Wednesday, December 8, 2010

day 8 - english toffee

Almond Roca has to be my all-time favorite holiday treat.  In the cute pink tin, with the gold foil wrapper... yummy!  Honestly, I could eat the entire tin of almond roca in an evening.  I'd have an enormous belly ache by the end of the night, but they are soooo gooood!
So today's treat, is along those lines, and a great thing to give away in cute little bags, English Toffee.  I got this recipe from the wrapper of a Ghiradelli Chocolate bar.

Start off with toasting some pecans in the oven.  You'll want to chop them finely before putting them on a baking sheet.  Once you can start smelling the nuts, they are good and toasty, and you can take them out of the oven.  Put those to the side and get ready to make some candy.

Before you start on the candy, it is imperative to prep the pan you'll be letting the toffee sit in.  I used a rimmed baking sheet and put a layer of foil inside for easy clean up. You can always use a Silpat liner as well.
In a heavy bottom saucepan, you'll want to melt butter, sugar and a dash of water.  Clip on your candy thermometer, and watch the magic happen.  At the beginning, this seems like a slow process, and you'll be tempted to walk away, but please don't!  Ignore the phone call, don't answer the door, just cook your sugar.  If you mess this step up, you'll have to start over with a new batch, and who wants to waste ingredients, especially butter!  So, pay close attention and cook your butter/sugar mixture until it reaches the Hard Crack stage.  IMMEDIATELY remove it from the heat, and add some vanilla, once that is stirred in, pour the entire mixture onto your prepared pan, and working quickly, spread out the candy as thinly as possible.  Set the pan aside, and let the sugar cool and harden.
Once this is hardened completely, it is time to melt your chocolate.  There are several ways to melt chocolate, I used the microwave method today. Whichever you choose, be sure not to burn the chocolate, that would be one more ingredient to toss out and start over with.  Once the chocolate is completely melted, pour this over your candy, and spread to evenly cover the surface.  Sprinkle with the chopped nuts and gently press down so they adhere to the chocolate.  Now.... wait... and wait.... and wait.  If you have small children, it is best to distract them (I took one to preschool and the other took a nap), otherwise you'll have cute little fingerprints in your toffee! 

Once the chocolate has hardened and set (this took at least an hour) you can gently break the toffee into pieces for packaging or eating!  Here is my pile of toffee, ready to package and give away to my gal pals tonight at Book Club.

Here is the cute little packages with all the snowflakes!

And here are the crumbs left for my family... maybe I need to make another batch?  Maybe the next one will have candy canes... yummy!

If you are afraid of candy, don't be!  With a good quality candy thermometer, it is pretty simple to make and very impressive to give.

Ghiradelli English Toffee
Preheat oven to 350*. Toast 3/4 cup chopped pecans for 6-8 minutes or until fragrant.  Form a 10" square with aluminum foil with 1" high sides, place on a baking sheet and set aside.  In a heavy bottom saucepan, cook 1 cup butter, 1 cup sugar & 2 Tbsp water and 1/8 tsp salt over medium heat until it registers 305* (hard crack stage) on a candy thermometer.  Remove from heat and stir in 1 tsp vanilla extract. Pour mixture into the shell. Cool at room temperature for 45 minutes or until hard.  Melt 8 oz chocolate and spread on cooled toffee.  Sprinkle with toasted pecans, and gently press into chocolate.  Let sit at room temperature for one hour or until chocolate is set.  Break into pieces. Store covered at room temperature for up to one month.

1 comment:

  1. Proud of you for keeping this challenge up!!! Love the recipes and can't wait for the day I have time to get to some of them!