For Christmas I made a special home-made treat to take to our family Christmas celebration. The photo I shared on Instagram was my most liked photo of 2021! The treat that was so popular with my followers was my own homemade snickers bars! Snickers is one of the best known and most familiar candy bars in the world! It’s a favorite candy bar of many! Around our house, snickers are the go-to candy bar to handle the hangry!
History of a Snickers Bar
Snickers bars date back to 1930 and were invented by Frank Mars, who eventually founded Mars Inc. He and his wife Ethyl made snickers bars in their home kitchen, making large trays of the peanutty nougat, layering it with caramel and then hand cutting and hand dipping them in chocolate. The Snickers bar is said to have been named after Ethyl’s favorite racehorse, Snickers, that the family raised on their farm.
In the 1930’s when the snickers bar was released, candy cost about 5 cents a bar. Snickers was released at a whopping 20 cents a bar! Despite its ridiculously high price, it quickly gained popularity.
Snickers were the official snack of the 1984 Olympics and gained international attention. It was long marketed towards athletes due to its high calorie count and quick energy. The candy bar was sold as the Marathon Bar in the UK and Ireland until 1990. At that time, the name was updated to align with the American branding and reduce confusion between the names.
A Homemade Version of Snickers Bars
The delicious homemade snickers bars that I made the first time at Christmas were made more like a fudge in a square pan. Layers of delicious nougat, caramel, nuts, and layers of chocolate are then simply cut into bite size pieces to share. See the Highlight titled Snickers Bar on Instagram if you’d like to look back. It was a popular treat with my family!
Recently I was talking to Philip about making more and he asked if I could make them into actual candy bars rather than just cutting the baking dish of candy into pieces. I thought about how I wanted to make them for a while and was concerned that the chocolate would not hold up if I just dipped the nougat and caramel layer into the chocolate. I decided that I would use molds to make the candy bars.
The Nougat Center
The center of the homemade snickers bars is a delicious nougat, caramel, and peanut layer. To start I lined a baking pan with parchment paper. In the video I show you an amazing parchment paper hack I learned from Erin at Cedar Chest Farms, be sure to watch the video to find out!
The homemade nougat is a delicious mixture of marshmallow fluff, creamy peanut butter, and powdered sugar. It is the most difficult part of the candy to make just because it’s hard to stir. Be sure to use a wooden spoon so not to break your favorite spatula. Eventually I would like to try to make the marshmallow creme and caramel from scratch, but for now, I purchased those ingredients. Once it’s completely mixed, spread evenly in your prepared pan. I tried using my spoon to spread the creamy nougat, but I find it easiest to spread using your fingers.
Peanuts and Caramel Layer
Once it’s evenly spread, the next layer is to sprinkle peanuts over the top of the nougat layer and gentle press them into the nougat . Snickers bars originally had only 16 crunchy peanuts per bar! The recipe calls for 1 cup of unsalted peanuts. I just pour them on until I think it looks sufficient!
The final layer of the filling is the caramel. I actually had a hard time finding caramel bits this time of year. At Christmas time, they were plentiful when people are baking Christmas treats. I searched many weeks to find the caramel pieces used in baking in the grocery store. When I found them, I was sure to stock up!
The small squares of caramel and heavy whipping cream is melted in a small saucepan over medium heat. It needs to be stirred constantly until completely blended. Once melted, you pour caramel over the nougat and peanuts.
Since I would need to cut the nougat layer into candy bar sized pieces, I wanted the nougat layer to be firm enough to cut and handle. I put it into the freezer for approximately 20 minutes.
Using the Molds
For this project I bought 1” by 3” food safe silicone molds. In my experimentation of using the molds, the downside is that it uses a lot more melted chocolate to make these into molded bars rather than to make them in a single pan and cut them. I will continue to experiment with the correct amount of chocolate, because some of the bars can be very heavy on the chocolate coating. Philip prefers less chocolate, but I enjoy them with all their chocolaty goodness!
Prior to melting the milk chocolate, I removed the nougat layer from the freezer and used my multipurpose scraper to cut, however a sharp knife would do the job. I tried to cut the nougat into rectangles slightly smaller than the mold of 1″x 3″. It takes some practice and trial and error to get the sizing correct, but I wanted it large enough to fill the mold but allow the chocolate to cover all sides. Once the nougat is prepared, it’s time to melt the chocolate.
Chocolate Coating of the Homemade Snickers Bars
Place the molds on a tray or baking sheet. They are very flexible and will fold over when handled. Making the snickers bars in molds does use a lot more chocolate, I still need to perfect the amount needed. I melted the chocolate in batches to keep it easy to pour. I filled each mold about 1/3 to 1/2 full and that was really too much. Try filling each mold 1/4 to 1/3 full of chocolate to determine your preference.
Add a precut piece of nougat with the caramel layer down. Top with additional chocolate, just enough to cover the nougat. Once the molds are full, put in the freezer for 2 hours to allow them to fully set up.
Join Me in the Kitchen
Pull up a chair and join me in the kitchen! Let’s make this delicious treat together! Recipe is below!
Wrapping Up the Homemade Snickers Bars
Once the homemade snickers bars are properly set it’s time to remove them from the molds. I had never used silicone molds and was pretty concerned about how they would come out. I have to say they are a dream! They are so easy to work with! The entire bar popped right out. I filled the sink with warm, soapy water, submerged the molds and they were easy to clean up. Once dried, I put them into a gallon sized zip lock bag to keep them clean.
