There is only one thing worse than making candy without a candy thermometer. (Alright, more than one, but bear with me.) It’s making candy with a poorly calibrated candy thermometer. When you make candy without a thermometer, you know that your caramel might not come out right. You know there is a risk.
When your thermometer isn’t accurate, you’re positive that everything is going to be fine and then it isn’t. You have hope, and then that hope is crushed. First candy, then your dreams.
Maybe not your dreams. Unless your dream is making homemade Mars bars.
There’s a lot of recipes around for homemade chocolate bars, but none really for homemade Mars bars. I’m not sure why. There’s nothing threatening about Mars bars. They even removed the sharp almonds (ooo scary) from the Canadian recipe a few years ago. The edges of the chocolate bars are curved now, so even if you get hit with one in the eye it won’t hurt that much. Mars bars shouldn’t be scary. Mars bars should be delicious.
I made Mars bars in the shape of squares because squares are cool. Yeah, I’m a rebel.
I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that they tasted good. They didn’t. They were truly awful (the first time around).
Yup, they sucked.
All because I had a poorly calibrated thermometer. The chocolate nougat came out well, but I overcooked my caramel. I dropped my thermometer after I made the nougat and I think that doing so might have damaged it. Dropping it probably broke it. Probably.
Instead of the soft caramel that’s in the Mars bar, mine was hard. Not only was the caramel hard, it was in that specific range of hard that would drive any candy maker mad. The caramel was too hard to chew but not hard enough to suck on.
If it was just a bit harder, I could have scraped off the chocolate nougat (which was almost exactly like the Mars bar version, by the way) and had caramels to eat. It wasn’t though. I ended up with a soft layer of noguat and a hard layer of caramel. These were impossible to eat.
Oh, and then because the caramel was so hard, these were really difficult to cut into squares. The nougat would stick to the knife while the knife would get stuck in the caramel. My knife was covered in gooey (but delicious) chocolate nougat while the blade was stuck half way in the caramel. I considered using a butcher’s knife at one point, and then I realized how crazy I would look taking a butcher’s knife to caramel.
So I put away the butcher’s knife.
Later batches, with a working thermometer, turned out quite well though.
When you dip these in chocolate you can either go for a smooth finish, like the real Mars bars, or you could make some nice designs on top with a fork and some other types of chocolate. I ran a fork through them to make them a bit “homemade”.
I hope my caramel troubles don’t stop you from making these. There’s nothing wrong with this recipe – just with my thermometer at first. I (and others who posted in the comments) have made the recipe with a working thermometer after my first batch and it made excellent Mars bars. You just need to make sure that you actually cook the caramel to the correct temperature. My thermometer was off by about eight degrees Celsius the first time around, which is a lot for candy making.
Happy New Years everyone – hope your next year is sweet, with a touch of sea salt since that’s the new baking thing.
- 2 egg whites
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1½ cups (300g) sugar
- 1 cup (340g) light corn syrup
- ½ cup (125ml) water
- 4oz (113g) melted milk chocolate
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 cup (200g) sugar
- ¾ cup (190ml) whipping cream
- ½ cup (170g) light corn syrup
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 400g of your favourite chocolate, tempered
- Grease an 8 by 8 pan and then line it with parchment paper, with excess on the sides so that you can pull it out later. Beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar to soft peaks while the sugar, corn syrup, and water cook on medium-high heat in a medium saucepan. Cook the sugar until it reaches the soft crack stage, 270°F. Pour about a teaspoon of the sugar syrup into the egg whites and beat until incorporated. Add in another teaspoon and beat some more. Continue doing this until all the sugar syrup is incorporated. Add in the chocolate and the cocoa powder, and beat until the bowl is slightly warmer than room temperature, about three minutes. Pour into the pan. Spread the nougat into an even layer. It might be helpful to place a piece of parchment paper on top and press down on it with your hands to do this. Let the nougat sit for ten minutes at room temperature while you prepare the caramel.
- Cook all the ingredients together in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until the temperature reaches 245°F, about eight minutes. Do not stir. Pour onto the nougat, and let sit for two hours.
- Take out the layers by pulling on the parchment paper and then place them on a chopping board, caramel side down. Cut the bars into any size you like. Place the layers in the freezer before cutting if you're having trouble. This will be sticky.
- Dip the bars using a fork in the tempered chocolate, and then let the chocolate harden at room temperature. Store the chocolate bars in the fridge, and let them sit at room temperature for twenty minutes before serving.
