Oh yeah, we’ve hit the big time here. That’s right, this is my 200th post on this blog. 200 entries of deliciousness, tastiness, snarkiness and about 1,322.57 other -nesses that need not be named. I had to prepare something special for this momentous occasion. I decided to make something that covered all the bases: included chocolate and caramel, wasn’t something you’d generally think of making on your own, had a few different steps but wasn’t overly complicated. Snickers bars.
You can think our friend Jeff for this. At some point, Jeff got the bright idea that if he just posted a recipe to my facebook page, I would then make it for him. It was a risky gamble. Actually, not that risky. He was pretty much right. As I’ve proven here. Anyway, he posted a link to this recipe for snickers bars. I was intrigued. I like making my own candy–I mean, so far I’ve done mints, peanut butter cups, chocolate and turtles. But I’d never made nougat before. Or as complicated a candy as a Snickers bar. And I love Snickers bars. I love anything that includes chocolate, caramel and nuts. So I gave it a go.
I first made it a couple weeks ago. It didn’t really turn out the best. I followed the recipe on the link posted above. While the flavor was good, I messed up by using a smaller pan and making the bars much thicker than they should have been. And it required a lot of “do this, wait a couple hours, do another step, wait a couple hours,” etc, which I hate. Also, I didn’t like the nougat recipe, as it didn’t set up the way it should have, which is something other people commented it about on the recipe post. I did, however, learn how to make marshmallow fluff while putting this recipe together. So I got that going for me, which is nice. But anyway, I went and did some searching for some other nougat recipes to see if I could conquer that little problem.
What is nougat, anyway? Well, according to the all-knowing Wikipedia, nougat is:
a term used to describe a variety of similar traditional confectioneries made with sugar or honey, roasted nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios, or hazelnuts are common), and sometimes chopped candied fruit. The consistency of nougat can range from chewy to hard depending on its composition, and it is used in a variety of candy bars and chocolates.
So there ya go. Sugary and nuts. Sounds kind of like me!
…that was a joke. But you didn’t laugh. Shame.
Anyway, so then I found this other Snickers recipe online at ehow.com. This recipe included a nougat that was more like a dough rather than a batter, so I went with that. The whole recipe itself was actually a lot simpler, with a lot less waiting time.
Click here for the recipe if you want to try EHow’s version. I made a few changes when making my own, notably:
- I added a tablespoon or so of more butter to the nougat. This made it more bind-y, so that it stayed together better when I pressed it into the pan, and when I cut it into bars and when I dipped it in the hot chocolate.
- I made my own caramel (recipe below).
- The second batch of these that I made contained both peanuts and pecans, just because I had leftover pecans after making some turtles. Snickers bars come in a variety of flavors, so don’t be afraid to try almonds, pecans, peanuts, cashews, etc.
- I used semisweet chocolate chips instead of milk chocolate. Milk chocolate is too sweet, and considering the nougat is like 90% sugar, and the caramel is too, I figured I’d go for less milk and sugar in my chocolate. I also think a mix of semisweet and dark chocolate would be absolutely fantastic.
- The second batch I made also had less nougat (by a third) and more caramel and nuts (by…I don’t know how much). I think this made them much better.
The verdict? These are really pretty good! There’s only three basic steps (if you don’t make the caramel from scratch like I did): 1) make the nougat 2) while the nougat is chilling, melt the caramel and add peanuts; pour over the nougat 3)cut and dip into chocolate. I gave the first batch to Jeff to taste. As I’m sure he’s reading this even while I type (darn you, magic Canadians!), he may pop in and give his opinion but I think it’s safe to say, they’re pretty good. I believe he said they were “even better than real Snickers bars” because of the chocolate. Josh said they were, “seriously good.” And he would know.
The second batch went to the engineers that I work with. Brian pronounced them, “IN CRE DI BAL.” Seriously, he pronounced it just like that. Well, as close as you can actually “pronounce” something via online chat.
So there you go, intarwebs. Post #200. If you haven’t gone back and read the other 199, you should. Go on. I’ll wait here.
1 c. butter
1 pound light brown sugar
pinch of salt
1 c. light corn syrup
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla
Melt butter in a heavy saucepan; add brown sugar and salt and stir thoroughly until combined. Mix in corn syrup and then gradually add milk, stirring constantly.
Cook and stir over medium heat until it reaches firm ball stage, or 245F, according to a candy thermometer; about 12-15 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour into a buttered 9″ square pan that’s been coated with cooking spray. Cool and cut into squares. Makes about 2.5 pounds.