Peanut Caramel Crunch Bars

Making candy at home can be a challenge, but a rewarding and satisfying one. All you need is a candy thermometer, a sturdy aluminum or copper saucepan and some concentration. It is important to have your tools and ingredients- your mise en place- ready to go, because the candy comes together fast. The addition of light corn syrup prevents the sugar from crystalizing. The candy lasts for a couple of weeks, makes a great gift, and is truly delicious. These flaky, mildly sweet and salty peanut butter caramel bars are similar to Butterfinger candy bars, but much tastier. Happy Holidays!

peanut caramel bars

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups natural smooth peanut butter
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped roasted (unsalted) peanuts
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Line a 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil. In a sturdy medium saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, water and butter.  Over a high-heat bring the mixture a boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Attach the candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Continue to cook the mixture over medium-high heat until the caramel reaches 285 degrees which takes about 10 minutes.

Combine the peanut butter, peanuts and salt in a large microwave safe bowl. Heat the peanut butter mixture in the microwave until it is hot and mix it well.

In a small bowl, combine the vanilla and baking soda. As soon as the caramel reaches 285 degrees, very carefully add the vanilla/baking soda mixture. It will cause the caramel to bubble up and foam. This aerates the caramel. Immediately pour the caramel over the peanut butter mixture and stir well using a heatproof spatula. Work quickly as the candy comes together fast. Pour the hot candy into the foil-lined baking pan, and press into a flat even layer, and push into the corners. Let the candy cool completely. Peel off the foil and cut the candy into squares. Store the candy in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Source: Food and Wine Magazine

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