31 thoughts on “Homemade Mars Bars”
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These look delicious! A great homemade version of the classic candy bar. Sorry about your caramel and thermometer problems. I’ve been having problems with my meat thermometer (I think it needs a new battery) – but it can definitely cause problems if it’s not working properly!
I don’t have the best track record with candies. My thermometer is a bit off (I think) so I always end up with a mess. But your bars look delicious in my eyes! So I’m not daunted at all. I will probably try again in the very near future. Thank you for sharing!
I have never had much luck with making candies/ things that have to do with a candy thermometer. My thermometer is probably 50 or more years old… Yup. Probably not too accurate. :P Sometimes candy can be hard to control too. But, mistakes happen! :) I’ve gotta say, they do look pretty delicious…
Happy New Year and now I’m craving these bars. In spite of the thermometer problems – I’m eager to give these a try. I just bought a brand new thermometer and I’ll be sure not to drop it. :)
DROOL! Mars is one of my faves, can’t believe you made a homemade version. So awesome!
It took me forever and a half to get a candy thermometer but I’m glad I did…these look amazing and I wanted to wish you an incredible AND DELICIOUS 2013, Ian!!
I’ve actually thought about that, I’ve never stumbled across recipes for mars bars i Sweden either. I know what you mean, I just did a batch of macarons and I can alreay tell that they are not going to be perfect…and I know ecactly what I did wrong…but, they’ll taste just as good anyway! Thanz for the inspiration!
Oh my gosh….you made your own Mars bars? Now you can go for the fried Mars bars. Just close your eyes and eat…..hehe
These are stunning! I’m a DIY candy-making kick, so these beauties will be added to the weekend baking list. Yum!
Thanks for posting this. Been looking everywhere for a way to make Mars Bars for a project I am working on.
Think there is a slight error in your recipe – 270F is soft crack, not soft ball. I have a sugar thermometer marked in celcius and so have been using the “soft ball” as a guideline, but it turns out actually that is only 116C or 240F. My nougat has been more of a sauce than a firm dough at this temperature. Plan to redo tonight at 270F/135C and see if this helps!
Anyway just a little thing but I think given the pain of all the sloppy nougat sauce I have to get rid of worth mentioning! :)
Thanks for your comment and glad you found what you were looking for. :)
I have corrected the error – thank you for letting me know.
Please let me know how it goes :)
I just finished the caramel layer, and they’re resting on my counter.
You said your nougat was almost like the Mars Bars version, mine seems to be a little darker and less airy. Should I have mixed it longer?
You may have actually overmixed it and therefore deflated the egg whites too much. It shouldn’t be a big problem though in the end.
I wondered that too, but the bowl was still hot on the outside. So I thought I should cool it a bit more. Anyways… I can always try again.
They’re almost all eaten. My Nougat wasn’t perfect, but these were amazing candies. The caramel was a good texture.
I’m making them again.
Thank you for the recipe.
Glad you liked them. :)
Love Mars bars but your recipe is missing the bestr part almonds, isn’t it?
Hey Melinda, Mars bars don’t have almonds here in Canada!
Um, Mars bars without almonds are just Milky Way bars, right? We COULD add almond slivers on the top of each candy, right?
Of course you could! Here in Canada there aren’t any almonds in our Mars bars though.
Mmmm Yummy! I will be making these soon, have to shop for the right ingredients first-corn syrup and whipping cream and I have the rest already. Thank You for the awesome recipe and I loved the story of the caramel and the almond comments. LOL! Scary almonds!!! Hahaha!! You have a way with words that just makes me keep reading! :) Happy Halloween!!
Thanks for a recipe for the best candy bar ever made!!! Can’t believe Mars stopped making them, and can’t wait to make them myself
Thanks for this recipe!! Will definitely try it!
Hey…i needed this ….i loved mars bars a lot but i have a very big problem that i dont have a candy thermometer……plz tell me the tym to cook ….like 8 min for 217 F…..
I have just been looking at your home made Mars bars for the first time and thinking, hmm is it worth the effort? for as much as I love making sweets or as you call them candies, I like easy, hassle-free ones. I carried on reading the reviews to glean a better idea from the triers and tasters and horror! one of the comments states; its a shame Mars stopped making them! You poor, poor things. I live in the UK and I can assure you, they are still going strong here and definitely no almonds in them! I have decided to keep your recipe for another day, thank you for that, and just go out and buy one to appreciate that I still can.
Many thanks for your recipe.
I’m confused. Is the recipe corrected now and is the 270 soft crack right?