Dark Chocolate Buttercrunch

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. For those of you unfamiliar with buttercrunch, it's a lot like a Heath Bar. And, like a Heath Bar, not only is it tasty candy; it's delicious crunched up and stirred into ice cream, or mixed into whipped cream and spread between layers of a chocolate cake.

 

Prep
7 mins
Total
15 mins
Yield
24 generous pieces
Dark Chocolate Buttercrunch

Instructions

  1. In a large, deep saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the salt, sugar, espresso powder, 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.

  2. 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). If you're unfamiliar with making buttercrunch, it may be easier to use a 9" x 13" pan lined with greased foil or parchment. Top the nuts in the pan with half the chocolate.

  3. When the syrup is ready, stir in 1 teaspoon baking soda; it'll foam up, so be careful. Pour the syrup quickly and evenly over the nuts and chocolate. Immediately top with the remaining chocolate, then the remaining nuts.

  4. Wait several minutes, then gently, using the back of a spatula, press down on the chocolate-nut layer to spread the chocolate around evenly.

  5. While the candy is still slightly warm, use a spatula to loosen it from the baking sheet. When cool, break it into uneven chunks.

  6. Store cooled candy tightly wrapped; it'll stay fresh for a couple of weeks at room temperature. Freeze for longer storage.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Adding baking soda to the hot sugar syrup forms microscopic bubbles, which serve to enhance the candy's light, crunchy texture.
  • For buttercrunch that's more toffee, less chocolate and nuts, use just half of the latter ingredients. Place 1 1/3 cups (8 ounces, 227g) chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips in the bottom of the pan (or on a baking sheet); top with the hot syrup; then spread with 1 cup (4 ounces, 113g) diced toasted nuts, carefully pushing them into the hot syrup so they adhere.