makes about 40 clusters
In an attempt to make a healthier homage to one of my favorite candy bars from childhood--Butterfingers!--I ended up with something that looks nothing like a Butterfinger, but tastes almost exactly like one. Simmering maple butter until almost caramel-like helps create that crumbly, toffee-esque center that's reminiscent of this favorite treat. After adding the peanut butter you may end up with a candy-bar center that's sliceable but...I did not. I embraced the broken bars, tossed them with melted dark chocolate and turned them into clusters. Purists will want to still seek out the real deal, but maple and dark chocolate-lovers like me will be satisfied with this simplified treat.
1 9-ounce jar of maple butter (or DIY if you can't find it)
3/4 cup natural peanut butter
2 3-ounce bars chocolate (I used 60% cocoa)
1. In a small pot heat maple butter until simmering for about 5 minutes. Let it darken and bubble up but don't let it burn. If you have a thermometer, look for it to hit 275. If not, just keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn but still simmers and bubbles away.
2. Turn off heat and stir in peanut butter until well blender. Spread mixture into a lined loaf pan or glass tupperware and let cool in the fridge. Be careful--hot sugar (even maple) is super hot.
3. Cut peanut butter mixture into fun-size bars. Watch as it crumbles. Embrace it. Melt chocolate bars in the microwave or a double-boiler and stir-in peanut butter crumbles. Spoon clusters onto waxed paper-lined sheet trays and cool in the fridge until solid.