My Dad is a Crunchie fan – he just loves honeycomb – actually you could probably call him a ‘Crunchie nut’ so this is ideal for him! When I came across this just before last Christmas I just knew I had to make a batch so I could give him some for Christmas (saving some for our family, of course!) I also made White Christmas Slices and was able to give him and mum mixed box of goodies. I like the idea of giving handmade presents, sadly its something I rarely have time to do. This year my mind has been on other things with little time to make those festive extra treats we love: pickles, chutneys, Stollen, Lebkuchen…
I first saw this on the television series accompanying the new (in Christmas 2010) book, Nigella Kitchen by Nigella Lawson. Such a simple idea and I was able to take down the recipe from the TV. A shortcut possibility, or for anyone outside the UK who cannot get Crunchie Bars (though they seem to be widely available), would be to use honeycomb, also known as cinder toffee. I understand this is fairly simple to make and there are various methods online. Here is just one version: Lets make a crunchie bar (giving first a recipe for honeycomb and then turning it into home made ‘crunchie’ bites) from fellow London based blogger London Eats. If you use honeycomb rather than Crunchies, then you would need to add more chocolate to account for the missing chocolate covering on the bars. I found that the finished article was much easier to cut straight from the fridge: once it had started to warm up the portions were not quite so neat and started to crumble. My one concern was that the finished article could have looked a little prettier. I used bars of Sainsbury’s Basics range chocolate, which I understand comes from a very reputable source yet is very resonably priced and was careful not to overheat it. I am not very experienced with chocolate and I would have liked a smoother finish, however I don’t think this was the fault of the chocolate. The taste was great. As an alternative to using lined shallow square or rectangular tins Nigella suggests using disposable foil tins. I always make sure I rescue these when they come with commercially bought meals, usually desserts or cakes, rather than immediately recycling them. By the way, don’t worry about using salted peanuts, just shake off any excess salt before use.
Sweet & Salty Crunchie Nut Bars
200g milk chocolate (I used Sainsbury’s Basics range)
100g dark/plain chocolate (I used Sainsbury’s Basics range)
100g unsalted butter (I used slightly less than the 125g in the original recipe)
1 x 15ml tbsp golden syrup
250g salted peanuts (I used Sainsbury’s Basics range)
2 x 80g Crunchie bars
1. Line a tin about 26cm square or a rectangular tin of similar dimensions with tin foil, smoothing out as much as possible. Alternatively use disposable foil tins (see note above).
2. Tip the peanuts into a large hole sieve or colander and shake over the sink to remove excess salt. Tip them into a medium sized mixing bowl. Crumble and add the Crunchie bars. Stir to combine.
3. Gently melt the butter and golden syrup together in a heavy based pan. As it melts break up and add the chocolate bars. Stir until dissolved, but do not allow to boil.
4. When the mixture in the pan has just melted pour it over the nuts and broken Crunchies and stir together.
5. Pour into the lined tin or foil tray. Spread out to the corners and try to flatten it as possible. A spatula will help with this.
6. Cover and place in the refrigerator for several hours. Remove and slice, working quickly before the mixture starts to warm up, which I found made it more difficult to cut accurately. I could be cut it into chunks, wedges or even random shapes.
7. Store in the fridge until you are ready to give away. Placed in small decorative boxes and wrapped with cellophane this makes good Christmas gift. It could also be served as a ‘naughty nibble’ with a cup of coffee!