Payday Cookie Bars

Payday Cookie Bars

These Payday Cookie Bars are a rich, gooey confection based on the popular candy bar. I've taken this vintage recipe from the early 70's and baked it modern using our handcrafted gluten-free cupcake mix. They start with a base layer using a cake mix with a creamy middle layer of marshmallow cream and topped with peanuts.

Vintage Inspiration: The recipe was given to my Nana sometime in the early 1970’s. Both she and my mom made them for us kids growing up. While doing some research on the history of this recipe, I found a couple variations of this cookie bar. One version calls for yellow cake mix as the base layer and is often called “Payday Bars”. And another popular version for “Payday Candy Bars” which is a copycat recipe to make a homemade Payday candy bar. 

Baker’s tips to make Payday Cookie Bars:

Use a homemade cake mix:

The original recipe calls for a boxed yellow cake mix. Boxed cake mixes are filled with artificial ingredients and additives, so try to find an all-natural brand if you can. I used my own handcrafted Gluten-Free Cupcake Baking Mix.

Use real butter instead of margarine:

The original recipe calls for margarine, which was typically used in recipes from this era. Margarine is a processed food made mostly of oil and contains more water than butter. Butter will also lend more flavor to the recipe.

What is Karo Syrup?:

The original recipe calls for 2/3 c. white Karo syrup. Karo syrup is corn syrup and not to be confused with high fructose corn syrup. To balance the sweetness of this recipe, I’ve replaced a portion of the Karo with all-natural chunky peanut butter.

Use real peanut butter instead of peanut butter chips:

The original recipe calls for 12 oz. peanut butter chips, however, I used chunky peanut butter instead as peanut butter chips are made of sugar, oil and artificial flavor and they lack peanut butter flavor once melted down. When choosing a peanut butter, make sure it is one that does not contain high fructose corn syrup. You can always use homemade peanut butter from fresh roasted, salted peanuts in which you just place in food processor and blend to the consistency you like.

Use natural marshmallows or homemade marshmallow cream:

For the best flavor, use all-natural marshmallows. Many conventional brands have artificial flavor and additives. This recipe can be made quick using pre-made marshmallows, however, you could use homemade marshmallow creme made without preservatives and high fructose corn syrup. To do so, place a mixing bowl over double broiler and place 3 egg whites, 1 c. superfine sugar like C&H brand, 1/2 tsp. cream of tarter and whisk for 5-7 minutes until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and place in mixer stand. Add in 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla and beat for 6-8 minutes until stiff peak. Spread over the cake base to form the middle layer of the bars.

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CLASSIC PEANUT BUTTER BARS

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