Homemade Whatchamacallit Bars – Low Carb and Gluten-Free

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Low Carb Peanut Butter Caramel Candy BarsA mistake in the kitchen led to one of the most delicious low carb treats I’ve ever made.  A homemade candy bar packed with peanut butter, caramel and chopped peanuts.

When I was growing up, there was a huge cultural divide between the US and Canada in one very important regard…candy bars.  This divide was so big, so utterly divisive, that in Canada we didn’t even call them candy bars. Any sort of confectionary covered in even the thinnest chocolate coating were always called chocolate bars.  And although we had several brands in common with our American friends, we definitely had chocolate bar envy.   We got many American TV channels and it always seemed like the US had endless varieties of sweets we couldn’t get on our side of the border.  A vast array of nutty, nougat-y, caramel-y combinations with intriguing names like 100 Grand, Mr. Goodbar and PayDay.  We were like kids with our noses pressed against the glass of the candy store window. On the outside, looking in.

Low Carb Peanut Butter Caramel Candy Bars

Now that I live on this side of the border, I know that US candy bars aren’t really any more interesting than all the lovely Cadbury’s varieties which are hard to find here in the US.  But there still remain quite a few American sweets I haven’t even tried.  Such as the Whatchamacallits.  Never even had a little taste, so you must wonder what I am doing creating my own homemade, low carb version.  The truth is that I did not set out to create such a thing at all.  And not having actually tasted a Whatchamacallit, I can’t really say that these bear all that much resemblance to the original.  But I honestly DON’T know what to call them, and since they include caramel, peanut butter, peanuts and chocolate, it seemed a rather fitting name.

See, I actually set out to create a homemade version of another candy bar altogether.  I had formed an idea of a low carb PayDay bar, with a peanut butter caramel center rolled in salted peanuts.  But I made a wrong turn somewhere along the way and ended up with a strange peanutt-y filling that globbed and seized and wouldn’t smooth out at all.  I attempted to save it with the addition of some peanut flour, thinking that might un-clump the mixture.  It did not.  So I finally poured it into a pan, smoothed it as best I could, and popped it into the fridge.  It tasted far too good to throw away, but I really wasn’t sure what to do with it.  And then I hopped on Facebook and sought comfort in my lovely followers, who kindly sympathized with my huge recipe fail.  One  sweet soul said “At least you fail once in a while, like us mere mortals”.  Ah, balm for the baker’s bruised ego!

Low Carb Peanut Butter Caramel Candy Bars

And when my husband arrived home, I showed him my clumpy, lumpy, peanut buttery mess and he, wise man that he is, said “Well, just dip it in chocolate!”.  Give that man a medal, because he not only saved the recipe, but turned it into one of the best low carb treats I’ve ever made.  Seriously!  His words crystallized the idea in my head and I knew exactly what to do.  I cut the whole mess into small squares, popped them in the freezer and then dipped them in 90% cacao chocolate.  And somehow that took them from pretty tasty but seriously ugly to insanely tasty and relatively attractive. Presentable, at the very least!

 The whole adventure proved two things to me, both of which I already knew on some level.  First, that every recipe I create, whether it fails or succeeds, teaches me something valuable about my ingredients and how they behave.  Secondly, that peanut butter and chocolate was, is and always will be the best flavour combination ever.  Bar none.
Now, what the heck would YOU call these things???  Because if any of you can come up with a really great name for them, I will send you a batch.
Low Carb Peanut Butter Caramel Candy Bars

Homemade Whatchamacallit Bars

Yield: 16 servings

Homemade Whatchamacallit Bars

A mistake in the kitchen led to one of the most delicious low carb treats I've ever made. A homemade candy bar packed with peanut butter, caramel and chopped peanuts.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup Swerve Sweetener or other erythritol
  • 1/4 cup xylitol
  • 2 tsp molasses
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup peanut flour (could use almond flour)
  • 1 cup chopped peanuts
  • 4.5 oz 85% or 90% chocolate, chopped

Instructions

  1. Line an 8x8 inch pan with parchment or waxed paper, with a 1 inch overhang on the sides for lifting out the cooled bars.
  2. Combine water, Swerve Sweetener and xylitol in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir until Swerve and xylitol dissolve.
  3. Bring to a boil and cook without stirring 7 to 9 minutes, until mixture begins to darken in colour. Mixture may smoke slightly. Stir in molasses or honey.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in whipping cream, butter and kosher salt.
  5. Stir in baking soda. Mixture will bubble vigorously.
  6. While caramel is still warm, stir in peanut butter. Mixture will likely seize and get clumpy, but that's okay.
  7. Stir in peanut or almond flour until well combined, then stir in chopped peanuts.
  8. Spread mixture in prepared baking pan and chill until firm, 30 minutes.
  9. Lift the bars out by the overhanging parchment and cut into 16 squares (or more - I made mine bite-sized). Place bars on a cookie sheet and freeze 30 minutes.
  10. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate, stirring until smooth.
  11. One at a time, drop frozen bars into melted chocolate, quickly tossing with a fork to coat. Lift out and gently tap fork on the side of the pan to remove excess chocolate.
  12. Place bars on a waxed paper-lined plate or baking sheet to set.
  13. Store in the refrigerator.

Notes

Serves 16. Each serving has 9.3 g of carbs and 2.8 g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 6.5 g.

http://alldayidreamaboutfood.com/2013/05/homemade-watchamacallit-bars.html

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Comments

  1. Katharine says

    No. You. Didn’t!! I Looooooooooove Whatchamacallit bars (or did, anyway). Will try this one for sure.

