I wasn’t the best eater as a child. After school I’d typically head to the vending machine and pick out zebra cakes or a chocolate candy bar to chow down on until my stomach felt not so great.
My candy of choice? PEANUT BUTTER TWIX BARS.
They were my weakness. I couldn’t resist the chocolate coating, crunchy shortbread crust and of course, that deliciously sweet peanut butter middle. Anyone else?
Now that I’m an adult, I rarely find myself buying candy bars. Probably because I’ve learned better eating habits and don’t crave the sweets of my childhood, but also because I love to bake at home and create my own better-for-you versions.
Today’s recipe is all about my true love for peanut butter twix bars. The recipe is based off of my millionaire bars that you all fell in love with, but instead of a tahini caramel middle, there’s a peanut butter filling that’s nice, thick and perfectly sweet. Oh and of course, I can’t fail to mention that these are both vegan and gluten free too! Can I get a yum?
Homemade peanut butter twix bars ingredients
Just like classic twix bars, this healthy, homemade version has three delicious layers: a shortbread layer, a peanut butter layer and a chocolate layer. Here’s what you’ll need to make them:
- Almond flour: the gluten free shortbread base is made with fine blanched almond flour for the best texture.
- Coconut oil: you’ll need some coconut oil to give the base a little moisture and to help the peanut butter layer firm up nicely.
- Maple syrup: we’re naturally sweetening the bars with pure maple syrup.
- Peanut butter: remember to use a natural, drippy peanut butter for the “caramel” layer. I love Wild Friends peanut butter, and you can use the code ‘AMBITIOUS15’ for 15% off!
- Chocolate chips: you’ll melt some chocolate chips with a little coconut oil to create that perfect topping. Feel free to use dairy free chocolate chips!
- Baking staples: don’t forget the vanilla extract and a little salt. Learn how to make your own vanilla here!
Optional ingredient swaps
I recommend sticking with the recipe as closely as possible so that you have perfect homemade peanut butter twix bars every time, but if you need to swap ingredients here’s what I can recommend:
- For the coconut oil: feel free to use melted butter or vegan butter instead.
- For the peanut butter: I think a natural, drippy almond butter or cashew butter would also work, but I highly suggest sticking with peanut butter for the best flavor. You can even use crunchy peanut butter if you’d like!
Can I use regular flour?
Unfortunately, no, I would not recommend using regular flour in place of the almond flour because the texture and flavor will be much different.
How to make healthy peanut butter twix bars
- Make the base. Start by mixing all of the shortbread cookie base ingredients together and pressing the mixture into an 8×8 inch square pan. Bake the base until slightly golden.
- Make the peanut butter layer. Once your shortbread base is done baking, mix the ingredients for the peanut butter layer together in a small pot over medium low heat for about 2 minutes until it’s nice and smooth.
- Layer the bars. Pour your peanut butter layer on top of the cooled shortbread cookie layer, and then place it in the fridge to solidify for about 30 minutes.
- Add the chocolate. When you’re about ready to take the shortbread + peanut butter layers out of the fridge, melt your chocolate chips with coconut oil in a microwave safe dish. Pour the chocolate over the peanut butter and tilt the pan to make sure it’s evenly covered. Place it back in the fridge for 20 minutes until the chocolate has hardened.
- Slice & devour. Once the chocolate has hardened you can cut the bars and enjoy!
Help! The tops of my bars cracked
I’ve had a few people tell me that when they went to slice their peanut butter twix bars the chocolate part cracked in a few places. To avoid this, let the bars sit out for a few minutes at room temperature before cutting into them.
Tips for perfect peanut butter twix bars
- Use the right pan. Be sure to use an 8×8 inch pan in order to get the right shape and consistency. A larger pan will make the bars too flat.
- Pack your almond flour. You’ll want to use packed almond flour (and make sure it’s blanched, fine almond flour) just like you would with brown sugar.
- Don’t skip the chill time. I know it’s tempting to put all of the layers together without waiting on the chill time, but you really do need the peanut butter and chocolate layers to chill completely so that the bars hold together well.
How to store healthy twix bars
- To store: these healthy peanut butter twix bars should be kept covered in the fridge until you’re ready to serve them. They will stay good in your fridge for about 1 week.
- To freeze: feel free to keep them in a freezer-safe container in your freezer for up to 1 month. If you do keep them in your freezer, be sure to leave them out on the counter for a few minutes before serving so that they soften up a bit.
More brownies and bars you’ll love
Get all of my brownies and bars here!
I hope you love these homemade, healthy peanut butter twix bars! If you make them be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked them. Enjoy, xo!
Healthy Peanut Butter Twix Bars (vegan & gluten free)
Incredible, healthy peanut butter twix bars made with better-for-you ingredients like all natural peanut butter, almond flour, pure maple syrup, and chocolate. They’re perfectly sweet with three delicious layers for a homemade take on your favorite candy bar!
- For the shortbread base:
packed fine blanched almond flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
melted and cooled coconut oil
pure maple syrup
- For the peanut butter layer:
drippy natural peanut butter (crunchy or creamy works)
pure maple syrup
- For the chocolate layer:
chocolate chips, dairy free if desired
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8×8 inch square pan with parchment paper. It’s important to use an 8×8 inch as a 9×9 inch pan may be too big.
In a medium bowl add the almond flour, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract and salt. Mix together with a fork until it forms a nice thick crumb texture. Add to pan and use your fingers to evenly press down into the pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow crust to cool for 10 minutes before adding caramel.
Next make the peanut butter caramel layer: Add the peanut butter, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla extract and sea salt to a medium pot and place over medium-low heat for approximately 2 minutes until caramel starts to slightly bubble, stirring frequently. Pour over slightly cooled crust.
Place in fridge for at least 30 minutes-1 hour to completely harden the peanut butter. It shouldn’t take longer than this, but if you are impatient, just place in freezer for 15-20 minutes, this should speed up the process.
After 30 minutes or so, make the chocolate layer: Add chocolate chips and coconut oil to a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high in 30 second increments, stirring in between until chocolate is completely melted. If you prefer, you can also melt the chocolate and coconut oil in small saucepan over low heat.
Pour over the caramel layer and tilt pan side-to-side to evenly distribute the melted chocolate. Place in fridge for at least 20 minutes until chocolate is completely hardened and bars are cooled.
Remove bars from pan and cut into 16 bars (that resemble twix bars). To do this, cut entire pan of bars in half, and then cut each half into 8 (1-inch) bars (not squares!), so you’ll end up with 16 bars. Enjoy! Bars should be kept covered in the fridge until ready to serve.
These healthy peanut butter twix bars should be kept covered in the fridge until you’re ready to serve them. They will stay good in your fridge for about 1 week, but you can also keep them in a freezer-safe container in your freezer for up to 1 month.
See the full post for tips, tricks & ways to customize these twix bars.
Servings: 16 bars
Serving size: 1 bar
Saturated fat: 8.8g
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats
This post was originally published on July 26th, 2019, and republished on March 8th, 2023.