Whole Food Vegan Snickers Brownies

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(Note: this post was originally published on October 25, 2020. The date above reflects migration to the new platform.)

My Greatest Triumph

I'm happy to report that I've stumbled upon dessert heaven. No joke, these are one of the most delicious things I've ever created, and I've been making them again and again. I feel guilty for keeping them to myself for so long, but I wanted to share them for Halloween since they're a remake of a classic candy bar. Get ready for reinvented Snickers bars!

I've been seeing various Snickers creations around Instagram recently and wanted to try my own version. I was particularly inspired by the "Snickers Brownies" from Broma Bakery, which are unbelievably beautiful. My mission: to make a snickers-inspired brownie with simple whole food ingredients and natural sweeteners.

Not to brag, but I killed it. These are epic.

Snickers brownies with a chocolate drizzle

Three Awesome (+ Nourishing) Layers

The bottom layer of these bars is the most delicious, chocolatey, fudgy brownie. The secret ingredient? Dates! They create a brownie that is so moist and rich, and completely fruit-sweetened as well. Load them up with chocolate chips for good measure.

The second layer is a caramel of sorts, but one that is super easy to put together and requires only three ingredients: peanut butter, maple syrup, and maybe a tiny bit of coconut oil depending on the consistency of your peanut butter. Thanks to my foodie friend Andrea (@Sweet.In.Nature) for introducing me to the life-altering concept of peanut butter caramel!

Finally, you'll top the whole creation off with peanuts, a drizzle of dark chocolate, and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt. The combination of the crunchy nuts with the soft caramel below and the fudgy brownie at the bottom really takes these over the top. If you really want to go crazy, an additional drizzle of your favorite caramel sauce would be wonderful and totally on-theme.

Amazingly, these "Snickers" are essentially just fruit and nuts. They're so rich and indulgent, but they fuel the body as well. They're loaded with protein from the peanut butter and peanuts, fiber from the dates, and won't leave you in a sugar crash afterward. The other thing that's great about these bars is the balance of sweet and salty; don't forget the little sprinkle of flaky sea salt on top, it makes the bars so addicting.

Snickers brownies from above, cut into squares

Timing and Storage Notes

A few useful things to think about before you dive in. Most importantly, these delightful treats do require a couple different steps. First you'll bake and then cool the brownies, then you'll make and add the peanut butter caramel and let it set, then you'll add the chocolate drizzle and let it harden. Nothing about them is difficult or terribly hands-on, but there is a bit of waiting time between the steps, so this isn't a good recipe to dive into when you're in a rush.

Additionally, please cool these bars completely before you try to cut them! The temptation to dive into them warm will be extreme, but you'll get much cleaner cuts if you chill them first. This means you'll need to think ahead a bit, but that's a small price to pay for these epic Snickers Brownies!

In terms of storage, I'd suggest keeping these in the fridge. The caramel layer will keep its shape better when it's cool, and the chocolate drizzle will stay neater that way too.

Snickers brownies from above, cut into squares

Let's Talk Ingredients

Here's what you'll need for this recipe, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.

  • Dates. Double check that they're pitted!
  • Peanut butter. You'll use good old PB in both the brownies and the caramel layer. I find the caramel works better with a thicker peanut butter, i.e. not a drippy one. Otherwise, your caramel layer won't firm up as well.
  • Milk. I like baking with soy milk because of its richness, but anything will work. I prefer unsweetened and unflavored.
  • Cocoa powder
  • Flax seed meal
  • Apple cider vinegar. I know this sounds weird, but it helps to activate the baking soda, giving the bars some loft despite their dense ingredients. You can't taste it.
  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Dark chocolate chips. Both for adding to the brownies and making the chocolate drizzle. Choose dairy-free and/or minimally-sweetened as desired.
  • Maple syrup
  • Coconut oil. You'll use just a tad of coconut oil to help thin out the caramel and the chocolate drizzle.
  • Peanuts. For sprinkling on top and really reinforcing the snickers vibe! Either roasted salted peanuts OR honey-roasted peanuts will work great, I've tried both and they each have their own merits.
  • Flaky sea salt. I love fleur de sel!