    • Carolyn says

      I honestly can’t promise these are the same, since I’ve never even had Whatchamacallits. I just didn’t know what else to call them! :)

      • says

        Whatchamacallit bars were/are like a hard peanut butter rice krispy bar topped with a thin layer of caramel then covered in milk chocolate. They always sounded better than they actually tasted! These more remind me of a dark chocolate Snickers bar. Yum!! I look forward to trying them out.

  2. Theresa says

    The peanut butter & molassas mixture makes me think of Mary Janes… Chocolate Covered Mary Janes.

  3. says

    These remind me of a great old candy called Goldenberg’s peanut chews. (I always loved ‘em and they were my father’s absolute favorite candy of all time.) It looked like a candy bar in the wrapper but when you opened it, there were 5 or 6 little chocolate-covered rectangles. They were highly peanutty and slightly molasses-y and covered with dark chocolate (a plus for those of us who don’t care for wimpy milk chocolate). And CHEWY! Definitely going to try these at our house!

  4. Sandra Ricardo says

    Since the delish treats are the result of a happy accident, then you may want to call them Serendipity Dream bars!

  5. says

    haha, “mistakes happen” … i LOVE it when food experiments turn out accidentally delicious in the kitchen! these looks superyum!

  6. Cary says

    These look wonderful! You have been an inspiration for me since I was recently diagnosed with diabetes out of no-where (5′ 5″, 130 lb. former college athlete).

    Happy Chance Bites!

  7. Alison says

    I think it should be a Mayday for a couple of reasons. Obviously one reason being because it happended in May. :) Secondly because Mayday is a “distress signal” and means “come help me” which is what your husband did when he suggested the chocolate over your peanut buttery “mess”. It can also be a mayday “come help me” treat since we all (or is it just women?) look for something chocolate when life deals us distress. :)

  8. Tammy Cruz says

    Dream Delights, Heavenly Nuggets, Oopsie Bars, Dynabites (dynamite), Choco Colassol, Choco Nuttals and any variations of these. ie : Heavenly Delights, Dream Nuggets, Choco Bites etc.

  9. says

    I have never been much of a candy person, but these whatchmacallit treats look tempting even to me!! My family?? Total candy freaks!!! I’m certain they would love ‘em. Well done Carolyn!

  10. says

    I think you should called them Bingo Bars. Because, it seems, that when your husband told you to dip it in chocolate you went, “BINGO!” And then you got the rest of the recipe idea.
    Now send me some of those Bingo Bars, please. Haha!
    :)

  11. Michelle says

    The first thing I thought was “Nutty Bars”. They look so yummy! I made your raspberry coconut muffins and they were so delicious , thank you! I was diagnosed with class B gestational diabetes during my pregnancy last year and have missed baking so very much. Thank you for taking the time to share your recipes , even the “mistakes” with us. :)

  12. Edith Patchan says

    CHNIPS is what my husband came up with when I asked him. He said it meant chocolate and peanut snack. Great recipe! Thanks for all your hard work.

  13. Christine says

    It may interest you to know that ‘Whatchamacallits’ were invented by a Canadian! The son of my GP started that company right in the family kitchen ):

  14. Stephanie says

    Love all the ideas, especially Bingo Bar, BooBoo Bar,and MayDay Bar!

    Is there a substitution possible for the xylitol? Or is that a must-have?

    • Carolyn says

      In this one, you could probably do full erythritol, because the end result doesn’t need to be liquid like caramel sauce.

  15. says

    Oh dear! How did I miss this fabulous recipe post? OK, Carolyn…I’m throwing my hat into the ring here. With Peabody’s recent kitchen mishap being called “Hot Mess Brownies”, I dare say you could do something similar with “mess” in the title like, “A Hot Cold Mess” (as to how they’re made) or “Solid Cold Mess”. Have fun coming up with a new name!

  16. says

    Carolyn – HELP! I gave it a try and it is not lumpy or holding together like I see yours in the photo. I’m thinking it might be the peanut butter I use. It’s very creamy, smooth, and so easy to spread. What brand do you use? Right now it’s in the freezer, and has been there for over 2 hours, something is definitely wrong with mine.

  17. says

    Wow these look so good! It’s funny I always had candy bar and chocolate envy for the Canadian varieties. When we travel up to Montreal I smuggle a huge bag of Cadbury back home. That and chips…. Ketchup Chips have to be one of my favorite treats but I can’t get them around here.

    • Carolyn says

      Haha, Ketchup chips, I never liked those much but I know a lot of people who love them. Have you ever had the dill pickle chips.

  18. debbie says

    Maybe I’m missing something, but in step 4 it says to add kosher salt and I don’t see the amount listed. I can’t wait to try these – always love your recipes now that I’ve gone low carb :)

    • Carolyn says

      Ugh, sorry. I borrowed some of the instructions from another post that included caramel sauce. I will erase the kosher salt now.

  19. says

    Whatchamacallit bars aren’t my favorite type of candy bar, but I have always liked them, so I’ll definitely need to give these suckers a try. Nummy num!

  20. FRAN says

    Was going to try these until I saw the artificial sweeteners in them–get a really bad case of heartburn from that stuff. Might experiement making them with regular sugar though.

    • Carolyn says

      Feel free. But erythritol is not an artificial sweetener. It is not man-made, and is no more processed than getting sugar from sugar cane. It is found in fruits and fermented foods.

  21. CeliaT says

    I just found this recipe and plan to try it. Is the xylitol necessary? I bought a pound of the xylitol from birch before I found out it really didn’t like me, so I do have it on hand if it’s best not to sub. It definitely spikes my BG and I would prefer to use something else if possible.

    Thanks.

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