Healthier Homemade Butterfingers


I couldn’t be more excited about these candy bars.

Made with only a handful of all-natural ingredients, these homemade “Butterfingers” have the same crispy, crunchy texture of the popular name-brand candy bars, without any of the high-fructose corn syrup or preservatives. They’re not even that difficult to make, once you know what you’re doing!

It took me seven attempts to figure out what I was doing, so I’m hoping to save you some time by sharing what I’ve learned in the process.

The concept of making Butterfingers is surprisingly easy. The filling is essentially a hard candy mixed with peanut butter, to create a crispy, crunchy, and buttery texture. To make the hard candy base, you simply need to boil pure maple syrup or honey until it reaches the “hard crack” stage, at 300-degrees Fahrenheit. For this purpose, you’ll need a candy thermometer on hand. I tried making this a few times without the candy thermometer, and it simply won’t work without it. Trust me on this, and save yourself some precious maple syrup!

This recipe can be made with honey or maple syrup, depending on your preference and dietary needs. I prefer the rich, complex flavor of the maple syrup, but either way, you’ll be left with a delicious, crunchy candy bar that’s sure to impress!

Healthier Homemade Butterfingers
makes about 20 bars, depending on size

Adapted from this recipe

Ingredients:

1 cup pure maple syrup, or honey
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar (to prevent crystallization)
1 cup unsalted natural peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1-2 cups dark chocolate chips, as desired for coating

butter or coconut oil, for greasing the saucepan

Directions:

Pour the maple syrup or honey into a small saucepan, and stir in the cream of tartar until dissolved. This is the ONLY time you will stir this mixture!

Attach the candy thermometer to the saucepan, making sure that the stem of the thermometer is not touching the metal sides, or bottom, of the pot. Ideally, the tip should be submerged in 2-inches of syrup, for the most accurate results. (See notes below) To prevent the maple syrup from boiling over, use your finger to spread of bit of butter or coconut oil around the inner rim of the saucepan.

Bring the maple syrup or honey to a boil, over low-medium heat, and allow to heat up to 300F. This may take longer than you expect– close to 10 minutes of boiling! Do not stir the mixture.

While the sweetener is boiling, measure out the cup of natural peanut butter and salt. You’ll want these two ingredients ready to go when the maple syrup or honey is ready, because things will move quickly once the boiling is done! You’ll also want to line a baking sheet with parchment paper, so it’s ready when the time comes.

When the maple syrup has reached 300F, remove the pan from the heat immediately! It will burn quickly after that, so be sure to watch closely!

Quickly mix in the peanut butter and salt, stirring as fast as possible. The mixture will become difficult to stir as it cools. (I mixed mine in a separate mixing bowl, but I think mixing it directly in the saucepan would be a better idea– it would keep the mixture warmer and more malleable.)

Transfer the peanut butter mixture to the parchment-lined baking sheet, and press it into a relatively flat sheet, according to desired thickness. Use an oiled-knife to score the bars, as it’s easier to cut into them while the mixture is still a bit warm. Place the pan in the fridge or freezer to cool completely.

You could actually stop right here, with some perfectly delicious peanut butter candy, but for an authentic “Butterfinger” you’ll want to coat each bar in a layer of melted dark chocolate.

I use my oven to melt my 70% dark chocolate chunks, by placing them in an oven-safe bowl at 350F for about 5 minutes. (A microwave works, too!)

Coat both sides and edges of each bar, and place them on parchment paper to set. For best texture, place the coated bars in the freezer for at least an hour before serving.

These bars are most crunchy when served directly from the freezer, but they are delicious at room temperature, too– just a little softer.

