Intro

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I started making homemade pasta when I was eight. My parents kindly complimenting my bowls of mush while eating soppy noodles with much oohing and ahhing. I’ve since improved my pasta making skills.

The moment I realized I could make my own butter I was out of my seat and shaking a jar of cream.  As time allows I make my own puff pastry, soft cheeses, mayonnaise, marshmallows, dressings, etc. And even though our garden is quite meager, I get giddy when I am able to feed my family from the tiny seeds I planted just weeks prior.

As we are so often surrounded by pre-made products I am incredibly satisfied when I am able to fulfill a need using raw materials readily found in my kitchen. Most often it is things like pulling warm homemade bread out of the oven or sewing an airy summer dress for my daughter that calls upon these emotions and connects me to the generations prior for which this was their normal.

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For some reason it is those classic childhood flavors in the form of sugary candy that I rarely think to recreate at home. I find such mystery in their creation, quite possibly because I don’t recognize a single ingredient found on the back of their colorful exterior. I, in a more-frequent-than-should-be moment, enjoy the familiarity of their flavor and move on never stopping for a moment to think, I could make this. In fact it could quite possibly even be better.

Their cloyingly sweet flavors could be made less harsh through the use of less refined ingredients. The familiar waxy melt of their chocolate that contains little to none of the ingredients found in those football shaped cacao pods could be replaced with bittersweet chocolate that puddles and melts against the heat of the tongue.

Such a revelation occurred when I happened upon a recipe for homemade peanut butter finger candy. As a child I adored the odd orange candy that shattered under the weight of my young, eager bite. Strangely enough I don’t think I realized that peanut butter was the main ingredient for this candy until recently. In my young mind it was just something crunchy, sweet, and there was chocolate – no further thinking needed. Even more alluring was the memory of these candies crushed into bits and stirred into creamy vanilla flavored soft serve. Yes, that’s right – a Butterfinger blizzard. So cold it makes your head hurt but so satisfying that you don’t care.

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The trick in recreating flavors you’ve enjoyed all throughout your life is getting them to satisfy you in the same way they did in your memory. You want them to be better than the store-bought version but not so much so that they no longer resemble what you were originally trying to create. It’s a fine balance and I am thrilled to report that this recipe has achieved such convenient-store-candy-recreating success. And you must, for the love of a Blizzard, stir these sugary crumbs into ice cream.

Continue for the recipe..

 

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Homemade Peanut Butter Finger Candy

 

adapted from “The Ultimate Candy Book” by Bruce Weinstein

Candy making can be intimidating but the result is well worth the headache. A candy thermometer is crucial in beginning to make candy. Pull the sugar as soon as it reaches 290* and work quickly. Be so very careful when working with hot sugar as its burn hurts more than any other. Have I scared you? NO? Good. Yes? Sorry. Again, I assure you with a little patience and persistence you will soon have homemade butter fingers. Now get going.

*In the comments someone just asked a great question. “What candy thermometer do you recommend?” I use the Taylor Commercial Waterproof Digital ThermometerI like the easy to read digital face. It does not, however, clip to the side. If you do it will melt – speaking from experience. But I’ve made candy so often I can tell when the sugar is getting close to done, then I insert the thermometer just to be sure. This thermometer measures quickly and again it’s easy to read so you don’t have to hold it there forever. The classic Candy & Deep Fry Thermometer is nice because it can stick to the side of the pan but I find it hard to read accurately and in candy making, accuracy is very critical.

1 cup smooth peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon salt (kosher, fleur de sel, Maldon)

½ vanilla bean, seeds removed (optional)

1 cup sugar

⅓ cup light corn syrup

½ cup water

¾ cup chopped bittersweet chocolate (chocolate chips are fine too)

Butter an 8-inch square pan then set aside. In a small, microwave-safe bowl (if you don’t have a microwave you can use a double boiler) combine the peanut butter, vanilla, and salt. Set that aside.

In a very clean medium saucepan combine the vanilla seeds (if using), sugar, corn syrup and water. Using clean hands combine those ingredients and remove any grains of sugar left on the sides of the pan with your fingers and a bit more water. I use my hands for this because I can be certain to feel if any gritty grains remain on the side and the sugar in the bottom of the pan is lump-free. You may also use a pastry brush to wet down the sides of the pan if you prefer.

On medium-high heat cook the sugar until it reaches 290*, just under hard crack. While the sugar cooks warm the peanut butter mixture in the microwave for 30 seconds. Keep warm. Once the sugar has reached 290* quickly add the peanut butter mixture and stir to combine. The mixture thickens quickly so once combined immediately put the mixture in the buttered pan. Let cool for about 7 minutes on a wire rack. While it is still warm carefully scatter your chocolate on top. Let it sit for a couple of minutes. Using an offset spatula spread the chocolate evening over the peanut butter candy. Place in the fridge to set for about 30 minutes.

