I’ve had these…
sitting on my kitchen counter for over a week. Ben has been eyeing both items while casually asking when I am actually going to do something with them. I’ve known all along what I planned to make. I knew the second I saw the recipe in this month’s Food & Wine. Peppermint Buttercrunch. I just kept putting off making it, I guess I just needed my mood, the weather and holiday spirit to get in sync.
This morning, while driving the MiniBens to school, the outside temperature on my car’s gauge indicated it was 47 degrees. 47 degrees is pretty crisp for the coastal area of southern California where I live. We turned on the seat heaters and embraced the small glimpse of winter weather. Meanwhile, half of the country is covered in ice.
After dropping the kids off at school, I knew that this was the morning I would finally make the Peppermint Buttercrunch. When I arrived home, I donned my purple knit Ugg boots (!) and apron,
switched Spotify to some Christmas music (Digster UK’s Indie Christmas playlist – check it out!) and embraced the holiday on this chilly morning.
I haven’t made a lot of candy. I’ve dabbled with a few recipes but it can all be quite intimidating. Candy making requires a close eye on the thermometer, every degree counts. However, toffee & buttercrunch aren’t difficult to make and you needn’t be intimidated by them. In fact, you might want to be more intimidated by the number of dishes you’ll do than the difficulty of the actual recipe! Maybe someone else will be really excited about what is to come and they’ll help with the dishes.
The result of this recipe is definitely worth the patience (and dishes) required. Also, with the minimal ingredient list, how can you not give it a go?!
Peppermint Buttercrunch adapted from Food & Wine December 2013. Makes about 1 1/2 lbs.
- 1 stick + 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
- 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 cup crushed peppermint candies
- candy thermometer (mine is from the supermarket; it’s nothing special & gets the job done)
Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, or a silicone baking mat (I prefer parchment paper).
Combine the butter, sugar, water, and salt in a saucepan and cook over moderate heat until the temperature reaches 298 degrees.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the peppermint and vanilla extract (TJ’s Bourbon Vanilla Extract is fantastic! And, bourbon?!? Yay!)
Immediately pour the buttercrunch onto the baking sheet and spread with an offset spatula. Let cool completely.
Microwave half of the chocolate, in a glass bowl or measuring cup, in 30 second intervals. Stir between each one, until the chocolate starts to melt. Stir in the remaining chocolate until completely smooth.
Spread half of the melted chocolate on the cooled buttercrunch and sprinkle with half of the crushed peppermint. Let set.
Carefully set another baking sheet on top of the buttercrunch and gently flip the baking sheets. Peel off the parchment paper. Spread remaining chocolate onto the buttercrunch and sprinkle with remaining peppermint. Let set until completely cooled.
Break into pieces before eating, storing or giving.
This recipe turned out so yummy! It is hard to think of giving it away, but homemade gifts are some of the best and I know a few people who would love this. I will tuck a few pieces away for Ben and the MiniBens but the rest are being wrapped up for some special people. A little white bag box, with a bit of parchment inside, tied up with a festive piece of holiday string and an ornament gives this homemade gift that extra special touch (add these touches, they help show how much love you put into making the candy).
A small pile of scraps aren’t quite worthy of gifting but I won’t let them go to waste:)! Hey, the cook deserves a treat, right?
An excellent treat for friends, coworkers, teachers, or the family. Be sure to #theincidentalspoon if you post any pictures of your Peppermint Buttercrunch on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram! Off to my brother and SiL’s for cocktails, a special hostess gift in hand!