BONUS * BONUS * BONUS
As promised in my November post, here is my 2017 bonus recipe since someone may have missed a month here or there….
This recipe originates from one of my favorite blogs, Gluten Free on a Shoestring. Nicole, who is the mastermind behind that blog recently posted a recipe for gluten free 7 layer bars. I made these bars for my family and they were knock you down delicious! You can catch a picture of the 7 layer bars I made on my Instagram page (jksasse).
Nicole mentions in her post that this recipe is infinitely customizable. Now this got my wheels turning…. what have I been missing, what could take a bar form like this????
Now, I don’t know about you guys, but before going gluten free I loved Take5 candy bars. They are salty and sweet while being crunchy and gooey. Everything you love in a candy bar but the base of it is a GLUTEN FILLED pretzel. <Insert crying here.>
THE GAME PLAN
So, I thought if I could take the base premise of a 7 layer bar and convert it into a Take5 candy bar, I’d be in heaven! I just had to sit down and determine all of the components of a Take5 and then of course google it and compare it to the ingredients that I found online on the actual Hershey site.
Basically, it’s a pretzel base with peanut butter, peanuts, caramel and chocolate. I needed to have all of those components in the bar I was making in order to get the same flavor profile.
I have to say that the bar I ended up making turned out super well! It definitely was sweet & salty while being crunchy & gooey (at room temp after you cut them). It ended up very tall but as you can tell by the pictures, the layers are very pronounced which I really liked!
WHAT STAYED THE SAME
So basically, I kept the graham cracker crust the same because, hello!!! it’s graham cracker crust and that stuff is soooooo good! Though I have to say if I make these bars again, I may try out a pretzel type of bottom crust instead.
I also kept the chocolate the same, though I added more of it on the top. I wanted that feeling of it being encased in chocolate like the original Take5 bar.
I also kept the sweetened condensed milk because this acts as the glue to keep the entire bar together. I was thinking though that I potentially could add some caramel sauce or dulce de leche to the sweetened condensed milk or maybe replace it? These are good ideas for next time!
I actually ended up changing a lot. I replaced the white chocolate chips with peanut butter chips, added more chocolate chips on the top, and added caramel chips.
I completely replaced the coconut with semi-crushed pretzels. This was a great filler for the middle.
Lastly, I added chopped peanuts to my recipe instead of the original pecans that the 7 layer bars called for since they hit the Take5 flavor profile.
Adapted from the 7 layer bar recipe on Glutenfreeonashoestring.com
- 1 1/2 cups crushed gluten free graham crackers
- 8 Tablespoons salted butter, melted (I always use salted butter!)
- 4 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 4 ounces of Hershey’s peanut butter chips
- 100 grams of semi-crushed pretzels
- 2 ounces of salted caramel chips
- 100 grams of chopped peanuts
- Extra chocolate chips to sprinkle on top (eye ball it)
- 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8×8 square baking dish with parchment paper, making sure that some of it hangs over the 2 sides.
- Mix graham crackers crumbs and melted butter together until everything is well mixed.
- Press cracker/butter mixture into the bottom of the pan really well. I usually use clean hands to really press it in there.
- Sprinkle on the chocolate chips and the peanut butter chips so they are evenly distributed.
- Then layer on the pretzels and caramel chips.
- Finally layer on the chopped peanuts and top with as many chocolate chips as you wish (eye ball it!).
- Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the entire pan making sure to get some over the entire top. Some would say that this shouldn’t be the last step but I disagree – more glue for everything to stay together!
- Place pan in oven for 25-30 minutes. The top should be brownish and bubbly.
- This next part is CRUCIAL. Let it cool at room temp and then either put it in the fridge or outside in your garage (but only if you live in MN during the winter time otherwise this won’t work). It has to be completely cooled and firm in order to take it out.
- Lift up the sides of the parchment paper and lift the bars out when chilled. This will make it super easy to cut clean pieces and the bars will hold together!!