This nutty, “buttery” sweet candy that flakes yet is chewy at the same time is coated with chocolate, and will remind you of the famous “Butterfinger” candy bar. “This,” my daughter informed me, “is really good.”. I agree, and have had a hard time avoiding eating them all. These are the perfect special occasion treat for my family this upcoming Halloween.
Butterfingers were my favorite candy bar growing up. I loved getting Dairy Queen Blizzards full of Butterfinger crumbles. But when I started becoming more focused on eating well during High School, I mostly avoided all candy. And, really, with good reason. Have you looked at the ingredients lately? I’d list them for you, but the GMO, hydrogenated-oil, corn syrup, and preservative-laced list might cause distress. And I wouldn’t want to do that.
But the funny thing is that I never considered that making homemade versions was even possible! I was convinced that the reason they were “good” was because of those unsavory ingredients. Imagine my surprise to find that it is quite possible to make not only a homemade version, but also one using natural ingredients.
I made mine small candy bars (the following recipe makes 24), as these are still plump with sweetener, even though naturally sweetened. Keeping them small helps with portion control, but you can also make 12 medium-sized candy bars.
I looked up a bunch of different recipes, and decided to base my own experiments on a recipe that had a higher ratio of peanut butter, as I felt without the peanut butter to balance out all of the sugar, we were going to get sugar-induced comas. These are lovely, just slightly more chewy then the original Butterfinger, but with that crumbly texture.
I used freshly ground peanut butter from my local health store. I think that jarred, unsweetened, would work too, but I wanted to mention what I used.
I do recommend a candy thermometer for this recipe, however mine hasn’t been working right. So I did the whole method of testing the mixture in ice water while it was cooking until it got to the hard candy stage. You can learn how to do that here. This method allows you to make it without a thermometer.
To make these gluten-and dairy-free, just make sure you use appropriate chocolate and vanilla extract.
All-Natural Nutterbutter Candy Bars
1 cup of peanut butter (unsweetened, smooth)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ teaspoon baking soda
Dash of unrefined salt (if using unsalted peanut butter)
1/3 cup of honey or coconut sugar syrup
1/3 cup of water
1 cup of whole cane sugar, coconut sugar, or maple sugar
2 cups of bittersweet chocolate
1.Line an 8 by 8inch pan with parchment paper, leaving plenty of extra to fold up the sides of the pan.
2.In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter, vanilla and baking soda
3.In a small pot, combine the honey, water and sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Then stop stirring. Using a candy thermometer, bring the mixture to the hard ball candy stage. (250 to 266F). You may need to lower heat slightly to keep mixture form boiling over. Watch carefully and keep children out of the kitchen while you prepare this.
4. Take immediately off the heat, and then carefully pour in the peanut butter mixture and stir with a wooden spoon gently until completely combined.
5. Spread out in the prepared pan. Let sit 2 minutes.
6.Using a sharp knife, press down to cut the mixture into small bar shapes. (I divide it in half, then divide each half into three, and then cut down the middle of it the other way, and then cut each half in half again….if that makes any sense to you). You should be able to get 12 smallish regular size candy bars, or 24 mini sized. If it is sticking a lot, oil knife. Press down, then lift knife, and press down again. Don’t drag knife through candy.
7. Allow mixture to cool for 2 hours, or until it is completely cooled.
8. Melt chocolate in a double boiler (stir, and don’t allow mixture to burn) and remove from heat. If very thick and hard to work with, add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or butter and stir in (this will make it easier to coat the candy, but also make the chocolate softer and will melt in your hands faster). I broke all of the rules in coating candy, and simply dropped 4 pieces in at a time, gave them a few turns, removed from the bowl, and gently shook pieces to remove excess chocolate. Place on a parchment-covered cookie sheet.
9. Allow to completely cool (will take about 1 hour in the freezer). And enjoy!