Copycat Payday Bar Recipe, if you’re a fan of PayDay Candy Bars made of caramel and peanuts, you’ll love this copycat dessert recipe!
Copycat Payday Bar Recipe is a delicious combination of sweet and salty. The caramel has a fudge-like texture and consistency. Although there is peanut butter in the nougat-caramel-fudge part of this dessert, the bars don’t have a particularly strong peanut butter flavor.
The peanuts add a nice crunch and a little salt to the bars.
If you’re not going for the Payday copycat, you can certainly add other nuts. Pecans or almonds would be lovely. Furthermore, M&Ms or peanut M&Ms would be tasty and add some festive color to the dessert.
Copycat Payday Bar Recipe
There are two main steps to this recipe. The first is making the caramel. Secondly, mixing the ingredients together.
While making the caramel isn’t difficult, it does take a little time. I have found that it takes more time to make the caramel in the oven. However, there’s less chance of scorching it than on the stovetop.
This is my easy method. Pour the sweetened condensed milk into a non-stick baking dish. Cover it tightly with aluminum foil. This dish needs to fit inside another dish. I use a 9×5-inch loaf pan for the sweetened condensed milk and set the loaf pan inside a 9×13-inch baking pan. Bake it at 400° F for 1 hour. Remove the pans and allow the mixture to cool before proceeding with the rest of the recipe.
A note of the peanut butter. Just like chocolate chips, peanut butter chips are made to hold their shape while baking. Therefore, I don’t recommend using peanut butter chips in this recipe. I recommend using real peanut butter. However, you can use smooth or chunky peanut butter. Your preference.
These Copycat Payday Bars make a lovely gift for teachers, neighbors or friends. If you want to dress them up for gifting, coat them in dark or white chocolate. Read How to Melt Chocolate here. You can even top with sprinkles for a festive touch!
Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary based on products used.
Copycat Payday Bar Recipe
- 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 4 cups peanuts roasted and salted
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 2 cups marshmallows mini-marshmallows will melt faster
- 1/2 cup peanut butter creamy (I don't recommend peanut butter chips)
- 2 cups powdered sugar sifted
For the caramel
- Preheat the oven to 400° F.
- Pour water in the larger pan until it reaches about halfway up the inside pan with the sweetened condensed milk in it.
- Bake 1 hour. Remove from oven and cool. (You can do this step hours beforehand.)
For the bars
- Spread 2 cups of peanuts evenly over the bottom of the pan.
- In a heavy-bottom saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the marshmallows and stir until they're melted.
- Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the caramel and the peanut butter.
- When the mixture is completely combined and smooth, remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the confectioners' sugar.
- Quickly pour this mixture over the peanuts and smooth it with a silicone spatula. Sprinkle the remaining peanuts evenly over the top and press them into the caramel with the spatula.
- Allow the bars to set for 1 hour on the countertop or about 30 minutes in the refrigerator before slicing.
- Use the parchment or foil to remove the bars from the pan to a cutting board and cut into squares or bars with a sharp knife.
- Store in an airtight container for up to one week.