Introduction: Homemade Heath Bars

About: Former Instructables employee. Living in San Francisco amidst the fog. I love getting my hands dirty by taking on new projects, developing unique skills and learning fun facts.

They might not be the flashiest of Hershey's candies, but Heath Bars have always been one of my favorites. Turns out they're really easy to make, too! All it takes are some basic kitchen ingredients, along with a bit of time, and you're good to go.

Not only do these bars taste delicious on their own, but also can be broken up to be used in ice cream or cookies. 

Step 1: Gather Ingredients and Materials

You will need: 
  • chocolate chips (1 or 2 bags should be fine)
  • 2 cups (1 pound, 4 sticks) of butter
  • 2 and 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
If you feel like adding a little something-something to you heath bars, feel free to incorporate chopped nuts. Another way to make your toffee richer is to add a splash of cream. I took the traditional route and didn't include these, but it's up to you!

As far as kitchen supplies go, you will need
  • 1 large pot
  • a big baking sheet with sides at least an inch tall
  • a trustworthy candy thermometer (I was able to find one at my local market for around $5)

Step 2: Combine Ingredients

Before you get started boiling the candy, butter the pan. That way, once your toffee has cooked to just the right temperature, you'll be able to transfer it right over.

Cut the butter into small, even squares. It will melt quicker and cook more evenly.

Place the chopped butter, sugar, water, and corn syrup in a large heavy saucepan on medium heat. 

Stir until melted, and then insert the candy thermometer.  

Helpful hints:
  • Have your mitts at the ready! This toffee's about to get hot
  • As you're just starting to melt these ingredients, and the sugar is still grainy, it's apt to stick to the side of the hot pot. You don't want burnt sugar messing with your toffee's taste and texture, so have some water and a pastry brush on hand. Occasionally wipe down the edges of the pot as sugar sticks to it, and you're safe.
  • Be sure the bulb of the candy thermometer isn't touching the bottom or sides of the pan, or the temperature reading will not be accurate

Step 3: Stir!

Get out your wooden spoon and get to stirring! This step takes a long time (Thanks Vanilla Ice Pandora for helping the time fly!), and requires constant stirring and attention to the candy thermometer. You're aiming for 290-300 degrees. Right up to, but not passing, the "Hard Crack" line.

I took pictures at various stages and temperatures during this process. It rises pretty steadily from when you put in the thermometer and then hovers at 230 for awhile. After that it will rise again very quickly, so be careful

If at any point the candy appears to separate (with a layer of melted butter on top) stir it vigorously to make it come back together again.

As it reaches the proper temperature it will turn a dark, golden-amber color and smell amazing. 

Step 4: Pour (with Caution)

At this point your hot toffee is hot as lava, so put those mitts back on as you pour it into your pre-buttered cooking sheet. Don't bother to scrape out the remaining candy clinging to the sides and bottom of the pan, because it's probably overcooked. 

The surface of your toffee will look rough at first, but that will settle out as it cools.

I used a fairly small pan, and so didn't need to spread my toffee out to reach an even thickness. If your pan is bigger than mine, then get out a spatula and spread your toffee out to the edges right after you pour. 

Step 5: Score

Allow the toffee to set for a minute or two (or a half hour if your toffee is as thick as mine). 

Prep your knife with some butter and score the toffee into small squares or rectangles, firmly cutting through to the bottom of the pan. If the toffee fills in your cuts, it's still too hot and you need to wait a bit more.

Allow the toffee to cool completely.

Step 6: Break Up the Toffee

Once the toffee is cool, carefully break it apart on the scored lines into small squares. I used one of my smaller spatulas and it came apart easily.

At this point, the toffee is finished and can be served plain. But we're making Heath Bars, so now come the chocolate.

Step 7: Dip

Pour some of your chocolate chips into a (microwave-safe) bowl and heat it up for about 30 seconds. You don't want to overcook your chocolate (eww) so it's not melted by 30 seconds, give it another 30, and so on.

Now take a fork and dunk each toffee square into the melted chocolate. Once it's completely covered, place on wax paper or another kind of non-stick surface.

If you end up like me and have a bowl of leftover melted chocolate, feel free to drizzle some over your bars 

Step 8: Eat!

Once the chocolate has cooled completely (1-2 hours) the Heath Bars are done!


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