into the chocolate so that it rises and partially coats the sides. Cover the disk with another tablespoon or so of chocolate to cover completely. You may have leftover chocolate. Return to the fridge for 5 minutes, then allow to sit at room temperature for 2 hours or until they harden. Store in an airtight container in a cool place.

Homemade Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

Click Here to Print the Recipe for Homemade Peanut Butter Cups.

Butterfinger Bark

Start-to-Finish: 2 1/2 hours
Hands-On Time: 30 minutes
Makes approx. 2 lbs. of candy

With only three ingredients, this candy just might be the easiest and most delicious. Candy corn melts up in the microwave and then blends with peanut butter to make the chewy center. Then, all is robed in glorious chocolate. I will definitely be keeping a few bags of candy corn on call over the winter months so I can whip this up again for the holidays.

It’s That Easy: See the tip in the peanut cup recipe about the chocolate as it pertains to this recipe as well.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of candy corn
  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 lb. good quality dark chocolate such as Callebaut, finely chopped

Instructions

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the candy corn for 1 minute, then stir. Microwave again in 30-second increments until melted. Quickly stir in the peanut butter. If it becomes too thick, microwave for 30 seconds. Allow the mixture to cool until you can handle it. While still warm, flatten it and roll it out on a piece of parchment paper to a 1/4-inch thickness. Transfer it to the parchment-lined sheet pan and with a pencil, make an outline of the layer. Transfer the filling back to the parchment on which it was rolled out.
  3. In a medium saucepan heat 1-inch of water to a simmer. Place 3/4 of the chocolate in a heatproof bowl, set it over the simmering water making sure that the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Let sit undisturbed for a few minutes then stir with a rubber spatula every now and then. Remove the bowl from the heat when the chocolate still has lumps in it but it’s mostly melted. Sprinkle in the remaining chocolate and stir until completely melted.
  4. Spread half the chocolate onto the parchment-lined sheet pan to fill out the penciled in shape. Lay the candy corn filling on top and cover with the remaining chocolate. Transfer the pan to the fridge for 5 minutes, then allow to sit at room temperature for 2 hours or until the bark hardens. Cut into pieces and store in an airtight container in a cool place.

Homemade Butterfinger Bark

Click Here to Print the Recipe for Homemade Butterfinger Bark.

Snickers Bars

Start-to-Finish: 3 hours
Hands-On Time: 40 minutes
Makes approx. 18 bars

It’s tough to resist a Snickers Bar and even harder to resist this homemade version. The kids will definitely enjoy helping out with this (and you want them to help with the caramel unwrapping). The nougat filling is like Play-Doh and little fingers will love pushing peanuts down into the fluffy stuff. One thing is for sure. Everyone will love eating these!

It’s That Easy: See the tip in the peanut butter cup recipe about the chocolate as it pertains to this recipe as well. The addition of peanut butter to the chocolate in this recipe will result in a softer chocolate coating, which may require refrigeration to set up.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup salted cocktail peanuts
  • 10 oz. caramels, unwrapped
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 lb. good quality dark chocolate such as Callebaut, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon, plus 3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 7 oz. marshmallow fluff
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Line two bread pans with parchment paper allowing the paper to hang over the sides so you can pull the candy from the pan later.
  3. Toast peanuts on a sheet pan in the oven for 7 or 8 minutes or until fragrant and toasty. Let them cool.
  4. Heat the caramels and cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until melted and smooth. Set aside.
  5. In a medium saucepan, heat 1-inch of water to a simmer. Place 3/4 of the chocolate in a heatproof bowl, set it over the simmering water making sure that the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Let sit undisturbed for a few minutes then stir with a rubber spatula every now and then. Remove the bowl from the heat when the chocolate still has lumps in it but it’s mostly melted. Sprinkle in the remaining chocolate and stir until completely melted. Stir in the 1 tablespoon peanut butter. Set aside.
  6. Combine the marshmallow fluff, sugar and 3 tablespoons peanut butter in a large bowl, stirring with a large spoon until it forms a dough. Divide it into two portions and flatten them so they will fit snugly in the bread pans. Press the peanuts into the fluff.
  7. Pour half the chocolate into the prepared pans. Lay the marshmallow fluff portion over the chocolate in the pans. Divide the caramel between the two pans pouring evenly over the top of the fluff portion. Pour remaining chocolate over the top of both pans.
  8. Transfer the pans to the refrigerator for 5 minutes, then remove and allow to sit at room temperature until firm, about 2 hours. If it doesn’t firm up, return the candy to the fridge and keep it there until firm.
  9. Pull the candy from the pans and cut crosswise into bars. Keep covered in a cool place.

Homemade Snickers Bars

Click Here to Print the Recipe for Homemade Snickers Bars.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *