Sugar-Free Low Carb Candy Bars… really.

This is my last recipe involving peanut butter for awhile, I swear! I’m finally tiring of the taste, which is a move in the right direction for me. The silky richness of nut butters can make it easy to consume them in excess! While nut butters are certainly healthier than processed junk food, they are very calorie dense, and laden with polyunsaturated oils.

If you too have peanut butter issues, or if you don’t like the taste (gasp!) use almond butter or sun butter in this recipe. Almond butter has higher proportion of monounsaturated fats, so some would consider it a more nourishing alternative to peanut butter. Admittedly, the real reason I’m not addicted to almond butter is the $12 a jar price tag!

This recipe was way too much fun to play around with, so I went a little crazy with the variations. The best part about it is the simple and readily available ingredients! You can use the microwave and get just one bowl dirty. If your mind hasn’t been blown yet, it will be when you find out this can be made dairy-free. Creamy unsweetened coconut milk is the magic maker for this trick. It will be a hint coconut-ty unless you use expeller-pressed coconut oil, but the texture will be just as dreamy.

These treats are smooth and peanut-buttery, with a salty crunch from the peanuts. They don’t really taste like Pay Day at all because they’re a hundred times better, and don’t stick to your teeth! These treats are named after those corn syrup-filled bars because of the similarity in appearances. Don’t be fooled.

Mock “PayDay” Peanut Treats
Inspired by this recipe by “Blenders”

Makes 6 bars


Ingredients:
1/4 cup peanut butter (no-stir type preferred)
2 tablespoons non-hydrogenated shortening, unsalted butter, or coconut oil
2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon heavy cream OR coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon pure stevia extract OR sugar-free sweetener of choice
pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (optional)

Preparation:
Add peanut butter, honey, and butter to a microwave safe dish. Microwave on high for one minute. Remove and immediately whisk in vanilla extract and heavy cream or coconut milk. Stir in sweetener, xanthan gum (if using), and pinch of salt. Taste and adjust if necessary. Fold in peanuts and drop in globs on to a pan lined with wax paper. Chill in freezer until firm, then transfer to refrigerator.

~6g net carbs per treat

For Peanut Butter Dessert Topping, whisk extra cream or coconut milk into “Pay Day” treat mixture ingredients until the sauce is smooth and light in color. Use almond butter for the most neutral taste. This sauce is also delicious made dairy-free. If you use coconut milk in place of heavy cream, there will be a subtle coconut flavoring. The sauce will be just as creamy, though. This would be heavenly over low carb ice cream. You could also dip apples or strawberries into it!

Ditch the polysyllabic ingredients of pre-packaged bars with these easy homemade protein bars. No refrigeration required! This recipe is easy on your digestive system, with no harsh sugar alcohols (maltitol is truly evil!) or an ungodly amount of fiber. It’s also pocketbook friendly since the ingredients are pretty cheap. Start with a quality whey (not soy!) protein powder free of artificial sweeteners and preservatives. I like Jay Robb or Jarrow Formulas unflavored whey protein. These protein bars may look like cookies, and they may smell like cookies, but they are NOT peanut butter cookies! I have a recipe for those and will get around posting at some point. I repeat, these are not cookies. They are dry and chewy because of the high whey protein content, just like real protein bars. If you’re using stevia, remember to make the dough a bit sweeter than you want the baked product to be.

Just for fun, let’s have a look at the ingredients for an Atkins Advantage Chocolate Peanut Butter protein bar:
Ingredients: protein blend [soy protein isolate, hydrolyzed collagen, whey protein isolate (milk), sodium caseinate], glycerine, polydextrose, dry roasted peanut, peanut flour, palm kernel and palm oil, cellulose, coconut oil, cocoa powder (processed with alkali), natural and artificial flavor, olive oil, butter oil, soy lecithin, maltodextrin, salt, guar gum, citric acid, sucralose, mono and diglycerides, dipotassium phosphate, acesulfame potassium. nutrition blend: tricalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, magnesium oxide, vitamin a palmitate, ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbate, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, cyanocobalamin, alpha tocopheryl acetate, niacinamide, biotin, calcium pantothenate, zinc oxide, folic acid, chromium chelate, phytonadione, sodium selenite. contains: soy, milk and peanuts.

I’ll admit to ingesting this frankenfood every once in awhile when I’m desperate for a sweet fix or on the road. It’s relieving to have a better option now!

Mock Protein/Atkins Bars

Makes four bars

Ingredients:
1/4 cup natural peanut butter (any nut butter would work)
2 tablespoons organic unsalted butter OR coconut oil
2 teaspoons honey
2 tablespoons heavy cream OR coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon pure stevia extract
pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup whey protein powder (check for additives and carb content)

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Add nut butter, honey, and butter to a microwave safe dish. Microwave on high for one minute. Remove and immediately whisk in vanilla extract and heavy cream or coconut milk. Stir in sweetener and pinch of salt. Taste and adjust if necessary. Stir in protein powder until mixture clumps together. Don’t worry if it separates and some of the liquid weeps out of the dough. Press mixture as flat as you can into a greased loaf pan. I like to place a piece of wax paper over the dough and press it flat with a smaller loaf pan. Bake for 8 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Let sit for 10 minutes in the pan. The dough will absorb all of the liquid that has bubbled up. Slice with a sharp knife and store in baggies. Does not need to be refrigerated.

~5g net carbs and 29g protein per bar

Naked protein bars. Consume with gulps of water between bites.

Take your protein bars to the next level. Melt some 85% cacao content chocolate and sweeten it with stevia, to taste. Paint it across the bottoms of the protein bars with the small end of a spoon. Place chocolate side down on a chilled pan lined with wax paper. Make a recipe of the caramel sauce and spread it over the tops of the protein bars. Press sliced almonds into the caramel sauce. Paint chocolate over the tops and sides. Chill to firm up the chocolate. Place in a baggy for transport in your gym bag.

From drab to fab! I present to you mock Atkins bars, covered in dark chocolate and filled with caramel bars with a nice crunch from slivered almonds:

No preservatives or soy in that delicious bite.

  • Anonymous

    WOW!!! Boy, do these treats ever look good. I’m very impressed with your Atkins bar makeover too. Way to go!

    Bookmarking, and printing.

    Thanks :)

    Sara

  • jeri

    OMG- I can’t wait to try your recipes–your pix are beautiful!!

    I have some sugar free honey I’m gonna use instead of regular honey.

    I enjoy your blog–
    Jeri

    Jeri Kay’s World
    http://jerimartinez5011.spaces.live.com/

  • Jennifer Barney

    Those are amazing! Can I send you a jar of my almond butter? You are so creative I bet you’ll make something fabulous with Barney Butter. check out http://www.barneybutter.com and if it looks interesting to you please write me! (sorry, can’t send your readers free jars too…)

  • Lauren

    Sara – Thank you! Hope you enjoy the recipes. :)

    Jeri – Please let me know how these turn out with the sugar-free honey!

    Jennifer – I sent you an email. Your product looks wonderful!

  • journeytaker

    Do you have to use honey? Is there a substitute for it?

  • The Gluten-free ‘Dish’

    I glad to find you and your healthy recipes! Thanks for sharing your delights. I look forward to trying some myself.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03357615732853348757 The Gluten-free 'Dish'

    I glad to find you and your healthy recipes! Thanks for sharing your delights. I look forward to trying some myself.

  • Anonymous

    I happened upon your blog. All of your recipes look great. I can’t wait to try some of them. I have a question. NuNaturals stevia-is it better tasting than other brands (I hope)? B/c I have tried others. Lol. :) Another thing, I saw it at my local store, but it is so expensive. Is the one you use the liquid? And I am guessing since you don’t need much per recipe it lasts a very long time. A little bottle at my store costs $12. Have you tried the powder and is it any good? Thanks so much!

  • Lauren

    Anon – Please see my latest post on NuNaturals stevia! I use the pure powder form that comes in a 1 oz bottle. It is worth every penny!

