Looking for a healthy treat to impress your significant other this Valentine’s Day? Chocolate Covered Katie had got you covered. Healthy Butterfingers might sound like an oxymoron, but Katie Higgins of the popular dessert blog Chocolate Covered Katie has found a way to transform this candy bar into a splurge without the guilt.
Her secret is to swap out unhealthy ingredients, such as corn syrup, with healthier ingredients that provide a nutritional punch. As if you need another excuse, these homemade Butterfinger bars are no-bake and vegan. Ready to indulge a little? Watch Episode 3 of What the Fudge.
Watch Katie make this recipe in Episode 3 of What the Fudge:
Katie jokes that she developed this recipe for healthy Butterfingers out of necessity.
“When I was younger, my friends and I would go to the movies, and I would always get two or three packages of Butterfingers,” she said. “This is one of the reasons that I had to come up with healthy desserts — because I love dessert, and I don’t want to do moderation. With these, you can feel a lot better about yourself at the end of the night that you haven’t just eaten three candy bars with three days’ worth of sugar!”
The taste test
Katie found the original recipe inspiration in a book she bought from a thrift store, and thought it sounded delicious, but it called for lots of sugar, shortening and corn syrup.
“They sounded like they were screaming for a healthy makeover — and I’m like, ‘Challenge accepted!’”
She switched up the recipe quite a bit, and then had her family do a taste test because she couldn’t quite put her finger on the name of that familiar flavor. “They were all like, ‘This is like a Butterfinger!’ As soon as they said it, I knew. Yes, that’s exactly the taste.”
A healthier candy bar
The original recipe started with a cup each of sugar and corn syrup, but Katie cuts that back and uses healthier ways to sweeten up her dessert, starting with a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses.
“In most recipes, you can’t really use blackstrap molasses by itself. It’s not as sweet as other sugars, so you have to add another sweetener, too — but I love adding it, because it’s such a healthy sugar,” she says. She explains that it has surprising health benefits and nutrients, including calcium and iron.
“I like to sneak it into recipes any time I can.”
To begin, combine 1/4 cup agave, 3-1/2 tablespoons sugar, and the blackstrap molasses in a pan. (Honey will work in place of the molasses, but you will taste it in the finished product.)
“I’ve cut it down to just 3-1/2 tablespoons sugar, which is a lot less than 1 cup,” says Katie, explaining you can also use coconut sugar.
Turn the heat on low and stir until the sugar dissolves. As soon as it starts to bubble, let it cook for one more minute, and then turn off the heat.
Peanut butter for the win
Add 1 cup peanut butter to the warm sugar mixture and stir until combined. Used in place of oil or butter, peanut butter gives the bars that rich flavor.
“It’s kind of funny. My blog is Chocolate Covered Katie, but I actually am more peanut butter than chocolate,” she says, confessing that she usually has about 12 jars of peanut butter in her pantry at all times.
If you have a peanut allergy or want to make a batch for the kids to take to school, you can try almond butter, sunflower seed butter, or cashew butter instead.
The signature Butterfinger crunch
To get that delicious toffee-like taste and signature Butterfinger crunch, Katie adds 1-1/2 cups crushed corn flakes to the dough.
No cornflakes? Swap in bran flakes, rice flakes or any type of flake cereal.
“Take all your stress of the day out on these cornflakes and really crush them up,” she says. “Cornflakes just give it that classic Butterfinger crunch, and you get the toffee-like consistency from the peanut butter and molasses.”
Make sure all the cornflakes are evenly coated and crushed up into the mixture, and then pour it into an 8-by-8-inch pan lined with parchment paper. Feel free to save a little taste for yourself from the bowl.
“I could just eat this batter with a spatula,” says Katie in Episode 3 of her YouTube show What the Fudge.
Smooth the mixture down until it covers the bottom of the pan and is an even consistency. Then, put it in the freezer to chill.
Last but not least: chocolate!
“Now comes the best part. The chocolate-covered part. I mean they’re good without it, but I always add it. I don’t need to tell you why, because you know my name,” says Katie, who pours 2/3 cup melted chocolate chips over the top of the frozen mixture.
Put them back into the freezer until they are hardened, cut them into bars — and enjoy!
Katie makes healthier versions of all the classic candy bars, including Mounds bars, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, York Peppermint Patties and even Snickers ice cream bars.
“It’s always great to have a healthier way to eat your favorite candy bars,” says Katie.