In partnership with ThermoWorks, I’m going to walk you through the entire Chocolate Peanut Butter Toffee Bark process with helpful tips to make it successful. All opinions expressed here are my own.
GIFTING FROM YOUR KITCHEN
No holiday season is complete without making some sort of food gift from my kitchen. I love gifting from my kitchen so much that I dedicated one of the first episodes of Kelsey’s Essentials to the topic! For years I made my salted caramel for neighbors and friends, then my Honey Corn from Kitchen Confidence became my go-to for a couple of years, and now it’s my Chocolate Peanut Butter Toffee Bark. This recipe hits all the right notes – sweet, salty, and oh so decadent!
TOOLS FOR MAKING HOMEMADE CANDY + CARAMEL
I grew up thinking that a candy thermometer was necessary for making candy or caramel at home. But the traditional old-style candy thermometer is technologically outdated. I swear by my ThermoWorks Thermapen Mk4 and reach for it over and over during my holiday cooking, including homemade candy and caramel (and turkey and apple pie!). Who knew?! The improved usability, hyper accuracy, and fast-reaction time have eliminated any sort of need for an old-fashioned candy thermometer.
TIPS FOR SUCCESS
- Temperature is key in candy making – no question about it. Even 1-2ºF can make the difference in the success of a recipe. In order to feel confident that your temperature is accurate, make sure you have a thermometer you fully trust.
- Keep it clean! Before making any sort of candy or caramel I make sure all of my utensils (bowl, pot/pan, spatula, thermometer probe, measuring cups, etc.) are freshly washed and dried.
- Prep for success – it’s all about timing and in order to get your timing right you need to have everything ready to go. Lay out all of your tools and ingredients in the order that you plan to use them. It’s a small thing that can make a big difference.
- Don’t rush – your best caramelization will come with patience as it slowly develops in color. But don’t leave it on the stove unattended – all it takes is turning your head for one moment for it to burn! This is not the time to multitask.
- Keep stirring to a minimum – It’s ok to stir in the very beginning to incorporate the ingredients, but once it’s boiling, hands off! When you stir boiling sugar it causes the crystals to become unstable and start to bind. Just say “no” to stirring after it’s boiling.
- Hands off – It can be tempting to poke at your finished candy, but it takes some time to cool. Because sugar is so dense, it holds temperature and heat well, so resist the urge to sneak a taste until it has fully cooled. Sugar burns are the worst!
PERFECT TOFFEE TEXTURE EVERY TIME
Homemade Toffee is one of those recipes you’ll want to make year after year – it’s THAT good. Especially in this recipe where it’s sandwiched in between crispy graham crackers, chocolate, peanut butter, and salty pretzels. Remember that the temperature range you’re looking for when it becomes toffee is 280º-285ºF.
SEE HOW IT’S DONE
If making candy or caramel still makes you a bit nervous, check out the video I made with Thermoworks tackling this recipe from top to bottom. It’s one of my favorites and I can’t wait to gift it to my neighbors.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Toffee Bark
Yield 16 servings
A graham cracker base topped with perfectly cooked toffee, chocolate, peanut butter and finished off with salty pretzels – YUM! It’s indulgent in the best kind of way and the holidays are the perfect excuse to give in.
- 10 Graham Crackers
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ⅓ cup smooth peanut butter
- ¾ cup crushed pretzels
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a sheet tray with foil and spray with nonstick spray. Arrange graham crackers in an even layer in the prepared pan, breaking some if necessary to fully cover the bottom. Set aside.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add brown sugar and water and gently stir to combine. Place an instant read thermometer (I like the Thermoworks Thermapen) in the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, not stirring, until the mixture reaches 280-285°F.
Once it reaches 280°F, immediately remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour over the graham crackers and spread evenly. Transfer to oven and bake for 5 minutes.
Remove sheet tray from the oven and sprinkle evenly with chocolate chips. Return to oven for an additional 2 minutes. Place peanut butter in a microwave safe bowl and heat until it’s pourable, for about 20 seconds.
When the toffee comes out of the oven, spread the chocolate even with a knife or an offset spatula and drizzle the peanut butter over the top while swirling with the knife or the spatula. Top with crushed pretzels. Chill completely until hardened, then break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.