Wednesday, February 10, 2010

English Toffee Bliss

The snow just keeps coming down! Another 20 inches in the last 24 hours - and its not done yet. Maryland usually doesn't have February vacation - but we sure got it this year! We're off until Tuesday - and as you've heard before that means one thing to me - baking. But this time around I just wasn't feeling the usual cookies - instead I wanted something just as sweet and rich and buttery - but with more crunch. English toffee fits the bill and it's the easiest candy you'll ever make. It's probably my favorite as well. Almond extract ups the nutty flavor and espresso powder brings out the chocolateyness. Enjoy!

English Butter Toffee

21 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (use the good stuff like ghirardelli)
1 tsp instant espresso powder
1 cup almonds, chopped and toasted

Prepare a sheet pan by buttering it or lining it with a Silpat or other silicone liner.

In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, bring the butter, sugar, salt, water and extracts to a boil over medium high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. (This takes about 10 minutes). Turn the heat down to medium, stop stirring and let cook until the temperature of the mixture is between 300-310 F on a candy thermometer (hard crack stage).

Remove from the heat and pour out onto the prepared sheet pan. Wait until bubbles and toffee seems to smooth out, then spread chocolate over the toffee slab and sprinkle with espresso powder. Wait about a minute for the chocolate to melt over the hot toffee, then use a spatula to spread it evenly over the toffee. Sprinkle with nuts and press down lightly.

Cool to room temperature then transfer to the fridge for 20 minutes so the chocolate hardens. Once cool, break into pieces and store in an air-tight container at room temperature.

A few notes:
Get a candy/deep fry thermometer! It's almost impossible to make candy or fry things without one.
The liquid butter/sugar mixture is molten and should be treated like lava - use extreme care!
Make sure the sheet pan is on a heat proof surface when you pour on the toffee.
Be careful when pressing down on the nuts - don't press down enough that you'd accidentally touch the toffee and burn yourself.
Immediately fill the pot with water and let it soak after you pour out the toffee or you'll be scrubbing off a candy coating.
Give away about 1/2 this recipe immediately or be prepared to eat the whole batch - it's addictive!

Beware of those who want to steal your toffee - apparently humans aren't the only ones who love this stuff!


Shaw Girl said...

LOVE the picture of the cat sniffing around the toffee! I think I may be making this toffee tomorrow (should OPM decide to close again).

Sophie said...

Looks like perfect comfort food for a snowy day :).

pugsx4 said...

Nice to see you're posting again! Missed you, another Balto. Co. gal

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