Sunday, September 15, 2013

Homemade Payday Bars

I am not big on candy, or really any sweet, for that matter.  Hand me a bag of Goldfish crackers and I'm much happier than if you handed me a chocolate.  However, I've always had a soft spot for Payday candy bars.  The mix of salty and sweet, the crunch of the peanuts combined with the soft chewy center.... there is just something about them that I like.  I very rarely actually eat one, but recently I was feeling famished while back-to-school shopping with Mark at Wal-Mart, and I threw a Payday into the cart.  I devoured it in the car and immediately remembered that I had pinned a recipe for homemade Paydays a long time ago.  That one bar rekindled my love for Paydays, and I was whipping these guys up within a week.

I mean it when I say whipping them up.  They're a no-bake dessert, so they were pretty quick.  You basically melt the nougat ingredients together in the microwave, pour it on top of a layer of peanuts, and press more peanuts into the top.  That's it!  Then you have to wait for them to chill, which was not easy to do because we were dying to try them out, but that's probably the hardest part.  The whole recipe only calls for 6 ingredients, including the peanuts and the sea salt that you sprinkle over the bars when they're all put together.

They are peanut buttery, sweet, salty, crunchy, and chewy all at the same time. I'd say they are a pretty good copycat recipe to the real deal; not exactly but close.  The biggest difference is the mini marshmallows; they don't melt into the center, but you definitely don't see mini marshmallows in the actual candy bars.  I wonder if you could melt the marshmallows into it?  It wasn't a deal breaker for me or anything, but it did alter the look of the candy.  As you might expect, Mom found them "way too sweet" but Kenzie and I liked them.  My family wasn't hugely keen on them - I ended up throwing out a good amount of them - but I will confess to stealing a little piece more often than I usually do with my desserts!  Just make sure to cut them into small squares, because a little bit goes a long way!


homemade Payday bars
from Cookies and Cups

16 ounces dry roasted peanuts
2 cups peanut butter chips
2 tablespoons butter
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 10.5-ounce bag mini marshmallows
1-2 tablespoons flaked sea salt


1) Spray 9x13" pan with baking spray or grease with butter.  Sprinkle half of the peanuts in the bottom of the pan, reserving the other half for later.

2) In a large microwave-safe bowl, heat peanut butter chips and butter in 30 second increments on 50% power, stirring after each until melted.

3)Pour in sweetened condensed milk and microwave on high power for 1 more minute.  Stir until smooth and combined.

4) Fold in marshmallows to peanut butter mixture until evenly coated and then pour oven the peanuts in the pan.

5) Press the remaining nuts into the marshmallow mixture.  Sprinkle with flaked sea salt and chill for about an hour.  Cut into squares.

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