Sunday, January 8, 2012

8/366: Toffee Tutorial

Candy making.  It can go either way.

My family never ate peanut brittle after the time my mom was making it and the brittle starting spewing all over the kitchen.  Cupboards, curtains, floor, my mother.  I don't recall it happening, but remember the stories about it.  To this day, I've never had a piece of peanut brittle.  Perhaps that will be the next candy attempt.

So this is my Toffee.  The recipe, all worn and coffee stained, is simple.
2 cups butter (yup, four sticks)
2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp salt

Combine those ingredients in a heavy pan and heat on medium heat.  Once the butter melts, stop stirring.  I know, doesn't make sense...that sugar will burn! You will stir occasionally, but the less you stir, the faster the toffee turns dark. 

The following pictures show how the color changes in the butter/sugar mixture.  Each photo was taken 3 to 5 minutes after the previous:

The recipe calls for the mixture to reach 285 degrees.  That is the third photo.  Either my candy thermometer was wrong, or I like dark toffee.  Probably both.  This time, I didn't even use the thermometer.  The trick soon as you think it's ready, leave it on for another five minutes.  And when you think that is ready, give it another couple minutes.  I have taken it off many times too early and the toffee doesn't have the snap, it's more of a crumble.  

While the toffee is cooking and you are not stirring (stay away from that spoon!), line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil.  I really like using parchment paper, gives the toffee a very smooth bottom, and who doesn't like a smooth bottom???

You can also chop your nuts.

Any nuts will do.  These are the Cocoa Roasted Almonds...good stuff.  Be careful, the almond skins will stick to your teeth, so there is no sneaking a little piece before you give it to your cousin for Christmas because her husband will point out 'there is something in your teeth, right in the middle" (true story, grateful for the point out, Chris).
Okay, if you think it's done, and you smell a touch of burning smell, it is probably ready.  The sugar will look like lava erupting in little puddles with dark rings around them.

Now pour onto your cookie sheet (make sure it has sides!) and let it set for a bit.  Here is the humdinger...add two cups of chocolate chips.  BUT wait...I put the chips on too fast and they sunk!  See this photo, center piece has the two divots from the chips.
You want the chips to melt from the heat of the toffee, but not be swallowed by the softness of the toffee.  Sing your alphabet, it should be ready for the chips.  Sprinkle the chips best you can over all the toffee and wait.  Yes, wait.  I know, it's hard.  I hate waiting.  The chips will begin to glisten. Ahhh lovely sight.  Then take your spreader knife and smooth out those chips.  Lick your fingers, then sprinkle the chopped almonds (any nut would do) on top of the chocolate and take your spreader or a plastic baggie over your hand to lightly press the nuts into the chocolate.

Stick in the refrigerator till all parts are hard.  The chocolate will take the longest to harden.
Once this is nice and hard, smack it on the counter.  Or gently break it up and put it in a cute dish.  Go ahead, after all that waiting you surely deserve a piece. 

But don't forget to check your teeth. 


Jill said...

The toffee is so delicious, Carrie! Thank you! I'll remember to check my teeth ;)

Are Almonds Good for You? said...

perfect for dessert! look yummy! har har!