Because I’m nothing if not a glutton for punishment, I busted out the candy thermometer and got to boiling sugar for the second time this week. Thank God this one actually turned out okay.
That’s right, folks- as if I hadn’t had enough of boiling hot sugar and finicky, slippery candy thermometers, a sink full of soaking pots and sticky countertops, I forwent every cautionary tale I cautioned about during last Sunday’s Candy Cane post, and made toffee. With sugar. Boiled sugar and butter, that is
What’s the definition of insanity again? Doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results? Hmm.
At least my end result with the toffee turned out not only different from the first sugar experience, but totally delicious. It was my first time making toffee (I’m more of a brittle kind of girl) and I tell you, I started to get candy cane PTSD about halfway through making this toffee. The sugar started to get lumpy instead of smooth and the butter started to brown and I felt like breathing into a paper bag for a minute. But I just kept stirring, like a maniac, until what came out of that pan was nothing but smooth, creamy toffee onto which I promptly slathered a thick layer of chocolate. Because, you know, chocolate.
Once the toffee had cooled and I could finally get my sweaty paws on a piece, I felt like doing a dance to the Sugar Gods. That’ll show you, Sugar Gods! I can cook with sugar and not have a total meltdown! Ha!
Then I wrapped it all up in a pretty bow and shipped half the pan off to Texas to the lovely Danielle from Dining With Dani, all in the name of The Leftovers Club. I am dying to see what she sends me in return. It’s the best part of all this swapping going on!
English Toffee Recipe
- 2 tablespoons of butter at room temperature, plus 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
- 1 cup assorted nuts (I used sunflower seeds and almonds)
- 2 cups white granulated sugar
- 8 oz semi-sweet baking chocolate (I used baking chocolate bars, but you can use chocolate chips)
- Layer of a 5″x8″ baking sheet (ie a half pan sheet) with parchment paper and grease the parchment paper with the 2 tablespoons of butter. Scatter the nuts on the parchment paper evenly.
- Melt the butter over high heat in a heavy bottomed saucepan with high sides. Add the the sugar and start to stir. Stirring almost constantly, let the sugar boil and come to 305*F, using a candy thermometer. The sugar will start to lump and break apart, and the butter will start to brown, but just keep stirring- the butter and sugar will eventually come together.
- When the toffee has reached 305*F and is creamy brown with no lumps, pour it immediately on top of the nuts, spreading it out evenly. Let cool a bit.While the toffee is cooling, melt the chocolate, using either a double boiler or a microwave. Spread the chocolate evenly on top of the chocolate and let the whole thing sit and cool for at least 2-3 hours. You can make this go faster by freezing it, but it’ll have to come to room temperature to be cut evenly.
- Heat a sharp knife under running hot water. This will help the toffee cut cleanly (though it will break apart a bit; be forewarned). Slice into squares and store covered in a cool, dry place.