When we buy candy to give out at Halloween, we know that there will be some left over, so we try to get the candy bars that we find least objectionable. From the title of this post, you can probably guess one of those candy bars. As with most Halloweens, we did have candy left over — we only had five or six trick-or-treaters; the number of goblins who show up at our door seems to drop every year.
We figure that a lot of parents bring their kids to those “trunk-or-treat” events where the child only has to walk from car to car to pick up candy, and the parent only has to be out for 15 minutes. Why don’t they just bring the kids to Dul-Mart when they go shopping, let them pick out a bag of candy, and be done with Halloween completely? It would probably be just as much fun.
So, where were we going? Ah, yes the candy bars. Even though we pick out the least objectionable ones, we still don’t really like them all that much — it’s like eating a spoonful of corn syrup — so we thought that we’d try our hand at making some home-scratched Outrageously Nutty Candy Bars.
Part of what we’re trying to do is build a better candy bar, so don’t ruin it by using inferior ingredients. For the chocolate, we use Callebaut 70% cacao bittersweet chocolate. For the caramels, we use the best cream we can find, which happens to be organic. For peanuts, we’re partial to Trader Joe’s roasted and salted peanuts. Oh, and we doubled the batch, so expect about half of what you see in the pictures.
Procedure in detail:
Prepare pan. We need someplace to let the caramel cool, so line a baking sheet with parchment. Alternatively, you can generously butter the sheet — the caramel may still stick in a few spots, but butter works.
Make caramel. We aren’t going to cover all the instructions here, but you can find everything described in detail on our post about Cream Caramels. The only thing you need to do differently, because the peanuts are salty, is to omit the bit of salt that’s added at the end. If you forget, it’ll be okay.
Add peanuts. While the caramel is still hot, stir in the peanuts. Stir enough so that they’re thoroughly coated.
Spread caramel. Pour the peanut caramel onto the prepared baking sheet and use a spoon or spatula to spread it into a layer about 1/2 inch thick.
Cool. Let the peanut caramel cool to room temperature.
Slice. Remove the caramel from the pan and place it on a cutting board. Using a large chef’s knife, cut the caramel into pieces about 1/2 inch wide and 1 1/2 inches long. Place the pieces on baking sheets lined with silicone baking mats, parchment, or waxed paper.
Melt chocolate. You can temper the chocolate if you wish or just melt it (it’ll be a little softer). If you choose melting, place the chocolate in a top of a double boiler over simmering water and stir until melted. (You can also place it in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat it on 50% power in 30-second increments, stirring in between).
Dip. Once melted, dip each peanut caramel in chocolate and return to the prepared sheets.
Refrigerate. Place the sheets in the refrigerator until the chocolate is solid.
Wrap. Wrap each piece of candy in a small square of waxed paper, then store in an airtight container.
Sorry, but Hershey has nothing on these candies. In fact, we’re not even sure that the name of the candy on which these are modeled should be mentioned. But, that’s the thing about scratchin’ up your own food. You can use better ingredients and end up with a better product. For about the same price, we figure we made around 8 bags’ worth of candy bars (we made a double batch) for roughly $12-15, whereas 8 bags of the miniature candy bars go for about $16-20. And, the best part is, since they aren’t hermetically sealed, there’s no way we can give these to trick-or-treaters. Fives all around.