Tuesday, December 13, 2011

old fashioned butter crunch candy

Butter crunch candy, originally uploaded by riptideredsf.
The little kitchen is a bit spazzy these days. My computer is dead so I'm reduced to the limits of library computers for a while. I feel like Dorothy as I race against the diminishing time whilst trying to sum up a weeks worth of kitchen triumph and tragedy.
This butter crunch candy? triumph.  America's Test Kitchen does it again in a Holiday Cookies publication. These are the ATK mags that can be found at the check-stands of your hoitier markets like Whole Foods and Mollie Stones. I was in the market for a new cookie or two to add to my Christmas repertoire but when I spied this candy recipe I couldn't get home fast enough to make it, knowing that I had all of the ingredients at home already..not that I need any more things to go all OCD/ADD on at Christmas but I was a bit challenged the last time I tried to make caramel. It scared me. It's like stirring a pot of molten lava...but success...even without a candy thermometer!!!

Old Fashioned Butter Crunch Candy
America's Test Kitchen Holiday Cookies 2010

1 3/4 sticks of butter
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
4 oz. of semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate roughly chopped
1/2 cup of pecans chopped

This makes about 1 1/2 pounds of candy.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spread out the pecans on a cookie sheet and toast them until they become fragrant and darken just a little, about 7-8 minutes, toss them around after about 5 minutes. You won't need the oven again for this recipe so you can also toast them in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat for about 5 minutes tossing them around a little if you don't want to bother with turning the oven on.
Line a 9"x13" cookie sheet (mine was a little larger) with aluminum foil and spray it with cooking spray. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and then add the sugar, water and corn syrup and stir constantly while it boils. After about 10-12 minutes it'll turn a light caramel color. If you have a candy thermometer it should read 310 degrees. I didn't so I just watched and stirred. It bubbles like molten lava so be careful. I used a silicone spatula to stir it but you can also use a wooden spatula (something heatproof with a flat edge/bottom to keep moving the caramel off the bottom of the pot). When it turns a light caramel color remove it from the heat and pour it onto the baking sheet. My sheet was a little larger than required so I just let the caramel spread out as much as it wanted. Let it sit for about 5 minutes then sprinkle the chocolate all over the caramel. Let that sit for another 5 minutes so the chocolate can soften a bit, then using the back of a spoon ( I used a large soup spoon) spread the chocolate over the caramel. Sprinkle the chopped pecans over the chocolate and let it rest for at least an hour.

I just left mine on my counter over night and the next morning broke it into pieces stored it in a ziplock bag drawing as much air out of the bag as I could. I've left in on my kitchen table for a couple of days now and it tastes amazing. This reminds me of Almond Roca, which has to be my all time favorite candy. This is better. Thinner...less stress on the dentals...butter crunch bliss.

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