The holy grail of butter crunch

Like the rest of 2020, the holidays this year have been and will continue to be different.  I know, call me Captain Obvious.  At this writing, the Misanthropic Hostess’s 2020 holiday baking is in the books.  The scope was greatly reduced–I only made about 60% of what I usually make.  I also spent a lot of time worrying about how to include as many people as I could while under a stay at home order.  As a result, there were no baking analytics and very little in the way of social media engagement along the way.

Even so, I did find a couple of new great additions I wanted to share.   This year’s almond butter crunch is one of them.

When people learn that baking is my jam (in addition to making bad puns), they often ask what my specialty is.  The truth is that I don’t have one.  I like to bake because for me, its about trying new things and improving my skills.  I’m always on the lookout for the next best method or technique.  So, I’m always on the search for the “better” recipe.  It’s an important part of the fun for me.

I can’t tell you how many toffee/ butter crunch recipes I’ve tried over the years in search of the perfect texture and flavor.  To me, it’s about a deep, almost burnt caramel flavor that starts out hard but quickly melts and crumbles at the bite.

Well, I think I’ve found my holy grail of butter crunch.  At least for now.  Ingredients are important.  But, so is technique.  As such, the recipe below is heavily annotated with my own bits and pieces on what I think make for a superlative butter crunch.

Almond (though use whatever nuts you want) Butter Crunch

adapted from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients

  • 16 TBS (227g) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1 /2 C (298g) sugar
  • 3 TBS  (43g) water
  • 1 TBS (21g) light corn syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 C (227g) toasted nuts (chopped, sliced or slivered)
  • 2 2/3 C (454g) semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. In large, deep saucepan (3 quart), melt butter over low heat.  Stir in water, corn syrup and salt to combine.  Then stir-in sugar.  Insert candy thermometer.
  2. Bring mixture to boil over medium to medium lowish heat.  It will take longer at lower hear but this way but also reduces the chance that your candy will burn.
  3. Line 9X13 inch pan with parchment paper.  Sprinkle half the nuts and half the chocolate evenly throughout the pan.
  4. Allow mixture to reach 290 degrees.  Do no stir!  If caramel begins to brown unevenly, gently swirl pan.
  5. Once the mixture get to 290 degrees, pull from heat and gently stir-in vanilla with a wooden spoon.  Then stir in baking soda.  Caramel will become momentarily angry and puff up.  This is good.
  6. Pour caramel mixture into prepared pan, gently coaxing the last bits out with a heat-proof spatula.
  7. Sprinkle remaining chocolate across hot caramel.  Let sit for 5 minutes and then spread evenly across top.  Sprinkle on remaining nuts, then gently push the nuts into the chocolate.
  8. Allow toffee/caramel and chocolate to set/cool completely.  Break into pieces and store in an air tight bag or container.
  9. The butter crunch will become more tender in the next 24 hours and should keep for at least a month.

 

 

 

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