Sunday, December 16, 2007

Toffee (Marilyn's English Toffee)

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cool Time: 6-8 hours

Grade: A

Make Again: Yes

Recipe Source: Cook's Illustrated Bulletin Board

I'm going to copy the recipe to here because I don't trust the CI bulletin board, and I don't want to lose this recipe. It is good!

My thermometer went crazy and stopped working so I had to eyeball it which was very scary, since I've never made candy before, let alone this recipe. Well, it worked OK, although I think I maybe should have let it get darker. I skipped the nuts on top but did put almonds in the middle.

I made a half recipe (which was good, since I ate the entire thing myself over less than a week). So, I'm not sure if my thicknesses were correct. But it all turned out OK.

English Toffee

1 lb unsalted butter
½ tea. table salt
2 cups granulated sugar
3 tbsp. water
1 cup slivered almonds (do not use sliced almonds)
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (chips are fine)
1½ -2 cups lightly toasted pecans (or walnuts), finely chopped

Melt ¾ of chocolate over hot water or in a microwave oven at half power for 2-3 minutes. When melted, stir in remaining chocolate and set aside. Line a large jelly roll or half-sheet pan with heavy-duty foil and butter the foil.

Melt the butter with the salt in a heavy 3 quart saucepan over medium heat. Slowly add the sugar, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Add the water about halfway through this process.

After all the sugar is added, begin testing the mixture to see if the sugar is dissolved. Place a drop of mixture on wax paper; allow it to cool and rub it between your fingers to make sure it doesn’t feel grainy. If it does, continue to cook and test again. The mixture will probably be boiling at this point.

When sugar is dissolved, add the almonds, and increase the heat to medium high. Cook to the hard-crack stage, or about 310-320 degrees on a candy thermometer, stirring often to keep the candy from burning on the bottom. When it’s done, it should be a medium-dark amber color and have a caramel aroma. The almonds should have a toasted color but they should not burn. This is the tricky part, as there’s a thin line between perfect and overdone, and to some extent it’s a matter of taste.

Remove from heat and pour into the prepared pan, spreading as evenly as possible with an offset spatula. Be careful, this stuff is hot! Set the pan on a cooling rack. After 2-3 minutes, when toffee is just set, pour reserved chocolate on top and spread evenly. Sprinkle with chopped nuts, and press them in gently with a spatula or bottom of a glass to anchor them in the chocolate.

Allow the toffee to harden at least 6-8 hours—overnight is better. Break into pieces using a sharp pointed knife with a rigid blade, or you can use your hands. Store in an airtight container in a cool place. Makes about 3 pounds.


Anonymous said...

Delicious Lisa. But much of my chocolate layer separated from the toffee layer when I broke it up. Any thoughts? I DID let the toffee go up to 310 degrees, and I did let it cool a little before spreading the chocolate on.

Lisa said...

Whoops, I somehow missed this comment, in all of the spam that I get.

I'm not sure. I haven't had that problem before. Maybe cooling too much?