Once the candy has set run a knife or the edge of an offset spatula around the edge of the pan then invert. The candy should pop out but if it doesn’t insert your knife into the corner and pry it up until it pops out.

Cut the candy into desired shapes. I like to keep my stash in a ziploc bag in the freezer. I love the texture of this candy when it’s frozen and then it’s always ready to be added to vanilla ice cream.

 

Peanut Butter Finger Ice Cream

serves 2, generously

2 cups vanilla ice cream

⅓ cup (more is okay too) homemade peanut butter candy pieces

Place your candy in a ziploc bag and use a rolling pin to break into smaller pieces. They don’t need to be uniform, in fact it’s better if they aren’t.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment add the ice cream and mix until it is the texture of soft serve. Add the candy pieces and mix just to combine. Serve immediately.

64 Responses to “Homemade Butter Finger Candy”

  1. Clara

    Oh that is absolute heaven, Ashley! I loved your twix bars when I made them, and somehow made it out alive, so I’ll have to try these!

    Reply
  2. Jenny

    So frickin brilliant. I’m suddenly craving butterfinger, but something tells me this will be SO much better than the packaged stuff. Thanks for sharing with us!

    Reply
  3. Snippets of thyme

    What? No peanut butter in peanut butterfinger bars? Like you, I didn’t question either…just crunched away. In Missouri (hubby’s state), there is this treat called a frozen custard. It is sort of like a blizzard but, dare I say, richer. My favorite is to add chopped up butterfinger pieces to it. I can’t even imagine a custard with your homemade butterfingers chopped into it. Delicious!

    Reply
  4. TD

    I love making things that most people buy. We always have a jar of fresh mayonnaise and one of homemade blue cheese dressing (I have a 6 year old addict) in the fridge. People think it’s so strange, but the homemade version tastes so much better. The only fear I have is that if I made these, my kids would demand them weekly! Wait, who are we kidding–I’D want to make them weekly! :)

    Reply
  5. la domestique

    Your butterfinger bars look fantastic. It’s got me reminiscing about my fav childhood candy- Reese’s peanut butter cups. Do those next please! ;)

    Reply
  6. lesli

    Ashley,
    any advice on candy thermometers? I have gotten a few that are cheapies that don’t seem worth it.
    thanks!
    Lesli

    Reply
  7. bianca

    My goodness these look amazing. I have always strayed away from making candy at home- the temperatures and my propensity for burning sugar have made me fearful of the task. But this definitely demystifies one of my favorite childhood candies!

    Reply
  8. Camille

    I’m not sure if I’ll take the time to try this one, but it’s really nice to know that it’s possible to make junk food at home that’s not as junky as the store-bought stuff. I like sugary foods as much as anyone, but I try to stay away from high fructose/hydrogenated, non-food garbage.

    Reply
  9. Maureen

    I cannot wait to make these!! They look so good!

    Like you, I don’t often buy pre-made things. I love knowing what goes into the meals we eat.

    Reply
  10. kris {life at the table}

    of all places, jo-ann fabrics has a big ‘last minute’ section of candy and i had a moment of weakness this afternoon standing in line and bought one. has been in my top three favorites candies since as long as i can remember! this homemade version sounds fabulous.

    Reply
  11. christine [the sugar apothecary]

    I’m nervous about candymaking… but these look too good. I invested in a candy thermometer after seeing your homemade Twix recipe, but haven’t gotten up the courage to make them yet. I think this recipe might be the turning point! Wish me luck :)

    Reply
    • Ashley Rodriguez

      @Christine – It can be scary but the reward is so worth it. Please let me know if I can help. I’m happy to hold your hand through this process. :)

      Reply
  12. Alejandra

    Butterfinger was always one of my favorites but I’m realizing that I haven’t eaten it in years in an effort to avoid processed things. But my husband and I were talking about our last meals the other night and among the list of things (the very long list) I requested, I included a Butterfinger. I will absolutely be making this. And very soon.

    Reply
  13. MG Atwood

    This may be the death of me! Oh how I loved these candy bars…might be too tempting to try, as I’m sure I’d eat the entire pan! But then again, I may have to have a cooking time with Ty and see if he inherited my taste buds. :-)

    Reply
  14. Amanda

    Second only to the Cadbury Creme Eggs, this is my favorite candy, in your recipe index as well as in the store. Not that I buy them now so much, oh no! But the memory…looking forward to this one!

