Dark Chocolate Buttercrunch

Fresh, homemade candy is a thoughtful gift and fun to make. This buttercrunch has been a favorite King Arthur tradition for many years. Layers of nuts and bittersweet chocolate surround silky, crisp toffee for an ideal holiday indulgence. 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 (3 quart) 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; you'll be taking it off the heat a few degrees sooner). 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 is boiling, spread half of the nuts in an even, closely packed layer on a parchment-lined 9" x 13" pan. Top the nuts with half the chocolate.

  3. When the syrup has reached 295°F, remove from the heat and stir in the baking soda (if using); it will foam up, so use caution. Pour the syrup quickly and evenly over the nuts and chocolate. Top with the remaining chocolate and let sit for 2 to 3 minutes, until it softens; spread the chocolate with an offset spatula in an even layer and immediately sprinkle the remaining nuts on top.

  4. While the candy is still slightly warm, pull it out of the pan and use a thin spatula to loosen it from the parchment. When completely cool, break into uneven chunks.

  5. 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.