Snickers, Mars, Bounty, Kit Kat and Twix chocolate bars have a special place in my heart. When I was 10, my mom went to England to study for a month. I stayed with grandma in Ukraine and needless to say was crossing out days on a calendar. When mom came back, she brought me a pair of my 1st high heel girl’s shoes (black, lacquer; I wished my feet stopped growing) and a bunch of chocolate bars. Among them was Snickers. It was my first time trying a chocolate bar of this kind ever. Think USSR, communism, no imports etc. I stashed them in my desk and cut a small piece each day. About 10 bars lasted me a month or so. Once I was out, next time I tried a bar was when I was 15 and imports started to be allowed in Ukraine.
These 5 chocolate bars are still my favourite bars! Just like banana is my favourite fruit ever. I first tried it at 9, when my dad visited (my parents got divorced when I was 6) with a few bananas he brought from Moscow. I remember stuffing my face with bananas in a school’s bathroom so no kids could see me eating them. Otherwise I would have to share or their feelings would be hurt. I also didn’t wanna take them home and share with other 7 people in my house (my childhood was rough and I would never wanna go back). Let’s be honest, who wants to share 1 out of 6 bananas you might not eat for another 5 years?! I didn’t and I still think that was the right decision. Many other kids were not as poor as me, they could afford more treats. I remember when I came to Canada I couldn’t stop eating bananas for days. I also couldn’t believe the price. We still eat about 6 bananas a day between 4 of us.
Ever since then I clearly remember a taste of Snickers bar – salted peanuts, gooey caramel and milk chocolate. Oh, there was also a white nougat, I think. I do not buy these bars now but with all this heat thought would be a great idea to recreate a healthy version at home. I also wanted more of a snack bar than a dessert, or something in between. So, I mixed oats with peanut butter, topped them with meaty Medjool dates to add sweetness and caramel layer, poured melted organic chocolate chips on top, sprinkled with peanuts and sea salt.
I used a loaf pan as a mold and cut healthy Snickers bars into long skinny bars. Placed in front of the boys and asked to tell me what is inside. I always make them guess to get an independent opinion on the ingredients. No one mentioned oats and everyone said caramel LOL. The only thing my kids didn’t like was the dark chocolate on top, they asked for milk one. Next time. I also recommend using more dates and place them tightly next to each other. My bars weren’t sweet enough and were missing “caramel” here and there. I have adjusted the recipe accordingly.
We are still in the midst of a crazy heat wave. Reservoir water levels are low, it is +20C at 4 AM and blueberries are here. Huh, blueberries at the end of June?! This is crazy. I feel so tired from heat and no motivation to work out or cook anything warmer than room temperature. I can tolerate hot coffee though. We spent Canada Day at the lake with friends. It was a total zoo but better than our house-sauna. I forgot to snap a photo of our lunch-dinner but the table was chaotic with relish, buns and sausages anyways.
The night before I placed a whole chicken in a slow cooker to roast outside. By 11 PM I had cooked chicken without heating my house. Tastewise nothing special (Alex loved it but he eats everything because he knows better not to complain as he can’t cook – smart man). Then we also packed cooked pasta, bread, tomatoes, apples, Nature’s Path Coconut Chia Granola (we all loved snacking on it but others didn’t like it – talking about tastebuds overpowered by relish hot dogs and Red Bull) and watermelon. We have this new organic store, Bodhi, open and it sells THE bomb watermelons – $0.49c/lb, crunchy, juicy and sweet. Huge watermelon costs about $9. The best watermelon I have ever tried!!! Just like the ones I ate as a kid in Moldova (super warm climate area perfect to grow melons). I bought about 7 so far and not a single bad one. Our friends cut a conventional one after and I couldn’t eat it.
Tonight I’m going to Costco to stock up on organic snacks as I’m running low on ideas and energy for the lake picnics. And I will be stopping for another watermelon for sure.:)
- 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter, unsalted
- 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats (use gluten free for GF version)
- 10 - 12 Medjool dates, pitted
- 1/4 cup peanuts, plain
- 1 cup chocolate chips (I used organic semi-sweet)
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tbsp peanuts, finely chopped
- Sea salt, to taste
- Line 9" x 5" loaf pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, add peanut butter, coconut oil, vanilla extract, salt and stir to combine. Add oats and mix well (might use your hands). Transfer to prepared loaf pan and pat into a layer using your hands and spatula.
- Place pitted Medjool dates inside side down, a butterfly shape, tightly in a single layer leaving no gaps (tighter than in my photos, I did it wrong but still wanted to show the placement of dates). Sprinkle with 1/4 cup peanuts.
- Melt chocolate chips with coconut oil either in microwave or over a double boiler. Pour over layers and spread with spatula. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and sea salt. Freeze for about an hour or until chocolate is firm. Remove from the pan by holding onto parchment paper flaps and cut into 11 - 12 bars. Enjoy frozen.