I found myself with a sizeable bag of candy corn the other day. It was the result of an impulse purchase - marked down Hallowe'en candy (that was more or less shelf stable) was out and as soon as I saw "candy corn" I immediately remembered my Homemade Butterfinger Bars and was determined to make them. What can I say?
It is hard to mess with a good thing though, especially when that "thing" is candy! The original formula works so well that I wondered if a variation with a chocolate flavour would work, and for a while doubted any sort of success would come my way! Nevertheless, I made a small batch, using both peanut butter as well as rich Nutella and even chocolate frosting! The mixture wasn't quite as easy to form as I remembered, so I tossed in some butter and it all worked out! The resulting candy actually kind of looks like a red velvet confection too, thanks to all the colours swirling.
After I made my successful "test" batch, I made another - but this time I jazzed it up a bit by kneading in some crispy rice cereal, which made the resulting mix too hard to form into the turtle mould I used for the smooth version. Instead, I pressed it into a square pan, and on cutting it I definitely got memories of the Crunch bars I'd eat as a kid, but better! As I was writing up the recipe, I did some quick fact checking and found out that not only were both versions of this new creation delectable, but they're gluten free too (double win!). Of course, that was dependent on the specific ingredients I had, but the Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge frosting and the cereal I picked both are so the rest of the story followed suit.
I coated them in a mix of (conveniently) GF milk and dark chocolate (I didn't have enough of either to do one kind) and then decorated them with melted green coating wafers and white chocolate so they'd look pretty enough for Christmas gifts - like the ones offered in the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats (the roundups and Pins!)!
In the end, I think I even like this version of the chewy, nutty confections better than the originals, both because I love peanut butter and chocolate together and because I got to use my turtle chocolate moulds :-D.
I can't believe that Christmas really is just around the corner, it seems like Halloween was just yesterday!
Chewy Chocolate Candies and Crispy Bars
Makes 16 bars, one 9" pan
1 1/2 cups candy corn
1 tbsp chocolate fudge frosting (Duncan Hines is GF)
1 1/2 tbsp Nutella
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 tbsp salted butter
Optional: 1/4 cup Crispy Rice cereal, for "Crispy" bars