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Crunchy Peanut Candy

by on November 19, 2006 · 15 comments

This weekend I’ve been helping the Austin Junior League with their annual Christmas Affair by signing cookbooks. As always, they are promoting and selling two of their best books- Necessities and Temptations and Austin Entertains. If you like Junior League books, you should definitely buy Austin Entertains. The recipes are easy, yet elegant and the book is menu driven to make party planning easy. If you are a Texan living elsewhere, this book will remind you of home.

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Another one you might want to add to your collection is Stop and Smell the Rosemary. You will use it over and over. Yesterday, I talked with a lot of Junior League cookbook lovers and at least five people mentioned how much they cherished that particular book.

But enough cookbook hawking for now! Onto today’s recipe!

Today, we have a handy addition to your holiday candy plate. I will not tell you which candy bar it resembles, but will let you guess. Here’s a hint. It has peanut butter, molasses and breaks off into little shards. If I tell you what color the wrapper is, you will know……

This version is actually an old Southern recipe. I adapted this from an Oxmoor House Christmas book. The recipe was one used by the test kitchen director’s mom, but I changed it by adding molasses and using the microwave to soften the peanut butter (she used a double boiler). Below is a photo of it without the chocolate.

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Peanut Butter Crunch Candy

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 teaspoons molasses
12 ounces of milk chocolate (or dark, your choice)
1 cup creamy peanut butter

Line an 8 inch pan with parchment paper.

In a small (2 quart) lidded saucepan, stir together the sugar, water, corn syrup and molasses. Turn heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes or until the sugar dissolves. Reduce heat slightly so that mixture is at a gentle boil, then place the lid on the saucepan and cook for another 3 minutes. The steam will wash sugar crystals off the side of the saucepan. Remove lid and place your deep fry thermometer in the pan so that it measures what’s going on near middle (see photo at bottom).

Cook the sugar mixture over medium heat until it reaches 310 degrees F. Do not stir.

While mixture cooks, place your peanut butter in a 2 qt. microwave-safe mixing bowl. Microwave peanut butter on high for 30 seconds and stir so that peanut butter is soft.

When sugar mixture hits 310 (no sooner), pour the sugar mixture into the peanut butter mixture and stir until blended. Quickly transfer to lined pan. Let cool for about a minute, then score (do not cut all the way through) the candy into 1 inch or larger squares. Let cool completely. Remove from pan.

Melt chocolate in microwave or double boiler and dip squares in chocolate. Let chocolate set.

Note: Don’t worry too much about burning this candy. While waiting for it to boil to 310, I pulled a muscle and had to go put on Bengay. When I got back, it had reached 380!! I poured it into the peanut butter as directed and turned it out. The candy still tasted great and had a good texture.

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Published on November 19, 2006

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Claire N November 19, 2006 at 1:04 pm

AH…Is it butterfinger? I hope so because that would be fun to make!

Janet November 19, 2006 at 5:47 pm

Looks like butterfinger to me too! Do you buy your Junior League books from Amazon?

Jackie November 19, 2006 at 7:12 pm

I had to make these. They are so delicious. My family is so happy that I found your site! They taste exactly like a Butterfinger.

Chef Alison November 19, 2006 at 7:46 pm

Looks great! Should I be worried about pulling a muscle while making this candy? LOL

Anna November 19, 2006 at 7:56 pm

Claire, yes. The candy tastes like Butterfinger. It is the color of peanut butter rather than orange/yellow, but it definitely tastes like Butterfinger.

Jackie, that is so cool that you made these already. This is one of those recipes that is really old and probably very much loved by certain families. But it’s not something widely published.

Janet, I buy my Junior League books from different places, but Amazon does sell Austin Entertains and Stop and Smell the Rosemary. Those happen to be current JL books. I actually collect JL books from all over the nation.

Alison, I have no idea why I pulled a muscle. There is no heavy stirring involved! I just happen to be falling apart is all.

Therese November 19, 2006 at 9:34 pm

Anna, you have helped me out again!!! Remember that “Southern Style” bunco theme I am doing in January? That “Stop and Smell the Rosemary” book will be a great bunco prize! What a pretty cover on that book!
You know what works GREAT on a muscle pain? Try an ICY HOT/COLD pack that comes with this handy velcro adjustable brace. It helped me out! I even used it to keep me warm during a recent Packer game…it was cold, but I stayed nice and cozy. I hope your muscle pain gets better!

Julie O'Hara November 20, 2006 at 9:57 am

Speaking of Butterfinger…Anna, I made the butterfinger pie on Saturday. It is so good!! I’ve made a few desserts recently that haven’t exactly sent me over the moon, and I hate that. I only desserts if they are truly delicious and this pie was. I want to blog about it with a link to you of course if you don’t mind. My husband never would have suspected tofu if I hadn’t told him. I used a bag of semisweet chips and the chocolate layer was actually a little intense for me. I might use less chocolate next time or just make the chocolate layer smaller or use milk chocolate. Minor critique aside, I just loved this pie. It was so easy and fun to make. I think I’m like your dad; I love creamy things. Thanks!

Jill November 20, 2006 at 10:40 am

Anna, you mentioned to see a photo at the bottom in regard to the thermometer placement, but there wasn’t a photo. Do you have that? I’d like to try making these because my husband loves Butterfingers.

Anna November 20, 2006 at 10:46 am

Jill, thanks for reminding me about that picture. I had second thoughts about posting it because it didn’t turn out very good and I noticed my thermometer was actually right in the middle when I took the picture! But I’ve posted it for you. You just rest the thermometer read-out side down, bulb not touching pan bottom.

Jackie November 20, 2006 at 12:28 pm

http://www.gourmet.org/catalog/digital-thermometers/CT-03/?id=next
I have this candy/oil thermometer and I really like it. It is available in lots of places. I got mine a few years ago.

tg November 20, 2006 at 8:13 pm

ok this is just a guess off the top of my head: butterfingers?
har

Jill November 21, 2006 at 3:13 pm

Thanks for posting the picture. I need things like that! :-)

Janet November 26, 2006 at 6:32 am

OMG, I ordered the Stop and Smell the Rosemary from Amazon and it arrived in less than 2 days! It is a gorgeous book. Thanks for all the tips and info you share on your site!!! I am learning so much about so many things!

Anna November 26, 2006 at 8:00 am

Janet, I’m glad you got Stop and Smell The Rosemary. Let me know if you make anything.

Corby December 5, 2006 at 8:09 am

Anna, I made this recipe over the weekend and it came out great! I’m not usually a big fan of molasses, but the small amount of it really added a lot of flavor. I cut the squares small (36 for the 8″ pan), and drizzled them with melted milk chocolate. They got a “thumbs-up” from my co-workers. I’m thinking of making the Bailey’s fudge next, but with Kahlua instead since that’s what I have. Thanks for a great recipe and a great blog!

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