Tuesday, November 24, 2009

English Toffee Take #1

I plan on trying another toffee recipe this week so stay tuned for which one we like best!

I've been invited to a cookie exchange this year and have decided to give making toffee a try this holiday season. There are so many different recipes out there and honestly I was intimidated. I've never made any sort of candy before, except peanut brittle with my mom when I was little and that didn't turn out very well! I read a lot of recipes & tips online before settling on a recipe. The recipe I chose is from Cooking for Engineers and is very simple with easy directions and great comments and tips from other readers.

This really was much easier than what I was expecting. The key is to have all of your ingredients out and ready to go before you start cooking.

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup chopped nut of your choice - almonds, walnuts or pecans
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter (I used salted butter and left out the 1/8 tsp salt)


The toffee will start to harden after a few minutes of being off the heat so you'll need to have all of your ingredients measured and ready before you start cooking. Use a cookie sheet lined with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray and have it close to where your stove is.

Select a small saucepan. Make sure the saucepan is large enough to contain about double the volume of the butter and sugar. As the mixture cooks, it will bubble and increase in volume - using too small of a pan may result in overflows.

Melt the butter in the saucepan with the sugar and salt plus a 2 tsp water over low heat. (Low heat is important to prevent separation later. Just be patient and let it melt together.) The extra water will make it easier for the sugar to heat evenly and melt together.

Once the butter has melted and blended with the sugar turn the heat up to medium. Stir the mixture constantly. The butter and sugar will bubble and foam as the water boils off. This can take several minutes because butter contains a decent amount of water. The volume of the mixture will increase dramatically at this point.

Once the water has boiled off, the mixture will collapse and thicken. The temperature will also start to rise again. The goal is to remove the pan from the heat once the mixture passes 300°F and before it reaches 320°F. Use an instant read thermometer or candy thermometer to keep track of the temperature as you heat and stir because the temperature can change pretty rapidly once the water boils off.

When the mixture reaches 300°F, remove it from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Pour the mixture onto your prepared baking sheet. Right after pouring, use a spatula (again silicone works best for working with toffee) to spread the toffee into a rough rectangular shape. Immediately sprinkle the surface with chocolate chips.

Wait a minute or so until the chocolate starts to melt a little then use your spatula to spread the chocolate. If the chocolate is still mostly solid, wait another minute before attempting to spread again.

Sprinkle the chocolate surface with the chopped nuts you've chosen. Lightly press down on the pieces that are barely touching the surface of the chocolate.

Let the toffee cool for about twenty minutes. Slip the pan into the refrigerator to cool down and set for at least thirty minutes. Remove from the refrigerator and peel the toffee from the foil. Break the toffee into chunks of the desired size and place into an airtight container. Keep the toffee stored in the refrigerator so the chocolate doesn't start to melt if the room gets too warm.

Both Jordan an I thought this was very good toffee. I have another recipe I'm going to try and I want to play with the cooking temperatures a bit. I'll keep you posted as to how things turn out!


Deb said...

I can hardly wait for 'take two', your perfected toffee!! Then, I can make it too!

Stefanie said...

The other recipe I am going to try is called almond buttercrunch so it's a little different. Give this one a try - you won't be disappointed!