An almost healthy Gluten-free Dairy-free Soy-free Butterfinger

Halloween. I’ve always loved the holiday. As a kid I have happy memories of making my own costumes with my mother, and so it has been important to me to continue this tradition with baby Yum. I made her a ladybug costume last year, and this year I’m making her a girl robot costume. This two year old girl loves twirly skirts, robots, and space shuttles too, and I love that she loves these things. Who says you can’t have tonka trucks and tulle skirts too? Nobody in our house! But the other big thing about halloween is the candy, right? I was never allowed to have candy as a child, partly due to gluten and partly because of the sugar. I would go trick-or-treating, but would give back the candy or give it to my mother, and it wasn’t a big deal. Now that I have my own child and she is becoming more aware of the various traditions associated with holidays, I’ve realized I’m going to have to find my own way with the candy issue. Toddler Yum sometimes has small amounts of sugar- usually combined with healthy things, so it isn’t barred from our house, but have you read the labels on those candy labels? I’ve always been a fan of peanut chocolates like Reese’s or Butterfinger. Since I had a box of Erewhon Unsweetened Corn Flakes Cereal on my kitchen island waiting to be used that I received courtesy of Erewhon representative Alisa Fleming of Go Dairy Free, and I had made an allergen-friendly Reese’s cup in a previous post, I was most interested in the Butterfinger.

Here are the ingredients for your average Butterfinger:
SUGAR, GLUCOSE, PEANUTS, HYDROGENATED PALM KERNEL OIL, COCOA POWDER, MODIFIED MILK INGREDIENTS, MOLASSES, CORN FLAKES, SALT, SOYA LECITHIN, CORN STARCH, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOUR, TBHQ, CITRIC ACID, COLOUR.

Actually, I’ve read worse, but it just doesn’t sound very good or good for you. And how about that TBHQ? Yum!
So I decided it was time to re-think the Butterfinger. At its most basic, this bar is all about the sweet, sweet peanut filling, crispy corn flakes and chocolate shell. One peanut treat that we love and often eat in our house is the peanut butter lara bar, which is simply peanuts, dates, and a little salt. So I thought, why not make a homemade Lara Bar, give it a corn flake center for crunch, and dip or drizzle it in chocolate?

So that is exactly what I did.

How to make Gluten-free Dairy-free and Soy-free Homemade Butterfingers:

You’ve seen the toddler-friendly version at the top of the post, pictured with Toddler Yum’s Jack O’Lantern. Here is the sexy adult version, which I took to a pumpkin carving party.

It might be me, but I think it looks (and tastes) better than the packaged version! The Erewhon Corn Flakeswere perfect for this because the only ingredients were corn and a little salt. They were a tad plain all by themselves, but in a recipe like this where they are surrounded by healthy sweet ingredients, they are perfect! I’d buy them again, just for this recipe or to use in a savory breading recipe. This recipe was awesome, though, and I love how easy it is to adapt to various food sensitivities. If you need dairy-free but Soy Lecithin is ok and trace amounts of milk are ok, try the Trader Joe chocolate chips, which I used this time. If you need completely dairy-free and soy-free, use the Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips for your coating. If you prefer a really dark (70% cacao) type chocolate, use that. Want it strictly vegan with vegan sugar? Use a vegan chocolate bar. I think it will be delicious every way! Do store it in the refrigerator before eating, though, as the chocolates without soy lecithin are delicate and the bar will stay solid and easy to eat that way.

Here’s some fun pics from the Halloween party…

It was Toddler yum’s first experience carving a pumpkin, or rather, scooping out the pumpkin. Daddy helped, and gave the pumpkin little vampire teeth. Toddler Yum loved it, and even said “Vampire! vampire!” Oh dear, the things they pick up. And yes, there were other people at this party, including a wonderful gluten-free hostess that you might know from her blog that made wonderful sweet potato corn chowder and homemade mounds bars (yum!) I’m so lucky to know many of the gluten-free chefs around, and to be able to welcome this new gluten-free friend to our neighborhood.

Happy Halloween! I hope you have a wonderful holiday with your family, with plenty of treats that work for everybody’s tummy.

Looking for more gluten-free homemade treats?
Sunflower-seed Un-peanut Butter Cups
Elana’s Pantry Healthy Halloween Candy Recipes
Homemade Gluten-free Twix Bar Recipe
Nutty Vegan Butter Easter Candy
Ali’s homemade maple-sunbutter candor (like tootsie rolls)
Ali’s Chocolate Macadamia Nut Clusters
Nourishing Gourmet’s Healthier Candy Recipes
Kelly’s Raw Chocolate Raspberry Candy- refined sugar and other allergens free
Elana’s Peppermint Patties sweetened with Agave

Share your favorite gluten-free candy recipes in the links and I’ll add them to the list!

PS I was so excited about this candy recipe I decided to postpone the conclusion to pumpkin week until at least Monday… Sorry guys, but I wanted to make sure people had this recipe in time for the holidays!

Shared with Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Made from Scratch Tuesday

Healthy Dairy-free Soy-free Butterfinger Recipe
Ingredients
Layer 1:
1 scant cup pitted Medjool dates (or regular)
1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
2 tbsp. smooth natural peanut butter
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. nutmeg (optional)
Layer 2:
1 scant cup pitted Medjool dates (or regular)
1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts (can substitute almonds)
2 tbsp. smooth natural peanut butter
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. nutmeg (optional)

enough Erewhon plain corn flakes to cover surface area of a quart bag

Additional smooth natural peanut butter (optional)
1/2 to 3/4 lb of soy-free semi-sweet or dark chocolate for melting
1-2 tsp. coconut oil as needed

Directions
Get out two freezer-safe quart bags and reserve.
Layer One:
Put your scant cup of PITTED dates in your food processor and process until you have a smooth paste. Add your peanuts and process until mixture comes together when you press it but there are still chunks of peanut left. Add peanut butter, salt and optional nutmeg and pulse them in until mixed throughout. Remove from food processor with a spatula and put in one quart bag, pressing the air out and sealing it. Then flatten the mixture in your bag until you have a flat sheet of peanut dough. Place in refrigerator on an even, flat surface and chill.
Layer Two:
Repeat with the second batch of PITTED dates and peanuts. You will fill your second quart sized freezer bag. Chill along with the other layer for 30 minutes or so.

