Healthy Homemade Butterfingers

These healthy “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!

homemade butterfinger cut in half

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.

brining maple syrup and honey to boil in a pot 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!

mixing butterfinger doughQuickly 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.

homemade butter finger split in halfThese bars are most crunchy when served directly from the freezer, but they are delicious at room temperature, too– just a little softer.

4.74 from 15 votes
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
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chocolate, dessert, paleo, vegan
Servings: 20
Calories: 292 kcal
Author: Megan Gilmore
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.

Per Serving: Calories: 292, Fat: 21g, Carbohydrates: 24g, Fiber: 2g, Protein: 3g

Recipe 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.)

boiling water in a potYou 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…)

maple syrup and honey boiling over in a pot

  • 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!

homemade butterfinger with a bite taken out of it

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

Jackie

I made these today, and my while family loved them! Thank you!!

Cristy

These are delicious! I used honey and substituted almond butter. Just the honey and nut mixture at room temperature reminds me of Mary Janes. And frozen with chocolate they remind me of Heath bars. While they didn’t turn out like Butterfingers, this is still my new favorite recipe. I am going to have to keep these in the freezer at all times!

Theresa

I am on the gaps diet and cannot do cream of tartar. Any substitutes?

Jess @ Crunchy Hot Mama

So I just attempted these and burned the honey and my fingers. Boo 🙁 Oh well, time to clean out the pan and try again…next time I will go low(er) and slow. Your recipes never fail me, so I will push through the pain and try again 😉

Karissa

These were fantastic. This was my first time making candy so I followed her tip about boiling water first to adjust the thermometer. I followed the recipe to the tee and used maple syrup. These came out tasting better and with the same texture as a real butterfinger.

Joni

Hi,
I made them as directed, poured onto the parchment and cut them, within a minute it was hard as rocks. It’s in the fridge now. What did I do wrong?

Anna

Hi. I was wondering if there was a stove top way to melt the dark chocolate? I don’t have a mircrowave and an oven safe bowl. Thanks for this recipe, sooo different.

    Megan Gilmore

    If you have a bowl that will fit on top of a small saucepot, you can create a “double boiler” over your stove top. Just boil some water in the saucepan, and the bowl on top will gently heat up from the steam– so you can put the chocolate in that bowl to melt.

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?

    Annabelle

    Hey Ricia!
    Have you tried cocoa butter? The kind I mean comes in little squares, which stay solid at room temperature. The kind I have is Big Tree Farms raw cacao butter, which my American sister Amber sent me from her home in California. Big Tree Farms Raw Cacao Butter is made in Ashland, Oregon. The next best kind is Sunfoods Cocoa Butter, which you can find here: https://www.sunfood.com/food/cacao-chocolate-cocoa.html

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.

Jen

Loved these! Followed direction exactly and they turned out perfect.

Thank you!

Anonymous

We made these tonight, and they were great! I can’t eat butterfingers anymore (most candy, actually) for allergy/autimmune reasons. Thanks so much for posting this!!! I bet this recipe would be great for people with peanut allergies – just swap the p.b. for a safe alternate like cashew or sunflower butter (if making for a friend, check the label tto be sure it’s a variety made on different equipment/in a different facility).

Some notes: I did have problems heating the maple syrup. Once it got to around 230F, it started burning. I am not sure what I did wrong. I was concerned so I stirred it, but that only seemed to make it worse! I have been making my own body sugar (for waxing) for years – it’s basically candy that you use on your skin. It never burns, even at 260F with no stirring. Same cooking pot too.

Since I didn’t want to sink another $6-$8 in burned syrup, I decided to use my body sugar recipe to get some experience with the recipe. I used 1/2 cup water, 1 cup sugar, and 2 tbsp lemon juice in place of the syrup and cream of tartar. The bars came out AMAZING!

I am not experienced with chocolate coating. I will definitely make a thinner coat next time (like in your photo). The thick coating was a bit much even for me… lol.

Despite the few bumps, I feel this is an easy recipe to work with. Once the peanut butter is added to the candy mixture, the filling starts cooling quickly. I was able to cut and shape the bars within minutes. Sticking the bars in the freezer before coating them helped the chocolate solidify quickly and evenly.

If you are on the fence and think this recipe seems hard, make the leap! It’s actually very easy 🙂

Heather y

Thank you so much for this recipe! It’s an oldie but goodie. I made these yesterday and used both maple syrup and honey, and added about 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast to give it more of that “cheesey” butterfinger flavor. I also used someone else’s advice to spread it on a silpat and then fold it over itself to make more crunchy layers. Worked great! Love being able to eat some of my favorite candy after going gluten and dairy free with a clear conscience!

Rachael

What size pants should I use if making one batch or two? I’m hesitant to try to wing it without knowing which size pan these will work in without being tooooo thin or toooo thick and instead, more true to the actual bar.

    Megan Gilmore

    I think I used a 1/4 sheet pan in the photos here, but you can use something bigger if you want because the pan size doesn’t really matter. You could skip the pan and just press the batter out on a piece of parchment paper on your counter, instead. You get to choose the thickness of the bars, and you just press out the batter until you reach that thickness. I think of it like cinnamon roll batter, only much stiffer– so you have to work fast!

Rikke

I made these today for my boyfriend for Valentine’s Day and wow! The candies tasted just like store-bought butterfingers!

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