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This recipe requires few ingredients and little effort, but the result is superb, making it appear you slaved over a hot stove all afternoon. What’s more, this candy is so rich that a few pieces go a long way, making it ideal for holiday gift bags. Add it to an assortment of other candies, cookies, or bars, and it’s probably good for 8-10 gifts.
For those of you unfamiliar with buttercrunch, it’s a lot like a Heath Bar. And, like a Heath Bar, it’s delicious crunched up and stirred into ice cream, or mixed into whipped cream and spread between layers of a chocolate cake. Than again, you can just eat it au naturel. "I’m only going to have one piece today. Really! I mean it. Well, maybe just one piece this morning, and one this afternoon, and one after supper…"
Read our blog about this candy, with additional photos, at flourish. And if you enjoy this recipe, check out a couple of our other favorite candies: Christmas Delight, and Choco-Mallow.
1 cup (2 sticks, 1/2 pound) butter*
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 cups (8 ounces) diced pecans or slivered almonds, toasted
1 pound semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (chocolate chips are an easy solution here; you’ll need about 2 2/3 cups)
*If you use unsalted butter, add 1/2 teaspoon salt.
In a large, deep saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the sugar, water and corn syrup, and bring the mixture to a boil. Boil gently over medium heat, without stirring, until the mixture reaches hard-crack stage (300°F on an instant-read or candy thermometer). The syrup will bubble without seeming to change much for awhile, but be patient; all of a sudden it will darken, and at that point you need to take its temperature and see if it’s ready. (If you don’t have a thermometer, test a dollop in ice water; it should immediately harden to a brittleness sufficient that you’ll be able to snap it in two, without any bending or softness). This whole process should take about 10 to 12 minutes. Pay attention; too long on the heat, and the syrup will burn. And what a waste of good butter and sugar that would be!
While the sugar mixture is gently bubbling, spread half of the nuts, in a fairly closely packed, even single layer, on a lightly greased baking sheet (a half sheet pan works well here). Top with half the chocolate. When the syrup is ready, pour it quickly and evenly over the nuts and chocolate. Immediately top with the remaining chocolate, then the remaining nuts. Wait several minutes, then gently, using the back of a spatula, press down on the chocolate-nut layer to spread the chocolate around evenly.
While the candy is still slightly warm, use a spatula to loosen it from the baking sheet. When cool, break it into uneven chunks.
Yield: about 24 big bite-sized pieces, if you want to be scientific about it.
Nutritional information per serving (1 piece, 53g): 269 calories, 19g fat, 2g protein, 5g complex carbohydrates, 22g sugar, 2g dietary fiber, 2mg sodium, 139mg potassium, 0mg vitamin C, 2mg iron, 18mg calcium, 71mg phosphorus.