Maple bourbon buttercrunch
I hadn’t heard of buttercrunch until our last trip to Vermont, where we stayed in a hotel that put a little box of it on our pillow at night. It’s not as hard as toffee, I suppose it’s a little bit like thin butterscotch, a little bit like a dime bar and a little bit like Scottish tablet. It’s crunchy and crumbly and rich and sweet and oh so good.
Obviously because I first tried it in Vermont I’ve had to make mine with maple syrup. Whilst we were there we actually went to a place where maple syrup was being processed, have you ever done that? The smell is just incredible!
And of course you know me, I’ve had to stick some booze in this too. I really can’t help myself.
Bear in mind that the more you stir this the more grainy and more like tablet it will be, so try to resist the urge if you want smooth butterscotch style buttercrunch.
I like to pick out the larger pieces of the finished buttercrunch and use the remaining rubble as an ice cream topping or stir it into in brownie batter.
2 tbsp of bourbon
2 tbsp dark amber maple syrup
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g chopped chocolate (dark or milk is fine)
Fill a dish or mug with ice water and line a baking tray with buttered foil.
Combine the sugar, butter, bourbon and maple syrup in a large pan and let it all melt together over a moderate heat. Give it a stir and then let it come to boiling point. Leave the mixture to boil, without stirring for about 10 minutes, until the colour has changed to a dark caramel.
Whilst this is happening you need to blitz the pecan nuts in a food processor so that they are quite finely chopped.
Check to see if the sugar mixture has reached ‘hard crack’ stage by dropping a small amount of it into the ice water. It should become hard and brittle. If not then continue to boil the mixture for a minute of two, but be careful not to burn the mixture.
Once you have reached ‘hard crack’ take the pan off the heat and mix in the bicarbonate of soda. Quickly pour the caramel into the prepared tin. Immediately scatter the chocolate over the top and then let it sit for a minute or two to melt.
Once it has melted use a spatula to spread it evenly over the surface of the caramel. Cover the chocolate with the pecan and then leave the whole lot to set.
Once it is has you can turn it out of the tin, remove the foil and break or chop it into bite-size pieces.