Just before you are ready to take the peanut dough out of the refrigerator, put your semi-sweet chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and heat on half power in 30 second intervals, checking after each interval and stirring as needed. When chocolate is almost completely melted, stir until chocolate is smooth and reserve. I found I needed to add coconut oil to have a thin enough chocolate for dipping. Just add your oil and stir in gently.

To prepare peanut bar for dipping, cut sides of freezer bags and peel off the top of the bag on layer one. sprinkle layer one with plain corn flakes. Peel the top of the bag from layer two and careful invert it on top of the corn flakes so you have a peanut bar “sandwich” with corn flakes as the filling. Gently press the layers together, remove the final layer of plastic on top and then cut the peanut bar “sandwich” in 7 logs horizontally and then cut half down the center vertically. If you are preparing this for a toddler, you can make two more vertical cuts for mini butterfinger bites.

Prepare a large cookie baking sheet with a layer of wax paper and place a cooling rack on top. Place each bar on the cooling rack with space around each bar so that you can drizzle chocolate down the sides.

Prepare each bar by putting a generous dab of peanut butter between the layers to stick them together OR a dab of melted chocolate and pressing then firmly together on the top. Don’t worry if they don’t seem very firmly attached. Once they cool they will firm up and stick together.

For adults who like a fair amount of chocolate, you can drizzle chocolate over the top and sides of the bar, using a knife to evenly distribute it. For toddlers, kids, or healthy-minded adults you can drizzle strands of chocolate on the top for a little taste of chocolate.

Place the tray in the refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes to an hour, or until chocolate has set. Remove bars from tray with a metal spatula and put in a tupperware. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Notes
Got rave reviews from adults who couldn’t believe how such natural ingredients could taste like the real thing and have the real mouth feel. :D I raved, too.
Additional Pictures

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11 Responses to “An almost healthy Gluten-free Dairy-free Soy-free Butterfinger”

  1. Wow, what awesome fun, Sea … with your super cute pumpkins and all the ideas and variations on Butterfingers. I admit I loved those and have even tried one recently. They are abosolutely nothing like I remember. They are not as tender (for lack of a better word) in the middle like they used to be. I guess it’s all that fake stuff. Ugh. Yours on the other hand look and sound fabulous! Happy Halloween to the Yum family!

    Shirley

  2. That’s the healthiest butterfinger recipe I’ve seen! And I never really liked butterfingers very much, but I bet I would love these!

  3. No wonder this blog name is Book of Yum – very yummy indeed! These bring back memories of sitting on the back porch steps after school alternating bites of crispy apple and bites of Butterfingers.
    Gretchen

  4. This is a great recipe! Thank you for sharing and for including me in your line-up of other homemade treats.

    xoxo

    SunnyB

  5. Sea, now that dd is 13, we don’t really trick or treat anymore, but I’ll share with you how I handled the candy issue. A few days before Halloween I secretly went out and bought some cute, useful things that I knew my dd would like: pencils, little note pads, stickers, little bubble blowers, etc. Then about an hour before trick or treating, I popped out of the house unseen and knocked on my neighbor’s doors and explained that my dd had food allergies (easier than explaining celiac) and would they please give her the treat I’m offering instead. I would put out about 10-ish items to various neighbors. Then when we trick or treated, I would sort of wave my arms behind dd so the people would remember to give her the special item. She was SO thrilled that the neighbors did something special for her, she was totally fine about giving up her candy. Eventually most of the neighbors remembered each year and they would buy her a special non-food treat. We would always return home about an hour before trick or treat was finished and together give out the candy she got in her pumpkin to other kids. Win! Win! To this day she still thinks the neighbors somehow knew about her food issues and did something special for her. Oh the things we do as parents! LOL

  6. I must admit I was never a butterfinger fan, but your version looks incredible! you just might have converted me haha
    YUM and love all the pictures.

  7. THese sound amazing, even better than butterfingers!

  8. [...] Butterfingers should not be bad for you … Sea (Book of Yum) ensures they are not! [...]

  9. These bars are soooooooooooo good! I had to check and see if you’d posted the recipe. So glad you have. :D

  10. Shirley- Thank you! Happy Halloween to you and your family, too. *hugs*

    Iris- Thank you! I think I have largely lost the taste for those processed candies, too. The chocolate is so excessively sweet, yuck! These are great because one or two bites is rich and satisfying.

    Gretchen- I just love the image of combining fresh fall fruit (apple) with this recipe. Yum!

    Sunny- You are very welcome. I loved your recipe!

    Mars- How wonderful. You really made the holiday special and magical for your DD- I’m so impressed. Yay for kids feeling special and good about their dietary restrictions. It is such a good feeling when you know people are making the effort to treat you when it takes a little extra thought. How lucky your DD is to have such a thoughtful mom!

    Pure2Raw- Hehe thank you. Glad you enjoyed the pics! I enjoyed taking them. :)

    Diane- Thank you, my dear! *hugs*

    Hi Sally- I had to post it asap after they turned out! I found the grown-up pieces to be pretty substantial so am enjoying nibbling at them a bite or two at a time as a special treat. Your mound bars were awesome too!

    -Sea

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