Nuttish - Reverse-Engineering The Rowntrees Nutty Bar

nuttishthumb.pngUp until some time in the 1980s, there was a confectionery bar made by Rowntree Mackintosh, called 'Nutty'. Sadly, it's just a memory now - discontinued before Rowntree became part of Nestlé.

It was my sister's favourite - and she often reminisces about it. Well, I thought it was time to try to bring it back - so here's my attempt to reverse-engineer it.

What Was Nutty?

It was a 4 or 5 inch bar of fudge, coated in soft caramel toffee and encrusted with halved, unsalted peanuts - that's it - no chocolate - just fudge, soft toffee, nuts.

Assembling The Ingredients

nuttish1.jpgFor this first attempt, I'm going to cut corners wherever possible - so I bought a few large blocks of ready-made caramel fudge from a specialist fudge boutique-kiosk in Portsmouth's Gunwharf Quays shopping centre.

Unsalted peanuts are quite difficult to obtain, but I found a couple of potentially promising bags. And in a traditional sweet shop in Portsmouth city centre, I found some wrapped fudge that was slightly more toffee-like in texture.

Nutty Nut-Nuts

nuttish2.jpgBlanched unsalted peanuts would have been best, but once I got them home, it was clear they were too big for this project, so the alternative was the smaller, raw redskin peanuts.

nuttish3.jpgTrouble is, they would need roasting and peeling - for authenticity's sake, but also just because the skins are quite bitter.I spread them out on a metal tray, covered with foil, and put them in the oven at 130 Celsius for 20 minutes to cook them through gently.

Then I turned up the oven to 170 and gave them another 5 minutes without the foil, to brown them up a little.

nuttish4.jpgIt's quite hard to get this right - oven-toasted peanuts in small batches can easily go from raw to burnt in just a few minutes - but I think I caught them just at the right time - they continue cooking a little after removal from the oven, so it's best to err on the side of undercooked.Getting the skins off was messy and laborious - not worth even attempting until fully cooled.

Grabbing handfuls of peanuts and grinding them together in my fist rubbed off the now-flaky and papery skins and to separate the nuts from the flakes.

nuttish5.jpgI took them outside in a large bowl and carefully tossed them into the air - if you get it right, the nuts fall straight back down into the bowl and even the gentlest breeze blows the skin fragments away (this is called winnowing).I cut the fudge into long bars, then rolled it into cylinders inside a folded nonstick re-usable baking sheet.

nuttish6.jpgWorking the fudge like this softens it considerably (and it was quite soft to begin), so I made a few of these, then set them in the fridge to firm up.Nextly, I prepared the toffee coating - I unwrapped about 175g of the other toffee-fudge and put it in a small saucepan. I wanted this stuff to be sticky and glossy, so I added about three tablespoons of golden syrup.

Taking care not to scorch it, I melted this mixture over a gentle heat, then it was time to start assembly...

Hot Sugar

Just a word of warning here if you're thinking of trying this - melted toffee or fudge will be hotter than boiling water, and will stick to skin at the slightest touch - take care with melted sugar.

nuttish7.jpgUsing metal tongs, I dipped and rolled the fudge cylinders one at a time in the molten toffee, then quickly transferred them onto the peanuts, sprinkling and rolling them to coat all over.

nuttish8.jpgIt was a little difficult to get consistent results, but I found it was possible to push extra peanuts into any gaps where the toffee was still showing

nuttish9.jpgI put them in the fridge to set the toffee, then got to work on the packagingThe original Nutty Bar was wrapped in distinctive crinkly brown cellophane - I looked everywhere, but couldn't find any of this, so I opted to make an inner wrapping from silvery gift wrap (silver side innermost) and wrap this around with a sheet of self-adhesive paper label, printed with a logo.

I found a freeware font that's close to the original Nutty logo (the font is called Funny And Cute) and I used Inkscape (open-source vector drawing program) to render it in orange with a white outline.

So here's the finished product:I tasted one of the spares/mis-shapes and it seemed pretty good. I don't actually have a reliable memory of what the original was like, so I don't know how close I got - will have to consult an expert....

nuttish10.jpg

Nutty Bar - Gone But Not Forgotten

The precise reason for the disappearance of the Nutty Bar isn't clear - but there are plenty of folks out there crying out for its return. All that remains of the product now is wistful memory and a few tantalising souvenirs - such as this perfectly-preserved wrapper:

nuttish12.jpg

Anything Similar, Anywhere?

Closest thing seems to be a product from the USA called PayDay, however, this is made with salted nuts - which is nice, as salt and caramel is a good flavour combination - but it's not the beloved Nutty Bar.

 

Reverse Engineering

That's actually what I'm doing here. I don't remember how this product tasted, so I've asked people to describe it to me - and from that, I'm trying to work out how I would make it.

That might not be the way it was originally made (probably isn't, as several of the processes - for example, melting the toffee or roasting the nuts - are inherently more difficult to control at a small scale) but this is mostly about outcomes - the end result, not the method.

You Can't See The Fudge For The Nuts

That was actually one of the advertising slogans for this product "You Can't See The Fudge For The Nuts". Interestingly, that's sort of a product description too...

