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
- 1½ cups (189 g) AP flour
- ¼ t fine sea salt
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 12 T unsalted butter, softened
- ¼ 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)
- ½ 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 1⅓ 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. The 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….