If you’re not feeling trick-or-treating or going out to any Halloween parties this year, spend the night at home watching classic Halloween movies (or horror films, if you’re into that) and making homemade candy. Since Halloween falls on a Saturday, your entire day can be filled with spooky festivities or spending time by the stove stirring caramel and layering sugary sauces to indulge in that evening – I prefer the latter.
I’ve always wanted to try making homemade candy. After watching the 1985 adventure comedy film, The Goonies, I figured this was the perfect time to give homemade candy a go. The Baby Ruth candy bar makes an appearance in one of the scenes that involves Chunk, one of the young boys in the group of friends. The Goonies is about a group of young friends who find a treasure map and attempt to find the treasure where “X” marks spot. A group of criminals, the Fratellis, is also after the pirate treasure, creating a challenge for the group of friends along the way.
The scene that involves the Baby Ruth candy bar is when Chunk is captured by the Fratellis and tied up to a chair in the basement next to Sloth, the deformed brother of the Fratelli sons. Chunk befriends Sloth by offering him a Baby Ruth, and together they break free and escape the basement. Though there is a variety of food in the movie (mainly because Chunk likes to eat), the Baby Ruth stands out because it is how Chunk and Sloth become friends, which ultimately saves their lives.
In my attempt to make a homemade Baby Ruth, I set aside a good three to four hours. Candy takes time to make, so start it when you have plenty of time to do things right. Many recipes will say to use a candy thermometer, but I share David Lebovitz’s belief that “there’s nothing like your senses to tell you when food is prepared to your liking.” When the caramel becomes the color of an old copper penny you’ll know it’s ready. The mixture will get frothy and thick, so when you see those things you’ll know you’re doing something right.
Baby Ruths consist of nougat, caramel, peanuts, and chocolate – this is my take on the beloved candy bar:
Homemade Baby Ruth Candy Bars
3 cups brown sugar
1 cup butter
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 pint heavy whipping cream
Pinch of salt
¼ cup milk
10 tablespoons of caramel
2 teaspoons molasses
1 teaspoon butter
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 pinches of salt
1 ¼ cup powdered sugar
2 cups of cocktail peanuts
11.5 ounces of milk chocolate chips (1 bag)
1/3 cup of butterscotch chips
1. In a large saucepan add brown sugar, butter, maple syrup, whipping cream, and salt. Mix together until the color looks like an old copper penny. Stir often until thick. Set aside – this caramel will be used right away in the Baby Ruth recipe. You can make this caramel and use it right away or make it ahead of time and melt down for the Baby Ruth recipe.
Baby Ruth Candy Bar
1. Prepare a candy bar pan. You can use a small casserole dish, a glass dish, or a brownie pan. Line it with parchment paper.
2. In a small pan over low heat, combine milk, molasses, caramel, butter, salt, and vanilla. Stir together until everything mixed together and add 1 cup of powdered sugar. Stir until mixture is frothy. Again, I used my eyes and nose for this part. This is going to be the bottom nougat layer.
3. Add remaining ¼ cup of powdered sugar and whisk until the mixture is thick. Everything should blend together smoothly and be a light brown color. I mixed this in a nonstick pan, which made pouring it into the prepared pan easy.
4. Pour nougat layer into prepared pan and spread out with a metal or wooden spoon. Cover the entire base of the pan.
5. Once the nougat layer has cooled a bit, pour the remaining caramel on top and spread out.
6. Pour the 2 cups (or more) of peanuts onto the caramel before it sets. Make the peanut layer flat.
7. Melt the chocolate chips and butterscotch chips together in the microwave or in a double broiler. Pour this chocolate layer on top of the peanuts.
8. Let the layers of sweetness cool, and then refrigerate until the bar is completely set.
9. Once the bar is cooled and set, remove from the pan by lifting the parchment paper. Cut the layers into long rectangular bars. I decided to leave my sides and bottom chocolate-free, but you can always use any remaining chocolate to dip the sides for full coverage.
10. Enjoy and share with a friend, Chunk style!
Food Images by Lauren Jessen / The Goonies Images by Warner Bros.