Healthy Homemade Butterfingers

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My brother recently brought over a PB&J  Chobani Flip for me because he’s experimenting with “healthier” snacking and wanted me to try it out. Ignoring the fact that it had 18 grams of sugar, the crunchy peanut topping was quite good and reminded me instantly of the popular candy bar Butterfinger; something I haven’t had in a long time. Although we both love all things peanut butter and chocolate, we have chosen to stay away from processed foods especially made by Nestle. Of course I couldn’t leave my sweet tooth hanging so I sought to create a healthier, homemade version of the candy bar. And that is exactly what I did… in the form of a granola bark.

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Plain granola bark without the peanuts or chocolate drizzle on top.  

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Granola and roasted peanut cluster bark

I did look up how to make homemade Butterfinger but all the recipes I found either required a candy thermometer or even unhealthier store-bought candy corn. Ain’t nobody got time for that! All I did for this recipe was create a sweet, nutty, and crunchy granola as a substitute for the crispy textured inside of the candy bar and made it into a bark for easy assembly. At first, I tried making a batch of granola with regular peanut butter but I felt that I could not control the flavor as I desired so I used PB2 instead and experimented with different combinations of maple syrup, vanilla extract, and salt until I felt I achieved that distinctive Butterfinger taste and texture. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how simple this recipe is and the best part is that it has real wholesome ingredients and none of the preservatives! Just know that this bark is addicting but it does store well in the fridge so try to save some for your friends and family. They’ll be happy you did 🙂

Healthy Homemade Butterfingers

  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

Granola
1 1/2  cups rolled oats
1/2 cup coarse crushed salt roasted peanuts
6 tablespoons PB2 powder
3-4 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Butterfinger bark
1/2 cup of quality milk chocolate, melted
1 1/2 cups of crunchy peanut granola
1/4 cup salt roasted peanuts (optional)

Directions
1. In a mixing bowl, combine PB2 and water. Stir in the salt, vanilla extract, maple syrup, and oil until smooth.
2. Add in rolled oats and crushed peanuts and combine until evenly coated.
3. Spread mixture on a thin baking sheet and bake at 250F for 30 minutes stirring every 5 minutes until evenly golden brown and crunchy.
4. In a double boiler or in the microwave, melt your milk chocolate and spread half of it thinly and evenly on a silicone baking sheet or parchment paper.
5. Immediately top with a generous amount of crunchy peanut butter granola and peanuts  (optional) then drizzle with remaining chocolate. Refrigerate until firm before peeling off the silicone or parchment paper and breaking the bark into pieces. If you have extra granola you can store in an airtight container for snacking at a later time 😉

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Have you ever tried to make a copycat candy recipe? Do share in the comments below. And as always…

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Deliciously Spicy Carrot Cake

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I recently kidnapped a juicer from my dad’s house (just kidding, he gave me permission) to juice some carrots and I was surprised by how much carrot pulp was created out of such a small glass of juice! I didn’t want to waste the carrot shavings so I decided I would make a carrot cake out of them. This time, though, I wanted something a bit different than the generic carrot cakes out there. I was craving a deep rich flavor with a little more kick. After several experiments (there was a lot of carrot pulp), I arrived at what I think is the perfect blend of spice and sweetness. Instead of using solely cinnamon as most recipes call for, this recipes makes use of a blend of beautifully aromatic spices including nutmeg, clove, cardamom, and ginger. It’s the perfect springtime cake and your kitchen will thank you for the aroma.

Deliciously Spicy Carrot Cake

  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
3 eggs (room temperature)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups shredded carrot
1 1/4 cup of vegetable or canola oil

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 350F and spray your cake pan with a non-stick spray. Set aside.
2. In a small mixing bowl, measure out and sift your flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Set aside.
3. In a larger mixing bowl, beat your dark brown sugar, eggs, and shortening until the batter is smooth and a beautiful caramel color.
4. Slowly add in your dry ingredient mixture while beating on low (or whisking).
5. Once the batter is smooth and free of lumps, add in your shredded carrots and mix well.
6. Pour the batter in your sprayed cake pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
7. Let your cake cool on a rack and frost with a cream cheese frosting if you like or slice and serve with a cold glass of milk.

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Measure.

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Mix.

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Bake.

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Cool.

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Frost.

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Enjoy!

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Aromatic Fennel Biscotti

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I love experimenting with foods that have a simple base but can be customized and altered in fun ways. For me, biscotti is one such food. Once you have the dough, you can create any flavor profile your heart desires. It’s the stuff of dreams. Which is why you will probably see a good deal of biscotti on this blog as I have had my fair share of experimenting 😉 This recipe makes use of the beautifully aromatic fennel seed, which we picked up from a bazaar in Istanbul. Often confused with anise (which I am guilty of doing) and used in Indian and Middle Eastern sweets, this sweet spice boasts many health benefits from relieving anemia to indigestion. Not that we need anymore excuses to eat cookies. And because we take our hot drinks very seriously, we suggest you pair these beauties with a warm chai tea latte or sahlab and savor each crumbly dunk.

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Aromatic Fennel Biscotti

  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients
2 cups of all-purpose flour (and extra for kneading)
3/4 cup of sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick of butter (room temperature)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla (we use Trader Joe’s brand)
1/4 cup of fennel seeds

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In one bowl, beat the sugar, salt, butter, vanilla, and eggs (one at a time) until smooth.
  3. Pour in the sifted flour and baking powder and mix well until it forms a dough-like consistency. As the mixing becomes more difficult, flour your hands and knead until smooth.
  4. Add in the fennel and knead by hand for a few minutes until the fennel seeds are evenly spread throughout the dough.
  5. Place your dough on the baking sheet and shape it into a log (about 12 inches long, 2 inches thick) using your hands.
  6. Bake until light golden brown about 30-40 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes.
  7. On a cutting board, cut your log into 1/2 inch thick slices using a sharp serrated knife. I also cut these slices in half as I like my biscotti more bite size.
  8. Place each slice side-up on the baking sheet and return to the oven to bake for another 15-20 minutes or until a deeper golden brown.
  9. Move your biscotti to a rack and let them cool.
  10. Enjoy 🙂

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