An Unsalted Peanut Challenge

To say that work has been crazy the last month would be an understatement.  I work in IT.  We had, let's say, some system issues that required some of our staff to work nearly 24x7 for an entire month.  No, this is not what we in IT define as fun.

The team had a war room in which a not insignificant number of snacks were always available.  One coworker was tasked with bringing in peanuts.  Seems simple enough, right?  Well, after you've been working day and night for a few weeks, dealing not only with the techy folks working the issues but also with IT and business leadership, well, you get tired.  When you stop at the store on your way to work to pick up said peanuts you may not look so closely at the label.  You might just pick up unsalted peanuts.  Yep, that's what happened.

My challenge?  Make the unsalted peanuts into something that tastes good.  I was up for the challenge.

I Googled, I scoured Pinterest, I even checked Cook's Illustrated and I found what I think is the perfect use!  Homemade Snickers bars!

They actually called for salted peanuts but with a cup of regular peanut butter, caramels and chocolate in the recipe, I didn't really think the extra salt on the peanuts would make that big of a difference.

Here is a link to the recipe, complete with great step-by-step pictures!
Homemade Snickers Bars

I have never made nougat before so this was a first!  The ingredients in nougat? Butter, sugar, evaporated milk, marshmallow fluff, peanut butter and vanilla.  Who knew?

Melt a little butter in a pan, add the marshmallow and peanut butter and a little vanilla and cook it until it's nice and bubbly.

The nougat is poured into a pan that has been lined with parchment.  This allows you to get the bars out of the pan to cut them!

Into the frig this goes for about half an hour.

The next layer is the caramels and peanuts. If you are lucky, you have a hubby who will unwrap all the caramels for you!

I chopped the peanuts up just a little.

The caramels are melted with a little heavy cream and the peanuts are added.

This mixture is "poured" over the nougat layer.  I used quotes around poured because this is  a pretty thick mixture.  Maybe I didn't have the pot hot enough (I didn't want to burn the caramels) or maybe this is just the way it is supposed to be but if you make these, work quickly with this step!

Back to the refrigerator.  The recipe says to leave it in the refrigerator 30-60 minutes or overnight.  It was already late in the day so I opted for overnight.  Next time I may not do that.  Keep reading!

After 30 to 60 minutes or overnight, it's time to coat the candy bars in chocolate.  The first step in that process is to make candy bars out of the pan of nougat and caramel.  Here's where I think the 30 to 60 minutes may have been better.  

These are HARD to cut.  I mean really hard to cut!  Some of them even sort of shattered so maybe I should have let them come to room temperature just a little bit.

I cut them in two sizes, some people may not want a big one right?

The chocolate in which they are dipped is not just chocolate but a mixture of peanut butter and chocolate.  I prefer Ghirardelli 60% cocoa chocolate chips.

Get that all melty and it's time to make Snickers bars!

Dip the bars in the chocolate, shake off the excess and leave them on a piece of parchment to dry.  The recipe said you could put them in the frig but I don't like how chocolate sweats when taken out of the frig so mine just stayed on the counter.

I had a bit of chocolate left so I put it in a pastry bag and decorated my candy bars!

They looked pretty good!

My husband, as usual, was by guinea pig.  He thought they did taste like Snickers.  He thought real Snickers had a more milk chocolate coating but he thought they were really good.

I didn't temper the chocolate when I melted it.  I thought maybe with the peanut butter that wasn't necessary.  But the chocolate did seem to bloom just a little.  No worries, they taste good and I'm sure the folks at work tomorrow won't mind!

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