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Snickers, from scratch

I named this blog based on a family nickname of mine. My grandad has called me Oopie for as long as I can remember. Oopie, as in Ali Oop. As I got older, he called me Oopie Baby and Oopie Bell. Grandad was the kind of man that worked hard his entire life. He didn’t love to socialize, but he loved his family dearly. And everyone that knew him well knew that his favorite candy was the Snickers bar.

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Today would be my Grandad’s birthday and in honor of him, I’m sharing this recipe with you. This homemade version of the Snickers bar is upscale, entirely from scratch, and absolutely delicious. I’m actually quite sure that my Grandad would have favored the commercial variety, given that “salted caramel”, “dark chocolate”, and “vanilla bean marshmallow fluff” were not what thought about when he considered his favorite candy. But I will let you in on a secret, Grandad was missing out. These bars are better than Snickers. Snickers on another level.

This version that I’ve made is entirely from scratch. No bagged caramels, no marshmallow fluff from a jar. When I made them a few weeks ago, my mom happened to be in town for the evening and she remarked “Boy, those are a lot of effort.” But then she tasted one.

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All that effort was worth it. You cannot buy candy like this in the store. And it’s a good thing that you can’t, because these little babies are so good that I’d eat them far more often than I should if they were readily available.

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Before I turn you off with an obnoxious amount of labor, recipe within a recipe type of description, there is an easier way to make these! You can make them quite quickly and I’m certain they’d be lovely. But being the type A sort of cook that I am, I took a look at the recipe and just felt a little sad about using the thought of jarred marshmallow fluff for the nougat when homemade vanilla bean marshmallows are something I make rather frequently. (Who says things like that? I seriously have an issue with food.) Then I saw the bagged caramels in the recipe and just couldn’t part with the idea of using a lovely homemade salted caramel.

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Please don’t feel like you have to go “all out” and make these the hard way. But boy, are they ever worth the effort.

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snickers, from scratch (and an easier quicker homemade version)

adapted from How Sweet It Is

layer 1:  bottom chocolate layer
1 ¼ cups semisweet chocolate chips or 7 oz dark chocolate
¼ cup peanut butter

Melt ingredients together in a saucepan or microwave, then pour into a 9 x 13” pan lined with wax paper and spread until even. Put in the refrigerator to harden.

layer 2: nougat layer
directions for the easy way:
¼ cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup evaporated milk
1 ½ cups marshmallow fluff
¼ cup peanut butter
1 ½ cup salted peanuts chopped, roughly chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add in sugar and evaporated milk, stirring until dissolved and bring to a boil. Let cook for 5 minutes, stirring throughout.  Add in fluff, peanut butter and vanilla, stirring until smooth. Turn off heat and fold in peanuts, then pour over bottom chocolate layer. Put in the refrigerator to cool.

directions for the more complicated (completely from scratch) way:

First, make your own marshmallow fluff (adapted from Ina Garten’s marshmallow recipe):

(This recipe will yield double the amount of fluff that you need.  The remainder can be poured into an 8×8” baking dish dusted heavily with powdered sugar, allowed to stand uncovered overnight & cut into squares the next day for marshmallows.)

3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
¼ tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean – optional

Combine gelatin and ½ cup cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Meanwhile, make the syrup:  combine sugar, corn syrup, salt, and ½ cup water in a medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar has fully dissolved.  Turn heat to high and cook until syrup reaches 240°F on a candy thermometer.  Using whisk attachment on mixer on low, pour sugar syrup slowly into the gelatin.  Put the mixer on high and whip until very thick and white, approximately 7-10 minutes.  Add vanilla and seeds from vanilla bean (if desired).  Use half of this mixture in the nougat recipe above.  Pour the remaining half into a baking dish dusted with powdered sugar & cut into marshmallows after letting stand overnight.

Then, use your homemade marshmallow fluff in the recipe for the nougat layer above.

layer 3: caramel layer
directions for the easy way:
14-ounce bag of caramels
¼ cup whipping cream

Combine ingredients in a saucepan over low heat. Let melt, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Pour over nougat layer and place in the fridge to allow to cool and harden.

directions for the more complicated (completely from scratch) way (adapted from Ina Garten’s fleur de sel caramels):
1 ½ cups sugar
¼ cup light corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream
5 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 teaspoon sea salt (or fleur de sel, if you like), plus additional for sprinkling
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Start with a large, deep saucepan.  Combine ¼ cup water, sugar and corn syrup and boil over medium high heat, until the mixture is a warm, golden brown.  Just swirl the pan, no stirring required.

Meanwhile, melt the butter and warm the cream together in a small saucepan.  Add the salt.  Allow to simmer.

When the sugar mixture has turned a deep golden brown, turn off the heat, and add the cream mixture to the sugar.  Watch out.  It will bubble up violently!  (This is why you’re using a large saucepan.)  Stir in the vanilla extract and return to medium heat until the mixture reaches 248°F on a candy thermometer.  Remove from heat.

Pour over the nougat layer.  Sprinkle with additional fancy salt.  Return the pan to the fridge to allow the caramel to cool and harden.

layer 4: top chocolate layer
1 ¼ cups semisweet chocolate chips or 7 oz dark chocolate
¼ cup peanut butter

Melt ingredients together in a saucepan or microwave, then pour over caramel and spread until even. Refrigerate to allow to harden.

Turn out the entire pan of snickers onto a cutting board and peel away the wax paper.  Cut into rectangles.  While they can be served cold, I liked them at room temperature.  The caramel layer gets gooey.  Store in the fridge.

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