Vegan Versions: Slow Miracle Millet “Butterfinger” Bars

by Maria Theresa Maggi on August 15, 2015

Slow Miracle Millet Butterfinger BarsI have always been delighted by the vegan penchant for reproducing vegan versions of classic American junk food. And as most of us low-fat whole-food plant-based type vegans know, our versions are often versions of these versions. With Mike’s 30th birthday coming up, I felt like I needed to do some “chocolate attonement” after my cake made of fruit a few years ago. Sure, there was chocolate on the table, but it just wasn’t the same for him. He even called me a vegan nurd, though he was kind enough about it.

Although I know Kelly will make something pretty cool, this year I wanted to try and do something special. When I saw Vegan 8’s The First Raw Vegan Butterfinger Bar, I was sure I had found a good birthday treat. So sure I even took a harrowing number 8 bus ride to the Whole Foods to get the “secret ingredient” for those bars: dried white mulberries. Two packages. And such secret ingredients don’t come cheaply. (The rollicking bus ride had its compensations, however: I got to giggle with delight at the young woman who secreted a bunny rabbit onto the bus in her purse.)

The next day I went to the Alberta Grocery Co-op’s 10 percent off bulk items sale and bought the requisite peanuts and chocolate chips for the “real” thing.  But something, (perhaps my Flip Wilson aspect (as in “the devil made me do it“–for those of you ancient enough to remember that comedy routine), kept me from buying the required agave nectar for the recipe. I was sure I could substitute dates and maybe a little molasses, and everything would be fine.

As far as replicating the butterfinger filling taste, my two tablespoons of chopped dates, and about 1/2 tablespoon each of molasses and peanut butter worked like a charm. The mixture even seemed to clump and hold together as the Vegan 8 recipe said was necessary.

But then, as you can see in the photo below, it didn’t. I hadn’t melted chocolate in ages, and that went really well. But it simply hardened in a layer above the filling, and never really stuck to it. The result? Butterfinger crumbles and chocolate chunks to put on top of banana ice cream. . .

Peanut and Millet Butterfinger Bars

(Perhaps this is indeed because “the devil” made me leave the agave nectar out, as Vegan 8 specifically says not to). . .Except. . .

While I made the first batch trying to be faithful as I could muster to its list of “forbidden” (for me) foods, I decided to make a second batch that was more acceptable for me to eat, alongside these, using one of my favorite and all time inexpensive (and super good for me) foods: millet (which was also on sale at the Alberta Grocery Co-op for a whopping $1.29 a pound). Wonder of wonders, it was these bars, which I had to improvise shaping in a larger baking dish, that held together, even when one side of them was not up against the edge of the dish.

Butterfinger Bars--Two Versions

So here they are, folks, for those of you that want an even lower fat version of Vegan 8’s yummy recipe. These may not taste “just” like butterfingers, because after all, they are sugar free and chocolate free, but, if I do say so myself, they are pretty darn delicious–and nutritious. They’re also relatively easy on the waistline, and a good choice for those of us with MS or other autoimmune conditions who need to stay the heck away from chocolate to feel our best.


It’s hard to believe that it was 17 years ago Mike turned 13. Today I remembered writing about it in my journal so many years ago early that morning, after recording a dream, and how happy it made me while waiting for him to wake up. I looked through my journals and found the page:

journal page on Mike's 13th birthday

It still makes me happy to remember how filled with wonder I was we had arrived at the teenage years, and how filled with wonder I am now at what an amazing person Mike has grown up to be:  intelligent, funny, handsome, creative and exacting in his film and video work, concerned about the world around him, always willing to learn something new, a loving and devoted husband, son, and pet owner, and a pretty darn good cook.

Since he is scheduled to shoot a video for a Portland band tomorrow, we planned on celebrating after the three days of shooting are done. He’s had a fever this weekend, though, and messaged me tonight that tomorrow he’d “either be shooting or sleeping,” depending on how he feels in the morning. It was with some serendipitous delight that I read the white mulberries I rode the bus to get for this birthday treat will also be a kind of medicine for what ails him. Funny how life works. I guess I might as well say it: that’s the way the butterfinger bar crumbles.

Maria (moonwatcher)

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Veronica August 17, 2015 at 10:23 am

Happy birthday to Mike!! Hopefully he takes 30 better than I did… 😉 And I hope he gets over his fever quickly!
It’s awesome that you were able to experiment with the recipe and come up with something just perfect for you. I think that’s the true sign of an excellent food master. 🙂 I’ve never been a huge fan of Butterfingers, but this version does look quite tasty!


2 Maria Theresa Maggi August 17, 2015 at 11:16 am

Thanks Veronica! Mike seems to be taking 30 pretty well so far. 🙂 He’s feeling better too. I have to confess that when I was a little girl butterfingers were my favorite candy bar. I think I’ve been cooking virtually fat free for so long now that my skills are now entrenched in that mode–which I think is on overall good thing–for me, anyway! Thanks for the kind words. I enjoy being a food magician, especially when it works, but it also can be pretty funny when it doesn’t. 🙂


3 The Vegan 8 August 17, 2015 at 2:12 pm

Hi Maria! Thanks so much for trying my recipe! Yeah, you definitely need the agave and peanuts to make it all hold. It all comes together and really sticky and they hold well, even for a bit at room temp. I’ve given them as gifts 🙂 Regardless, I’m glad you tried your own different millet and carob version and enjoyed it! Thanks for linking to me! I appreciate it!


4 Maria Theresa Maggi August 17, 2015 at 3:14 pm

Thanks Brandi! 🙂


5 Gena August 18, 2015 at 1:29 pm

First of all, congratulations on Mike’s birthday. It’s wonderful that you have been able to watch him blossom into such a strong, capable, generous, and passionate person.

Second, I love this recipe! I adore mulberries for snacking, but it hasn’t occurred to me to use them in a dessert. Totally inspired, and millet is a great addition as well.



6 Danielle August 22, 2015 at 6:41 pm

This looks great! I love treats that are sweet, yet not too sweet. I might be tempted to put in a squirt of agave or maple syrup 🙂

There are a lot of moments for reflection around birthdays. I hope that whenever you can celebrate Mike’s birthday, it will be a joyful and memorable time.

p.s. I would like to see a bunny rabbit in a purse on a bus too!


7 Maria Theresa Maggi August 22, 2015 at 8:34 pm

Thanks Danielle! You made me laugh about wanting to see a bunny rabbit in a purse on a bus! 🙂 And it’s absolutely fine to put in a squirt of agave or maple syrup in these. The cooked millet in my version is quite sticky and a different texture than the large amount of peanuts in the Vegan 8 recipe, so if you try that one, don’t be like me, follow Brandi’s instructions and use the agave. 🙂


8 Lee at Veggie Quest August 27, 2015 at 5:56 am

Yum! Maria, these sound great, and work for most of my food sensitivities. (I can only have peanuts occasionally, but I will be saving up for this one.) I’m a huge Butterfinger fan, so I’m super, duper excited about these. Just pinned to my “Low Fat Vegan Desserts” board!


9 Maria Theresa Maggi August 27, 2015 at 8:18 am

Thank you, Lee! There’s just about nothin’ that makes me happier than when I happen to post a recipe one of my readers with food sensitivities can actually eat!! Yay! And thanks for pinning it to your “Low Fat Vegan Desserts” board. I find them quite delicious myself, and hope you will too. xo


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