Wednesday, February 13, 2013

English Toffee

Are you still wondering what to give your Valentine this year? You want something that will "wow" them, but that is also easy and quick on your part (after-all, the big day is tomorrow). Well, look no further. This English Toffee is just the ticket.
   I comes together in a matter of minutes and is only 4 ingredients. It's always a crowd pleaser.
My friend Ramona turned me on to this recipe, (that I have only changed a little) and it has earned a permanent place in my archive of recipes. I've made it 3 or 4 times and I think I've got it down pretty good. Now I'm sharing it with you. I hope you (and your Valentine) love it as much as I do. No special equipment required, and super simple!

The first question you ask yourself is, "Do I want nuts?" If the answer is yes, then you'll need to break out some almonds. I have since preferred to leave my almonds whole (with just a few chopped ones for decoration on top) but you can do as you wish. You'll need a total of 1 cup of almonds.

This is how fine I chopped them. (I love my mini food processor for jobs like this!)

Now that the nuts are out of the way, lets start on the cooking. 3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) of butter go into a medium to large sauce pot. (I like salted butter for this.)

Turn the heat on to medium high and add in some sugar.

While the butter and sugar are becoming friends, lay out most of the nuts onto a cookie sheet. 9x13 size

Also, get your chocolate chips measured and ready. I prefer milk chocolate on top of my toffee, but use what you think your Valentine would like best.

When the butter and sugar have come to a boil, turn the heat to medium and keep and eye on it! You don't want to walk away, or you'll burn your candy.

After a few minutes the mixture will start to brown, like this:

This is when things really get moving. Quickly stir the mixture (without splashing and burning yourself!) until it becomes the color of toffee. -Have something by the stove that is roughly the same color that you want your candy. (I used the picture of the chocolate chip cookie on my chocolate chip bag. Some people use a raw almond, but unless you get one with a golden brown skin then you might let your candy go too far. Trust me, I burned my first batch, and almost burned my second batch. Don't let your candy get too dark!) When you think it's almost there TURN OFF THE HEAT! It will continue to brown and cook even after the heat is off.

Add in some vanilla and pour the candy evenly over the nuts. Spread it out into an even layer. (Sorry I don't have pics of this. I wasn't sure how I could take pictures and not burn myself or the candy.) When the toffee is even, sprinkle on 1 cup of chocolate chips. Let them sit for a few seconds to melt and then spread them around evenly.

While the chocolate is still warm, sprinkle on your chopped nuts for decoration.

Let it cool completely before breaking and devouring (or packaging and giving away).

To break it up, you can lift up and edge and use your hands to break the toffee into small pieces. Or you can use the tip of a knife and press down on the toffee. This will cause long breaks. Just repeat in a new area until you get the pieces the size that you want. I read that if you score the toffee while it's still hot then it will break in exact squares, but it didn't work for me when I tried it.

Either way it's presented, in perfect squares or in jagged chunks, the toffee still looks and tastes amazing!
Now tell me you have something that is easier, tastier and more amazing that this!

Here's the recipe:
adapted from The Coterie Blog

English Toffee

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped almonds (optional - I like to use 3/4 cups whole and 1/4 cup chopped for top)
1 1/2 cups salted butter

2 tsp. vanilla

First, chop nuts (if desired) and spread 3/4 cup on the bottom of the cookie sheet. Have your chocolate chips measured and ready. Stir and cook the butter, sugar and salt in a sauce pan over medium-high heat until the edges just start to brown. Stir fast for the next few minutes, and watch it carefully. When it reaches the right color (a light caramel or toffee color - have a color guide!) remove from heat and add vanilla. The candy will continue to darken as long as it's in the hot pan. Carefully pour the hot candy over the chopped nuts and spread out as best you can with a spatula. Next, sprinkle the chocolate chips on, and let them sit for a few seconds to melt. Spread chocolate in an even layer. Sprinkle the remaining nuts onto melted chocolate. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes. When completely cool, break into desired pieces.

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