Creating a Mold Free Option
Prior to making these homemade snickers bars, I considered just dipping the nougat layer in chocolate, but I was concerned that the chocolate would not hold and set properly. Since I had more nougat than I had space in my molds, rather than wait until the molds were free, I thought I would experiment with just dipping the nougat center in the chocolate.
This option does use less chocolate and the chocolate did hold and set well. The bars need to be stored in the freezer or fridge using either method. However, I felt that the homemade snickers candy bar created by dipping lacked the aesthetic appeal of the molded candies. Rest assured they are still delicious chocolate treats but next time I prefer the molded option.
Wrapping and Storing Your Homemade Snickers Bars
The homemade snickers bars need to be stored an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. Since these are homemade they aren’t as shelf stable as a commercial snickers bar. If taking one for a treat on a picnic, keep in a cooler.
I already had some twisting wax paper wraps that are precut at 4.5″ x 5.5″ on hand from Christmas candy making. I used these wax paper wraps to wrap each homemade snickers bar individually. For immediate use, I filled a quart size bag of the candy bars in the mini freezer in the RV.
For long term storage in the large freezer, I created blocks of homemade snickers bars, each holding about 14 bars. I cut a piece of freezer paper large enough to wrap the entire block, then I layered it with a piece of saran wrap. I carefully stacked the candy bars into a double stacked row, then secured the saran wrap around the block to create a moisture barrier for best results. Once secured, I wrapped the entire block in freezer paper, labeled and stored in my large freezer. I did not try to wrap all the snickers bars in one block, I did multiple blocks so I could just pull out a few at a time.
Molded Homemade Snickers Bars Recipe
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- 2 to 5 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided (will use less depending on method)
- creamy peanut butter (measurements divided)
- 7 ounces marshmallow fluff
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners powdered sugar
- 1 cup dry roasted unsalted peanuts
- 11 ounces caramels
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
Line an 11-inch x 7-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
Using a food scale, tare the weight of the bowl and measure 7 ounces of marshmallow fluff. Add 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter and powdered sugar. Use a wooden spoon to stir until mixed well into a soft dough. Spread the nougat evenly in the pan, being sure to spread it well all the way to the edges and corners. I found it easiest to do this with my fingers.
Sprinkle peanuts onto the nougat layer and gently press into the dough to set.
In a small saucepan, over medium heat, add the heavy cream and caramels. Melt the caramels and mix well until fully blended. Stir constantly to keep it from burning.
Once fully blended, pour immediately over the peanut layer. Place pan in the freezer for at least 20 minutes to allow the nougat layer to be set well enough to cut and handle.
Once set, use the parchment paper to lift the nougat out of the pan. With a multipurpose scraper or knife, cut the nougat into pieces that will fill the size of your molds.
If creating candies in molds, melt the chocolate in batches. Place the molds onto a baking tray to add stability when lifting prior to adding chocolate.
Melt 1 cup of chocolate chips and 3 tablespoons of creamy peanut butter in the microwave for 60 seconds. Mix well. Repeat in 30-second increments until the chocolate is fully melted and blended.
Work in small sections. Fill the bottom of the molds 1/4 to 1/2 full (depending on your preference). Gently place a piece of nougat into the chocolate with the caramel topping down in the mold. Press gently, so as not to push it all the way to the bottom of the mold. You will want a thin layer of chocolate covering the top of the nougat.
Repeat the steps, melting more chocolate, and peanut butter blend as needed. Once the molds are full, place them into the freezer for at least 2 hours. Once fully set, pop out of molds. Can repeat steps until you have used all of the nougat.
Filling the molds 1/2 full, I used 5 cups of chocolate chips. If dipping the nougat into chocolate, less will be needed.
Variations of Preparation
These can be made without molds. The recipe will use less chocolate, likely half as much. Once the nougat layer is prepared and cut, melt chocolate and creamy peanut butter as described above. Dip nougat into the melted chocolate mix. Use a fork and shake gently to remove excess chocolate. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking tray and place in the freezer to fully set.
To Prepare in a Baking sheet (without molds or hand dipping)
If you prefer to make it on a baking sheet like making fudge and cutting it into pieces, add these additional steps.
Prepare the first layer of chocolate. Melt 1 cup of chocolate chips and 3 tablespoons of creamy peanut butter in the microwave as described above. Pour chocolate into a paper-lined 11" by 7" baking pan. Place into the freezer and allow the chocolate layer to harden, for approximately 5 minutes.
Next prepare the nougat layer as described above and gently spread it on top of the hardened chocolate layer. Add the nuts and caramel layer as described. Place in the freezer and allow the caramel layer to set for approximately 5 minutes in the freezer.
Mix another batch of chocolate, using 1 cup of chocolate chips and 3 tablespoons of creamy peanut butter, melting as described above. Pour over the top of the caramel layer. Place in the freezer to set for at least one hour. Once set, use parchment paper to lift candy out of the pan and cut it into bite-sized pieces.
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About the Author: Barbra-Sue Kowalski grew up on a small hobby farm. She was always drawn to farm life, however, she was stuck in an urban life far from her roots. Barbra-Sue was a single mom for 13 years, raising her 3 children on her own. She met Philip in 2018 and they married in 2021. Between the two of them, they have 5 grown children and 4 grandchildren. These empty nesters are following their dreams! As they both turn 50, they are building their off-grid homestead to live the life that they dream about. Learn more about Philip and Barbra-Sue here. Contact them here. To leave a comment on this post, please scroll down.