    Reply
  15. Heidi @ Food Doodles

    Oh my, those look amazing. I looooove butterfingers :D I’m going to save this for a special occasion when I have to share with lots of people because those could be so dangerous in my house :D

    Reply
  16. Grace In Full Measure

    I came across your blog thru Martha Stewart’s blog. I love everything about your blog!!!! The graphic design, the title, the recipes!!! I am thrilled with the concept of making store-bought things at home. Looking forward to digging through your archives and to reading future posts!

    Reply
  17. Amelia

    Do you prefer to use an all-natural peanut butter, or something like Skippy? Sometimes it makes a difference in cookies. Think it would work with almond or cashew butter, too?

    Reply
    • Ashley Rodriguez

      @Amelia Great question. I tried both and they turned out beautifully. Just make sure that if is the natural kind that you mix in the oil that floats on top, very well. You could even use chunky peanut butter to add an intriguing texture.
      Thanks for reading and thanks for the question.
      Ashley

      Reply
  18. Jana

    Every time you post that your recipe was adapted from somewhere else, I want to click and buy the book! But I love it. Can’t wait to make these. I’ll have to make an equally delicious non peanut option for Grant as he’s allergic.

    Reply
  19. Sasha @ The procrastobaker

    Oh that first photo is simply divine! It tells a story in its own little way :) gorgeous recipe, im not very good at candy making but find it so fun! So hopefully will give this a go some day :)

    Reply
  20. Lucia

    Memories often come with a bite into something sweet. Recreating flavours makes childhood neverending.

    Reply
  21. jami

    I just made these and am excited to see how they turn out. Question: just before I hit 290*, it started to smell like the sugar was burning. I didn’t want to skimp on the almost-hard-crack, but where’s the tipping point?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Ashley Rodriguez

      @Jami – How did they turn out?! I don’t remember a burnt sugar smell. Have you tested the accuracy of your thermometer lately? Sometimes sugar on the sides of the pan can cook more than what’s in the pot, it’s possible that is what caused the burnt smell.

      Reply
  22. Mama J

    I can not wait to try this! I love that they are pressed in a pan so I don’t have to dip individual candies.

    Reply
  23. Bonnie

    wow those look amazing I was looking at ”Love From the Oven” and she had put these up, THEY LOOK AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS

    Reply
  24. Sara

    Just made these and they didn’t turn out…..when I went to put it in the pan they just got all crumbly. The bottom held together somewhat but the top half was so crumbly I couldn’t cut them let alone spread chocolate on them. I’ve made candy before and have a good thermometer….do you think the sugar got too hot or not hot enough, or something else?

    Despite the crumbliness, I just kind of mixed the chocolate chips into the crumbles and will store in the freezer. Delicious, not share-worthy in terms of looks, but I have a huge store of butterfinger ice cream awaiting me!

    Reply
    • Ashley Rodriguez

      @Sara – I’m so sorry it didn’t work out. That’s so frustrating – I can relate. :) I actually had that happen the first time I made these. I tested
      this recipe several delicious times. :) The crumbling occured for me
      when I didn’t mix the sugar and peanut butter fast enough or the
      peanut butter wasn’t warm enough. The sugar will crystalize quickly so
      you must move fast. Stir them together them immediately get it into
      the pan. Does that make sense?
      I hope that helps and I do hope you try again, it’ll be worth it. I’m
      happy to answer any further questions.
      Thanks for reading!
      Ashley

      Reply
  25. Dewey

    I LOVE these, and I’ve made them a bunch of times now. Such a great recipe, thanks for sharing!

    A question, though: how do you get yours to cut so evenly? Mine always have quite jagged edges. Are yours still a little warm? Am I waiting too long?

    Thanks!

    Reply
  26. Nessie

    These look AHMAZING! So glad to have found your blog! Long long do these keep out of the freezer? Would they melt? Am thinking of making them as xmas presents…noms!

    Reply
  27. Rks1157

    I’ve been experimenting with various ratios trying to get that perfect butterfinger center and my recipe is identical to yours except for the vanilla. I’ll add this on my next batch.

    Candy making is in my blood. My grandfather was a confectioner for his entire life and I’ve been making candy for decades. That said, you can indeed teach an old dog new tricks and I learned a great one a few days ago. Rather than worry about wiping away any sugar crystals that are stuck to the side of the pan all you need to so is put a lid on it for a moment when the mixture first begins to boil. The condensation gently dissolves the stray crystals and drips into the mixture eliminating the chance of ruining your batch by reseeding.

    Reply

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