  • AnnInMaine

    HI I made the Atkins bars and they crumbled on me! What did I do wrong?
    I used EAS Whey protein powder. Is there a weight for this like grams or oz?

    Or maybe I made them to thin? How thick are they supposed to be? Did I cook them to long? 8 mins.

    They tasted good, but disapointed they crumbled so easily.

  • Brandon

    OK, you hit every note within me in your posts! I became quite "addicted" to peanut butter as well, and for a few months would only consume it with a spoon instead of a spread!

    I know peanuts are definitely not the best nuts, with their aflatoxins and loads of omega-6 fats; however, even organic peanut butter is so inexpensive that it is so easy to fall in love.

    Now the taste of peanut butter is growing quite tired; in fact, just thinking about it is making me a bit queazy (yay!). I like it every now and then, but am starting to use other things.

    I make my own sunflower seed butter. Raw, organic and cheaper than peanut butter. I also make almond butter when I can get people to buy me almonds, or walnuts, which are my nuts of choice.

    I love this post!

  • Rachel

    You mention "the caramel sauce." Where is the recipe for that?

  • javieth

    I love the candies and to share it with my boyfriend in a speciall time. Actually when he buy viagra we share not only our candies but a great time together. I really love it!!! for me the candy are very delicous.

  • Viagra Online

    Those candies look very good, but I'd rather get fat like a cow than stop eating sugar. Sweet flavor in my mouth, nothing like that.

  • buy generic viagra

    I am very fond of eating and your pictures making me crazy.These are sugar free that's a very nice stuff.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you so much for the recipe. We made the Pay Day Bars. They are so good. We did our best to get the following info for this using 1 1/2 tbsp Xylitol & organic honey & organic peanut butter. Made 8 small bars. For qty 2: 230 calories, 23 carb, 17 fat, 7 protein, 0 cholesterol, 3 fiber. Can't wait to try your other recipes!!!

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  • auto insurance companies

    IAre you serious??are they really sugar free?It will be awesome if it's possible to make candy bars without sugars.I was bored to having as usual normal tastes everyday.thanks for sharing it with us..

  • Anonymous

    where is the caramel recipe you mentioned?

  • Anonymous

    Your recipes are awesome and much needed. Good job!

  • Anonymous

    A low carb lifestyle has been the key to loosing 85lbs. and maintaining the loss for several years now. I've been looking for a good "one source" place to get all my information, recipes and in particular one for the energy and candy bars…this is it! Wow!…if somebody hadn't told me I'd swear the universe is granting me an "AH HA" day full of moments…

  • Lauren

    Hi I just made Mock peanut treats and they taste delicious but they haven’t quite set properly. How long do they take to set? I could of added a bit too much peanut butter. Thank you

    • http://www.healthyindulgences.net/ Lauren B.

      Hi, Lauren! They tend to set be in the fridge. If you keep them cold, they should have the proper consistency. :) They get a bit gooey at room temperature!

  • noelle harsanyi

    Just made the pay day bars for my husband (who, thankfully won’t eat any of the brownies I just made from your recipe) and he says they’re great! Glad to have recipes he likes too. Thanks again for posting all these wonderful low carb recipes.

    • http://www.healthyindulgences.net/ Lauren Benning

      Noelle, thanks for sharing your feedback about this recipe! It’s always good when you can make a treat that both you AND your husband can enjoy. Maybe he’ll get on board with your sugar-free eating plan! ;)

  • Kelly

    This looks so good!. Love your recipes!, But I haven’t been getting your newsletter by email in a long while.

    • http://www.healthyindulgences.net/ Lauren Benning

      Kelly, I have not set up the new email list, as my subscriber count (5,000+!) has exceeded my budget. Still looking for a good free email list manager. Thank you for your patience!

    • http://www.healthyindulgences.net/ Lauren B.

      Kelly, I have not set up the new email list, as my subscriber count (5,000+!) has exceeded my budget. Still looking for a good free email list manager. Thank you for your patience!