The combination of bubbling butter and sugar smells so sweet, it’s reminiscent of being a kid in a candy store. If this butter and sugar combo is covered in chocolate and nuts (or candy), it’s called buttercrunch. If it’s unadorned, it’s toffee. I’m not sure the name matters, because it’s deliciously addicting!
My son and I made a batch of peppermint buttercrunch….what a fun snowy day activity. Making candy takes time and patience, but it’s worth the effort. The differences in the caramel style candies, is ingredients used, and the temperature to which the ingredients are boiled. It’s best to use a heavy duty sauce pan and a candy thermometer. If you have a copper pot, this is a chance to use it. Copper holds the heat really well. Follow the instructions carefully and enjoy!
- 1 stick plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon natural peppermint extract
- 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 cup crushed peppermint candies
- Line a large rimmed baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
- In a saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, water and salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the temperature reaches 298° on a candy thermometer, 10 minutes or so. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla and peppermint extracts. Immediately pour the buttercrunch onto the prepared baking sheet and, using an offset spatula, spread it in an even layer; let cool completely. (Be careful, boiling sugar is extremely hot!)
- In a medium glass bowl, heat half of the chocolate in a microwave oven at high power in 30-second intervals, stirring between bursts, until just starting to melt. Stir in the remaining chopped chocolate until smooth. (Stirring in the chopped chocolate helps reduce the temperature of the melted chocolate and it’ll remain shiny when you spread it.)
- Spread half of the melted chocolate on the cooled buttercrunch. Sprinkle half of the peppermint on top; let stand until set.
- Gently set another large baking sheet on top of the buttercrunch and carefully invert the baking sheets; peel off the baking mat or parchment. Spread the remaining melted chocolate on the buttercrunch and sprinkle with the remaining peppermint; let stand until the chocolate is completely set. Break the buttercrunch into pieces before serving, storing or gifting.