4.64 from 11 votes
Print
Healthier Homemade Butterfingers
Prep Time
30 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 
Made with only a handful of all-natural ingredients, these homemade "Butterfingers" have the same crispy, crunchy texture of the popular name-brand candy bars, without any of the high-fructose corn syrup or preservatives. They're not even that difficult to make, once you know what you're doing!
Course: Dessert
Servings: 20
Calories: 292 kcal
Author: Detoxinista.com
Ingredients
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup , or honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup unsalted natural peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1-2 cups dark chocolate chips , as desired for coating
  • butter or coconut oil , for greasing the saucepan
Instructions
  1. Pour the maple syrup or honey into a small saucepan, and stir in the cream of tartar until dissolved. This is the ONLY time you will stir this mixture!
  2. Attach the candy thermometer to the saucepan, making sure that the stem of the thermometer is not touching the metal sides, or bottom, of the pot. Ideally, the tip should be submerged in 2-inches of syrup, for the most accurate results. (See notes below)
  3. To prevent the maple syrup from boiling over, use your finger to spread of bit of butter or coconut oil around the inner rim of the saucepan.
  4. Bring the maple syrup or honey to a boil, over low-medium heat, and allow to heat up to 300F. This may take longer than you expect-- close to 10 minutes of boiling!
  5. While the mixture is boiling, measure out the cup of natural peanut butter and salt. You'll want these two ingredients ready to go when the maple syrup is ready, because things will move quickly once the boiling is done! You'll also want to line a baking sheet with parchment paper, so it's ready when the time comes.
  6. When the maple syrup has reached 300F, remove the pan from the heat immediately! It will burn quickly after that, so be sure to watch closely!
  7. Quickly mix in the peanut butter and salt, stirring as fast as possible. The mixture will become difficult to stir as it cools. (I mixed mine in a separate mixing bowl, but I think mixing it directly in the saucepan would be a better idea-- it would keep the mixture warmer and more malleable.)
  8. Transfer the peanut butter mixture to the parchment-lined baking sheet, and press it into a relatively flat sheet, according to desired thickness.
  9. Use an oiled-knife to score the bars, as it's easier to cut into them while the mixture is still a bit warm. Place the pan in the fridge or freezer to cool completely.
  10. For the chocolate coating, melt 1-2 cups of dark chocolate chunks, by placing them in an oven-safe bowl at 350F, stirring after 5 minutes until melted completely. (A microwave works, too!)
  11. Coat both sides and edges of each bar with melted chocolate, and place them on parchment paper to set. For best texture, place the coated bars in the freezer for at least an hour before serving.
  12. These bars are most crunchy when served directly from the freezer, but they are delicious at room temperature, too-- just a little softer.

Notes:

Because candy-making has a bit of a learning-curve, here are some helpful notes that may prevent any disasters during the process.

  • Once you have a candy thermometer, be sure to test it! (This would have also prevented a couple batches of scorched maple syrup on my end.)

You can test your thermometer by placing it in a pot filled with at least 2 inches of water, and bringing it to a boil. Boiling water should read about 212-degrees Farenheit. If your thermometer is off, adjust accordingly!

  • To prevent the maple syrup or honey from boiling-over, swipe a small amount of butter or coconut oil along in the inner rim of the saucepan. (I don’t know why this works, but it does! Otherwise, there’s a good chance it will boil over…)

  • The thermometer’s temperature-reading will vary, based on the level of liquid in the saucepan. My smallest 1 1/2 quart sauce pan is too wide to have the liquid level cover enough of the thermometer’s tip, and as a result, I didn’t get an accurate reading. I ended up compensating for this measurement by figuring out how many degrees “off” my thermometer was with such a low level of liquid. (To do this: Boil exactly 1 cup of water, and see what the thermometer reading is. For mine, it only reached 180F, but I know the boiling point for water is actually 212F. So, there was a 32-degree difference, which I accounted for by only boiling my maple syrup to 268F, which would be the equivalent of 300F. Math is fun, huh?) You could also make life easier by simply doubling the recipe–> 2 cups of maple syrup will more than cover the thermometer, and will result in a more accurate reading. You’ll also have LOTS of leftovers!

While this is probably one of my more challenging kitchen endeavors, the result is more than worth it. I’m pretty proud of this authentic crunch!

I hope I’ve taken out some of the guess-work for you, so you can enjoy these healthier Butterfingers in the near future. I’m pretty sure you’ll impress-the-pants-off your friends and family with these homemade candy bars!

Reader Feedback: Have you ever tried making candy before? If not, would you be willing to try it now?

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Comments

Anna

Got it! Thanks.

Carrie

I tried making these with sunflower butter instead of peanut butter (kids can’t eat peanuts) and I have a crumbly, powdery mess… any idea what happened?

    Jemima

    My guess is we boiled it too long… I think it doesn’t need to go to 300 degrees…

Skye Coddington

Oh lord help us! This recipe is amazing. My daughter has been craving Butterfingers, and I just cannot bring myself to buy that stuff and put it in her body. I am entirely sympathetic, though, and I finally decided to look for a recipe. I am utterly shocked at the texture and flavor of the peanut butter filling (I’m melting the chocolate as I type). Mineral rich maple syrup, and peanut butter…. Awesome! Thank you for posting this recipe! It is going in the family cookbook!

Anna

Is there a substitute for the cream of tartar?

Ricia

I used to melt paraffin with chocolate coatings to keep them from melting in your hands. Not exactly natural or the healthiest thing to eat. What would you recommend for a substitute for the paraffin?

Cheryl McSwain

I have tried to make this 3 times and now at 40 minutes the maple syrup hasn’t reached 300 degrees. ( 240°) What am I doing wrong???
Bought a new saucepan and thermometer.
Thanks
Cheryl

    Megan Gilmore

    Have you tried turning up the heat on your stove? If I feel it’s taking too long, I’ll increase the heat so that the process goes faster.

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