I wasn’t the best eater as a child. After school I’d typically head to the vending machine and pick out zebra cakes or a chocolate candy bar to chow down on until my stomach felt not so great.
My candy of choice? PEANUT BUTTER TWIX BARS.
They were my weakness. I couldn’t resist the chocolate coating, crunchy shortbread crust and of course, that deliciously sweet peanut butter middle. Anyone else?
Now that I’m an adult, I rarely find myself buying candy bars. Probably because I’ve learned better eating habits and don’t crave the sweets of my childhood, but also because I love to bake at home and create my own better-for-you versions.
Today’s recipe is all about my true love for peanut butter twix bars. The recipe is based off of my millionaire bars that you all fell in love with, but instead of a tahini caramel middle, there’s a peanut butter filling that’s nice, thick and perfectly sweet. Oh and of course, I can’t fail to mention that these are both vegan and gluten free too! Can I get a yum?
Homemade peanut butter twix bars ingredients
Just like classic twix bars, this healthy, homemade version has three delicious layers: a shortbread layer, a peanut butter layer and a chocolate layer. You’ll need only 5 basic main ingredients:
- blanched almond flour
- pure maple syrup
- all natural peanut butter (just peanuts & salt). I love this brand and this brand.
- coconut oil
- chocolate chips (i like to do dark chocolate chips!)
How to make healthy peanut butter twix bars
- First, you’ll make your shortbread cookie base by mixing the almond flour with coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla and salt. Press this into an 8×8 inch square pan and bake for 10 minutes.
- Once your shortbread base is done baking, make your peanut butter layer by mixing peanut butter, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla and salt in a pot over medium low heat for about 2 minutes.
- Pour your peanut butter layer on top of the cooled shortbread cookie layer, and then place it in the fridge to solidify for about 30 minutes.
- When you’re about ready to take the shortbread + peanut butter layers out of the fridge, melt your chocolate chips with coconut oil in a microwave safe dish. Pour the chocolate over the peanut butter and tilt the pan to make sure it’s evenly covered. Place it back in the fridge for 20 minutes until the chocolate has hardened.
- Finally, cut into 16 bars and enjoy!
How to store healthy twix bars
These healthy peanut butter twix bars should be kept covered in the fridge until you’re ready to serve them. They will stay good in your fridge for about 1 week, but you can also keep them in a freezer-safe container in your freezer for up to 1 month.
If you do keep them in your freezer, be sure to leave them out on the counter for a few minutes before serving so that they soften up a bit.
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I hope you love these homemade, healthy peanut butter twix bars! If you make them be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked them. Enjoy, xo!
Healthy Peanut Butter Twix Bars (vegan & gluten free)
- For the shortbread base:
- 1 ½ cups packed fine blanched almond flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
- 3 tablespoons melted and cooled coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- For the peanut butter layer:
- ⅔ cup drippy natural peanut butter (crunchy or creamy works)
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- For the chocolate layer:
- 3/4 cup chocolate chips, dairy free if desired
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8x8 inch square pan with parchment paper. It’s important to use an 8x8 inch as a 9x9 inch pan may be too big.
In a medium bowl add the almond flour, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract and salt. Mix together with a fork until it forms a nice thick crumb texture. Add to pan and use your fingers to evenly press down into the pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow crust to cool for 10 minutes before adding caramel.
Next make the peanut butter caramel layer: Add the peanut butter, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla extract and sea salt to a medium pot and place over medium-low heat for approximately 2 minutes until caramel starts to slightly bubble, stirring frequently. Pour over slightly cooled crust.
Place in fridge for at least 30 minutes-1 hour to completely harden the peanut butter. It shouldn't take longer than this, but if you are impatient, just place in freezer for 15-20 minutes, this should speed up the process.
After 30 minutes or so, make the chocolate layer: Add chocolate chips and coconut oil to a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high in 30 second increments, stirring in between until chocolate is completely melted. If you prefer, you can also melt the chocolate and coconut oil in small saucepan over low heat.
Pour over the caramel layer and tilt pan side-to-side to evenly distribute the melted chocolate. Place in fridge for at least 20 minutes until chocolate is completely hardened and bars are cooled.
Remove bars from pan and cut into 16 bars (that resemble twix bars). To do this, cut entire pan of bars in half, and then cut each half into 8 (1-inch) bars (not squares!), so you’ll end up with 16 bars. Enjoy! Bars should be kept covered in the fridge until ready to serve.
These healthy peanut butter twix bars should be kept covered in the fridge until you're ready to serve them. They will stay good in your fridge for about 1 week, but you can also keep them in a freezer-safe container in your freezer for up to 1 month.
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats