Peanut Butter Candy Bars are a fantastic way to use up leftover Halloween candy. These photos were were updated in November 2015–but I have left the original photos of Sammy and I baking these the first time around!
I wonder if my mom was as tormented by Halloween candy as I am? It drives me batty. For one thing, my kids never eat it all. For another, I like to bake–and nothing is more annoying to a cook or baker than having homemade goods passed over in favor of fake fruity junk. Or even scrumptious chocolate junk.
Last year we started strongly encouraging charity with the candy–giving it away in one way (true charity) or another (John’s classes). But this year, after 3 different nights of trick or treating, I decided to also start using up some of the candy in other ways, such as baked goods.
So Sammy and I hit the mixer this week with all of our Snickers bars and most of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I found this recipe over at Cookie Madness–it’s simple, sturdy (important in a bar cookie), and delicious. Sammy and I each tried one (YUM), but otherwise they all went to the teachers at Alex’s school (it is parent-teacher conference week and since the school is in the middle of nowhere the PTG provides dinners including dessert for the teachers, as the conferences go through the dinner hour). They were all eaten–and there was a lot–so I assume they were liked.
[We made this recipe again in November 2015, only this time we used a lot of extra M&Ms around the house as well, leading to the red and yellow in the bars. I think any chocolate candy would work, except mint, but be aware of what your family likes. I left out any candy with coconut for example.]
The crumbled oat topping is mixed with the chopped candy cars. As far as I am concerned this is the most take on streusel ever.
I love this picture–I wish I had gotten all of Sammy’s face, as she is peering intently into the crumbled candy mixture. She is so serious about it!
- 1 t baking soda
- 1 1/2 cups (189 g) AP flour
- 1/4 t fine sea salt
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 12 T unsalted butter softened
- 1/4 cup peanut butter
- 1 cup brown sugar packed
- 1 t vanilla
- 1 egg
- 1 14 oz can Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 4 cups chopped chocolate candy bars and chocolate candies like M&Ms
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- coarse sea salt for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 10X15 pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
Whisk together the baking soda, salt and flour. Mix in the rolled oats. Set aside.
Cream together the butter and peanut butter. Scrape the sides and bottom and of the bowl. Add the brown sugar and beat until fluffy.
Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and beat in the egg and vanilla.
Mix in the flour-oat mixture on low. Do not overmix--but when it is evenly incorporated, remove 1 1/3 cups of the mixture and set aside.
Press the remaining dough into the bottom of the pan. Use damp fingers--it will seem like it might not be enough, but just keep pushing and spreading and it will spread.
Bake for 15 minutes.
While it is baking, mix together the reserved oat mixture with your chopped candy bars.
When the crust comes out of the oven, pour the sweetened condensed milk over it. Then sprinkle the candy bar-oat mixture evenly over the that. Sprinkle with chocolate chips if desired.
Sprinkle with coarse sea salt if desired.
Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool completely before slicing.
For those who like collages….
I get super frustrated when my roommates bring home candy…or bake brownies out of a box. Homemade, from-scratch, is always SO much better. Next time they bring home loads of chocolate, I’m going to hijack it and make these bars. They look delicious!
Jen at The Three Little Piglets says
Those sounds delicious! Love the topping. My kids like the candy for a few days because of the novelty, but then they’re ready for me to start baking again. I try to save a lot of the good stuff for my holiday baking.
Sarah @ a dash and a pinch says
All I did was throw reeses cups into a brownie mix because I didn’t have time to make some from scratch. I wish I had saved them to make this though! It looks much better 🙂
as i recall, you always hid your halloween candy in your room so your siblings would not steal it all. you would keep it until it petrified. also, your dad wants to know when you are making him whoopie pies. love, mom
Kiri W. says
I bet it’s annoying for a baking queen like yourself to have candy be preferred. Personally, I like all those use-up-your-candy recipes, but since I’ve never trick or treated in my life (not American), I can’t really connect to it, and would have to buy candy specifically – and somehow, that’s not the spirit of the recipe.
Well I HAVE been known to buy unwrapped miniature Resse’s Peanut Butter Cups to bake with. 🙂 What really gets me is all the fake fruity junk. Blech!
Jenn@Baking Jenn's Blog says
These sound so good. Great way to get rid of all that Halloween candy we all still have laying around.
Beth Michelle says
These look amazing! No wonder there were none left! Such a great use of extra candy bars!