Classic Toffee, for Your Inner English Manor-Dweller

toffeeToffee is so vaguely English and old-school and I’ve been watching a lot of Game of Thrones recently so it just seemed…appropriate? And the husband loves anything that’s pretty much entirely made of butter and sugar so it was an easy choice.

I haven’t done much candy making in my day (and to be honest, I didn’t realize making toffee would be so candy-like) but thankfully I had a candy thermometer which is pretty necessary for this recipe. DO NOT confuse a candy thermometer with a meat thermometer – candy thermometers can withstand much higher temperatures, a lesson I learned the hard way after not one but two trips to the store mid-divinity recipe once. That was a sad, molten-sugar-burns-on-my-hands day.

toffee coolingBut I digress. Don’t be scared of this recipe! It’s actually really simple if you follow the directions and as I learned halfway through, trust your gut. Sometimes recipe experiments don’t follow the instructions to the letter as you’re going along but you know what to do! Smell like it’s burning? Turn the heat down! Look too thick? Add some water! Don’t worry so much. It’s just toffee.

CLASSIC CHOCOLATE TOFFEE BARK
butter!makes about 2 lbs.
original recipe courtesy of All Recipes

Ingredients:

2 cups butter (4 sticks)
2 cups white sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups dark chocolate chips
about 1 cup chopped or slivered almonds

1. Get out the heaviest sauce pan you have (this is important!), not too wide so the candy won’t cook too thinly. Add the butter, sugar, and salt and heat over medium heat, stirring often but not constantly. Allow the mixture to come to a boil (this will take a few minutes) and keep stirring every minute or two, but not constantly. Meanwhile, line a small cookie sheet with parchment paper and get out your almonds and chocolate as well as a spoon.

light yellow

2. Keep cooking the butter mixture and measuring with the candy thermometer. You want the toffee to reach between 300 and 305 degrees – this is “hard crack” stage – but don’t rely completely on your thermometer! If the sugar seems like it’s burning, turn down the heat a little. Eventually it will turn a dark amber color, sort of like honey. When it’s done that, you’re about at the right stage. The whole cooking process will take between 10 and 15 minutes so don’t rush it. Don’t panic if the mixture separates – just keep cooking and stir a little less and it should come back together.
***When I made my toffee, my thermometer registered Hard Crack WAY before the mixture got darker in color. I took out the thermometer and eyeballed it…after a couple more minutes it darkened and I knew it was done.

dark amber

3. Carefully (it’s INCREDIBLY HOT) pour the butter/sugar onto the sheet pan. Give it a minute to spread out in the pan and help with a spoon if necessary. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the toffee and let it sit for 3-4 minutes while the residual heat melts the chocolate. Using the back of a spoon, spread the melted chocolate over the toffee and sprinkle with the almonds. Allow to cool at room temp for a few minutes then in the refrigerator for at least 1.5 hours, preferably 3-4 before breaking the toffee apart with your hands.

spread it out

There are endless variations to this. Some of the reviews suggested cooking the toffee less (to about 285 degrees) so it’s more like a praline consistency, but I like my toffee crunchy. Use a larger sheet pan for a thinner toffee layer or smaller for thicker, etc. Use different kinds of chocolate. Go nuts. Seriously, add lots of nuts.

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