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

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter (no-stir type preferred)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter OR coconut oil
2 teaspoons honey (optional)
1 tablespoon heavy cream OR coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons sweetener of choice (I use 2 Tablespoons of my stevia blend or Truvia)
Pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts

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

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)

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.

46 Comments on Sugar-Free Low Carb Candy Bars… really.

  1. Anonymous
    July 12, 2008 at 2:58 am (14 years ago)

    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 🙂


  2. jeri
    July 12, 2008 at 3:50 pm (14 years ago)

    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 Kay’s World

  3. Jennifer Barney
    July 13, 2008 at 6:06 pm (14 years ago)

    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 and if it looks interesting to you please write me! (sorry, can’t send your readers free jars too…)

    • Anonymous
      December 11, 2017 at 6:15 pm (5 years ago)

      I hope he got that jar.

  4. Lauren
    July 14, 2008 at 1:48 am (14 years ago)

    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!

  5. journeytaker
    December 15, 2008 at 5:35 pm (14 years ago)

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

  6. The Gluten-free 'Dish'
    December 23, 2008 at 2:17 pm (14 years ago)

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

  7. The Gluten-free 'Dish'
    December 23, 2008 at 2:17 pm (14 years ago)

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

  8. Anonymous
    March 10, 2009 at 10:26 pm (14 years ago)

    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!

  9. Lauren
    March 12, 2009 at 8:49 am (14 years ago)

    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!

  10. AnnInMaine
    November 6, 2009 at 4:31 am (13 years ago)

    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.

  11. Brandon
    April 29, 2010 at 1:14 am (13 years ago)

    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!

  12. Rachel
    May 26, 2010 at 3:50 am (13 years ago)

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

  13. javieth
    August 15, 2010 at 7:28 pm (12 years ago)

    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.

    • Becca
      December 11, 2017 at 6:16 pm (5 years ago)


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    September 3, 2010 at 10:36 pm (12 years ago)

    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.

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    November 13, 2010 at 6:31 am (12 years ago)

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

  16. Anonymous
    January 30, 2011 at 5:05 am (12 years ago)

    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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    March 8, 2011 at 12:21 pm (12 years ago)

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    March 30, 2011 at 3:29 am (12 years ago)

    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..

  19. Anonymous
    June 17, 2011 at 1:27 am (11 years ago)

    where is the caramel recipe you mentioned?

  20. Anonymous
    August 27, 2011 at 8:36 pm (11 years ago)

    Your recipes are awesome and much needed. Good job!

  21. Anonymous
    October 18, 2011 at 5:36 pm (11 years ago)

    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…

  22. Lauren
    June 3, 2013 at 3:17 am (9 years ago)

    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

    • Lauren B.
      June 13, 2013 at 8:19 pm (9 years ago)

      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!

  23. noelle harsanyi
    January 27, 2014 at 1:43 am (9 years ago)

    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.

    • Lauren Benning
      February 4, 2014 at 7:49 pm (9 years ago)

      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! 😉

  24. Kelly
    October 17, 2014 at 9:14 pm (8 years ago)

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

    • Lauren Benning
      October 25, 2014 at 11:42 am (8 years ago)

      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!

    • Lauren B.
      October 25, 2014 at 11:42 am (8 years ago)

      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!

  25. Andrea
    September 5, 2015 at 6:11 pm (7 years ago)

    The carb count for the mock pay days is with or without the honey? Honey isnt low carb so i couldnt use it 🙁 the batter tastes great without it by the way.

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  39. Daphne
    July 21, 2018 at 8:18 am (4 years ago)

    Mock Payday recipe: OMGoodness these are fabulous! I used pyure as my sweetener, crunchy Wal-Mart brand organic PB (less carbs) and 2 scoops of promix unflavored protein puffs (2g per scoop). I’ll never buy another Atkins bar.

  40. Kari
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    I am. It sure how you get 29g of protein. I got 14.5 grams.
    Could I make freeze?
    How long do they last in the fridge?
    What caramel sauce are you talking about?