This recipe for Dark Chocolate Buttercrunch from King Arthur Flour tastes like a Heath Bar. It requires close monitoring of the candy's temperature using a thermometer, but otherwise it is so simple. I made some to tuck alongside the Star Provisions' Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies that I mailed to my youngest daughter. Packaged in a little red partitioned box, the dark chocolate looked so pretty alongside the white meringue cookies. I made a few minor changes, which I noted in the recipe below.
King Arthur Flour’s Dark Chocolate Buttercrunch
1 cup = 2 sticks butter* (I used ¾ cup = 1 ½ sticks.)
1 ½ cups sugar
3 tbsp water
1 tbsp light corn syrup
2 cups diced pecans or slivered almonds, toasted (I used 1 ½ cups pecans.)
1 lb semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped or 2 2/3 cups chocolate chips (I used 1-12 oz bag semisweet chocolate chips.)
*If using unsalted butter, add ½ tsp salt.
In a large, deep saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the sugar, water and corn syrup, and bring the mixture to a boil. Boil gently, over medium heat, until the mixture reaches hard-crack stage which is 300° on an instant-read or candy thermometer. The syrup will bubble without seeming to change much for awhile, but be patient; all of a sudden it will darken, and at that point you need to take its temperature and see if it’s ready. (If you don’t have a thermometer, test a dollop in ice water; it should immediately harden to a brittleness sufficient that you’ll be able to snap it in two, without any bending or softness.) This whole process should take about 10 to 12 minutes. Pay attention; too long on the heat, and the syrup will burn. While the sugar mixture is gently bubbling, spread half of the nuts, in a fairly closely packed, even single layer, on a lightly greased baking sheet. Top with half the chocolate. When the syrup is ready, pour it quickly and evenly over the nuts and chocolate. Immediately top with remaining chocolate, then the remaining nuts. (I used all of the nuts on the bottom layer.) Wait several minutes, then gently, using the back of a spatula, press down on the chocolate-nut layer to spread the chocolate around evenly. While the candy is still slightly warm, use a spatula to loosen it from the baking sheet. When cool, break into uneven chunks. Yield: about 24 big bite-sized pieces.