Snickers brownies with chocolate drizzle

Closing Thoughts

Were you a Snickers fan as a kid? Believe it or not, I actually didn't like nuts (gasp!!!), so I was never very excited about Snickers when they appeared in my trick-or-treating bag. But now that I'm a nut fiend, I wish in retrospect I had enjoyed them more as a kid. I guess that's okay though, these Snickers-inspired bars are so much better!

We've been loving these bars for dessert, and also lunch! Given their ingredients, I think Snickers for lunch is totally fair game, right?? Enjoy and happy Halloween!

Close-up of Snickers brownies

Share It!

It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.

Whole Food Vegan Snickers Brownies

These decadent treats unite fudgy brownies and an indulgent peanut butter caramel for a magical Snickers-like experience. Even better, they're made from good-for-the-body ingredients like dates! Can you believe they're flourless and fruit sweetened??

Author:
Lee

Ingredients

For the Brownies

  • 2 c pitted dates
  • 1 c peanut butter
  • 1 c milk of choice
  • 0.25 c cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp flax seed meal
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 0.5 tsp baking powder
  • 0.25 tsp salt
  • 1 c dark chocolate chips

For the Peanut Butter Caramel

  • 1 c peanut butter (ideally non-drippy)
  • 0.25 c maple syrup
  • Up to 1-2 tsp coconut oil if needed

For the Toppings

  • Big handful of roasted salted peanuts OR honey-roasted peanuts
  • 0.25 c dark chocolate chips
  • Tiny bit of coconut oil
  • Few pinches of flaky sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and thoroughly oil an 8x8 baking dish. Note that this is a sticky dough, so oiling is critical! Conversely, you can line the bottom of the baking dish with parchment paper, which is usually fail-proof.
  2. Measure all of the brownie ingredients except the chocolate chips into a food processor. Process until you have a thick, sticky dough that's homogeneous throughout.
  3. Remove the blade from the food processor and add the chocolate. Mix everything together with a spoon or spatula until the chocolate is evenly incorporated.
  4. Spread the dough into the prepared baking dish with a spatula; it may need some persuasion. Try to create a layer of even thickness that goes all the way into the corners.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-35 minutes until just barely cooked through in the center. Remove them from the oven and cool for at least 30 minutes before trying to add the next layers. If the brownie layer has puffed up at all during baking, gently press the top down while they're still warm; the caramel will go on much more easily if you have a flat surface. If you want to make the brownies in advance, just keep them tightly covered in the fridge, right in the baking pan, until you're ready for the next steps.
  6. To make the caramel layer, combine the peanut butter and maple syrup in a sauce pan over low heat. Stir and heat gently until you have a thick but spreadable consistency. If needed, add a tiny bit of coconut oil to thin it out. You want to be able to spread the caramel over your brownies without damaging their surface.
  7. Pour the caramel over the brownies and spread into an even layer, all the way to the edges of the baking dish.
  8. Scatter a big handful of peanuts across the top immediately, while the caramel is still warm. Press the peanuts down gently to make sure they'll stick.
  9. Finally, make the chocolate drizzle. In a saucepan over very low heat, combine the chocolate chips and just enough coconut oil to get a shiny, thin consistency that can easily be drizzled. Drizzle it across the top of your bars.
  10. Sprinkle the top with a few pinches of flaky sea salt before the chocolate hardens.
  11. Cool the bars completely, then cover the baking dish and put the whole thing in the fridge. Keep them there overnight! If you try to get them out of the baking dish sooner, you'll have a big (but tasty) mess. Store them in a tightly sealed container in the fridge after cutting.

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Please Share Your Thoughts!

Did you make this recipe? Did you make substitutions? How did you serve it? Any helpful tips? Please share your thoughts, since these insights are really useful to both me and to other readers.

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LizzyInVermont
November 7, 2020
I made these for my husband's birthday this week and he LOVES snickers bars....we are trying to eat healthy and this recipe was the answer to eating well and feeling decadent! It was so good. This recipe is a keeper. No one even knew it was healthy. Thank you!