I don’t know about you- but as a kid Butterfingers were always the prized item when we traded candy from our stuffed Halloween baskets. With Halloween candy/decorations and more already popping up in all the stores it crossed my mind to work on some allergy free/ refined sugar free candy bar recipes. Considering that I hadn’t had the luxury of enjoying a delicious milk chocolate covered Butterfinger in over 2 years. I figured it was time.
a few notes before we begin.
There are a number of Butterfinger recipes online. The majority of them call for Corn Syrup- that was the first thing that had to go. For allergy and health reasons. I replaced it with a syrup I had in my pantry: Coconut Nectar! I realize this syrup is not yet something that every household keeps on hand. So please feel free to try using Agave Nectar instead. I predict it will work just as well ( maybe even better) . In the future I plan to try using Brown Rice Syrup (If someone tries this- please let me know how they turn out)
Every recipe I saw floating around the Internet instructed to heat the candy mixture somewhere between 300- 310 degrees (F). I tried this.. and as I suspected the directions are WRONG. That temperature range creates candy in the “Hard Crack” range. Hard Crack = Toffee NOT Butterfingers. If I remember correctly butterfingers are supposed to shatter when you bite down into a million little delicious pieces. I tested out my theory- and heated the candy mixture to the Soft Crack temp of 285 Degrees – and it turned out better than I could have ever imagined. The crunch and texture (I think) is spot on. (I hope you will agree!) This lower temp really works in our favor for this recipe as the refined free sugars tend to burn at lower temps than corn syrup.
This recipe calls for Peanut Butter. When I say Peanut Butter I’m talking about the processed – creamy kind. The healthier versions as you may have noticed tend to be really hard and thick. If you buy this type of healthy peanut butter prior to using it in this recipe I would suggest adding maybe a little bit of oil and liquid sugar (such as Coconut Nectar, Agave , Brown Rice Syrup or even Honey) to make it smooth. This will make it easier to stir into the hot candy mixture. Also- I want to note that you do NOT have to use Peanut Butter- Feel free to sub in Almond Butter, Cashew Butter and for the Nut freecrowd- try throwing in some delicious Sunflower Seed Sunbutter! These nut butters can be “creamy” or “crunchy” its up to you.
Make sure to use a heavy bottomed sauce pan. the mixture is going to rise a good three inches and bubble up while it heats- make sure your pan is large and tall enough.. the LAST thing you want to clean up is a bunch of hardened sugar off your stove top.
and finally.. make sure to prepare all of your ingredients and baking pan with parchment before you begin! Towards the end you are going to want to move fast. (Don’t feel overwhelmed- these are easy I promise!)
1/3 Cup Coconut Syrup or Agave (or Light Corn Syrup)
1/3 Cup Water
1 Cup Granulated Sugar (Organic Cane Sugar or Turbinato or regular white sugar)
1 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter (see note above)
1 Cup Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips (or regular chocolate chips)
1-2 Tsp. Coconut Oil (optional)
12 x 17 Jelly Roll Pan (cookie sheet) covered with a sheet of Parchment Paper.
Large Kitchen Knife + Oil (or non-stick spray) to coat it
- Place a sheet of parchment paper on jelly roll pan. Scoop peanut butter into measuring cup and set it next to stove with a spoon ready to go.
- Into a heavy bottomed non-stick (or cast iron) sauce pan combine the Syrup, Water and Granulated Sugar. Turn heat on medium high- stir until the sugar dissolves. As the sugar mixture heats it will bubble and change composition- stir it occassionally (It should not stick to the pan) place a candy thermometer in and carefully monitor the temp. (Don’t allow the thermometer to touch the pan as this will give you an inaccurate temp. read)
- When the temp. reaches 280- 285 degrees quickly turn off the heat (any hotter and the sugar will burn). QUICKLY stir in the peanut butter. Still moving at a quick pace- poor the mixture onto the prepared pan with parchment. Spread the candy mixture just slightly (it should be about an inch thick)
- Coat the large knife with oil and score the bars into the size that you would like. (Tip: When you score DO NOT drag the knife. Press down and then lift up. Re-oil knife as needed. I like to go back over the score lines several times to make them as deep as possible)
- Allow the butterfinger’s to cool at room temp for 1-2 hours.
- Once cool use a large knife to cut (break) the candy bars apart.
- Melt the Chocolate Chips in a microwave 1-2 minutes (stopping the microwave every so often to stir). If the chocolate is too thick for you to comfortably work with stir in 1-2 Tsp of Coconut Oil. (The more oil you use- the quicker the chocolate will melt in your hand when eating)
- Dip each bar in the chocolate – let the extra chocolate drip off and then place on either a sheet of parchment paper or on a cooling wrack.
- Let the chocolate cool and harden (if you are impatient- stick the bars in your freezer!)