Well this is a first.
I’m writing this on my phone on a bus that just departed Providence en route to Washington DC. Lola and I are going to take part in the Women’s March tomorrow. We’ve had enough of this fuckery. We’re going to stand up for what we believe or at the very least, let people know we are watching what’s happening and we’re not happy. We’ll be just two of thousands of dissenters, but every voice counts.
The bus just left at midnight which meant our day was filled with plans and preparations. Although a nap earlier today would have been well advised, there was just too much to do. Plus, I had to make butter crunch.
Butter crunch is a type of candy that’s a lot like toffee. Despite the name, toffee contains more butter which makes it different from butter crunch, but they are pretty close relatives of each other. I believe last week when we celebrated English Toffee Day, I said that I was too busy to make it homemade but promised to give it a whirl on another day. Today was whirl day and despite our day full of preparations, I knew I had to make time to make butter crunch. I found a recipe online from a blog named the JoyofBaking.com by a Canadian woman named Stephanie. The thought of making my own candy seemed intimidating but I read through the recipe a few times and watched the video to get the feel for what to do. I felt I could do it, especially with my fudge making experience. So I got all the supplies and was ready.
The first thing you do is roast some almonds and then blend them up so they can form the crunch on the outside. This was the easy part. When they were ready, I spread them out on a sheet pan as the base for my candy. Then I cooked some butter, brown sugar, water and corn syrup in a big pot and let it cook. This is where it gets complicated because you have to whip out the ol’ candy thermometer. I had one of these but had never used it before. Candy making gets kind of precise on what temperature you cook it to. I was supposed to take it off the heat when it hit 285 degrees and then it would keep cooking to eventually hit 290. That’s your butter crunch sweet spot. It actually was kind of easy and I just watched the thermometer rise. I was worried about splatter boiling out and onto my skin because that’s a burn that hurts. It sticks to your skin so it keeps burning and burning. I’ve learned that the hard way from my fudge adventures. But no splatter today, just some welll behaved boiling candy.
When it hit the 290 mark, I added in some vanilla and some baking soda. Then, after that all came together, I poured it out over the almonds on my sheet pan into a thin layer. Then I sprinkled chocolate chips atop the candy which was still hot and it softened the chips in a few minutes, enough so I could spread the chocolate across the top. I topped that with another layer of almonds and was done. I just put it in the fridge for about a half hour to firm up.
When it was ready, I chopped it up in to small squares and stored them neatly in a Tupperware container so I could bring it on the trip. I tried some and oh man, did I get it right. It’s just a good recipe but this batch was spot on. The candy part was solid, like a good toffee should be, but soft enough to bite so you didn’t break your teeth. It was sweet and buttery. The chocolate on top gave it that extra sweet goodness and the almonds added a whole crunchy depth to each bite. I was pleased at how it came out.
Now it’s in a giant bag beneath my seat that is filled with all kinds of snacks and treats. One thing about my wife, she likes to be prepared. She takes after her Mom when it comes to packing. My plan is to break out the toffee at some point this trip. Maybe somewhere in Jersey. Maybe I’ll be the bus hero. The guy with the homemade butter crunch. One can only hope.
An unusual day of celebration it has been and it’s only getting stranger. I was able to broaden my candy making skills, so that’s a plus. But even though I was excited to tackle this new confection, there was just a strange feeling about today. All that pomp and pageantry marking a new era. Well Lola and I are having none of it. We’re going down to Washington to rattle some cages. But don’t worry, I’m bringing butter crunch.
Next Up: National Granola Bar Day