Why Nuttish?

nuttishthumb.pngI don't own the trademark, and I'm not even sure I'm really making the same product, so I don't want anyone getting the impression that I am trying to pass off my confection as the real thing - so this is 'Nuttish'.

nuttish13.jpg

I cheated a bit this time and bought in some of the components ready-made (the large block fudge came from the stall pictured above), but I might try again with a proper from-scratch attempt.

 

Comments

1. On Friday, July 6, 2012, 17:02 by Kavey Eats

So impressed! And love the wrapper!

2. On Friday, July 6, 2012, 17:50 by Joolish

I AM the expert (and lucky recipient of the first trial bars) They were jolly good, just lacking a slight saltiness to the fudge but a brilliant first run!

3. On Monday, July 9, 2012, 04:22 by Jediwhiz3

YUM!

4. On Friday, August 17, 2012, 20:37 by Shirls

OMG!!!!! Died gone to heaven!!!! I loved these!!!! Tried to tell people about them, but no-one remembered them!!!!! Thnx!!!!;

5. On Wednesday, August 22, 2012, 00:43 by Tash

Im sooooooooo impressed by this. I would buy one. Just to check of course!

6. On Monday, September 17, 2012, 14:40 by jackie69

Can't believe there's more of us out there thought I was the only one who could remember the nutty bar ...the fudge in the centre was a softer texture than just chewy fudge try realy finely crushed peanuts through it almost powder like then I think you

7. On Thursday, September 20, 2012, 21:21 by Clarebelle

OMG I really want these!!! I thought i was the only one who remembered the nutty bar as all my friends look at me blankly when I describe them. I remember my dad doing a maintenance job in a warehouse and they gave him a huge box of these as part pay

8. On Tuesday, October 23, 2012, 17:26 by Britta

In America, these are called 'Payday' bars.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PayDay_%28confection%29Though I doubt there as good as what you made at home... it might make your life a little easier!;

9. On Sunday, April 28, 2013, 22:02 by allison kelly.

the nutty was one of my faves.im now in my 40s and wish some big sweet company would bring these back.

10. On Saturday, May 25, 2013, 15:44 by Gary

I thought I was going nuts, I have described these to so many people my age and have received nothing but blank looks of them! I would love to see these on the shop shelves again.

11. On Tuesday, July 16, 2013, 15:09 by Simon

Utter genius - the Nutty was my favourite bar of all time and I was inconsolable when they were discontinued - well not quite but I was jolly cross!I'll be having a go at this I reckon. ;

12. On Thursday, November 14, 2013, 19:00 by elaine

Well done, I loved these, it takes me right back to my childhood. If you could just try to make a Rowntree Golden Cup (the small finger shaped one- they always tasted batter than the bigger bar) it would make my year and you could make a fortune.

13. On Thursday, February 20, 2014, 17:43 by Laurence

Where can I get my hands on one of these, I live local to portsmouth and need to have one of these. The nutty bar was quite frankly the nuts :) I have been craving nutty bars since they stopped making them, please please please tell me where to buy th

14. On Friday, February 28, 2014, 19:03 by Jacqui

I too, thought i was the only one who remembered these. I loved eating the nuts first and then the fudge. I wish they would bring them back. Well done for making them. I live in Portsmouth and would pay to try one of your Nutty bars :)

15. On Monday, April 7, 2014, 20:40 by Chris Jones

I too was grief stricken when the Nutty bar was made obsolete. I commend you upon your efforts of recreation. Years after the original was pulled from sale, I would recreate my own by slicing the top off a Mars Bar and then loading it with washed KP n

16. On Monday, July 28, 2014, 15:02 by Scott

As a child Nutty bars were one of my favorites. I lived in the US for a while and I can confirm that Paydays are the nearest that you can get to the original Nutty bars. Would love to try your Nuttish ones. To be honest I can't remember if Paydays a

17. On Wednesday, January 14, 2015, 16:48 by Glen

Mmmm...nutty bars.... to be honest the PAYDAY bar available in the states is good (in fact very good...) but used salted nuts in lieu of straightforward roasted peanuts. I generally buy a number of them when I go to the states on business. good thisg

18. On Thursday, July 16, 2015, 21:36 by russ

My comment is pretty much summed up by everyone else who misses these bars from heaven. Maybe we should send a link to this page to Nestle, or form a petition to get them to revive this.

19. On Monday, April 25, 2016, 19:49 by Andrea

If you started to make these and sell them on say, eBay, I would buy them! Please let me know!

20. On Tuesday, August 30, 2016, 22:02 by Goo

Loved this bar!! Really wish they'd bring it back. So many childhood memories. I may try this recipe - thank you!

21. On Monday, October 3, 2016, 12:45 by Kay

Well we have just been talking about Nutty Bars as I was saying it was my Nan's and my favourite and so many people in my office said it was their favourite. If I was Nestle I would look at launching this sweety again!

22. On Thursday, February 9, 2017, 19:59 by karen

NUTTY was my favorited chocolate bar as a child that's all I ate so pleasessssssssssss bring it back

23. On Thursday, May 11, 2017, 22:39 by Martin Pritchard

Nutty bars were probably the reason we never heard of nut allergies in the seventies; kids allergic to peanuts never lived more than a few months 'cos those nuts got EVERYWHERE.

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