Monday, December 17, 2007

English Toffee

I also made one of our family favorites, English Toffee. If any of you have ever tried to make toffee before, you know that it is VERY easy to burn. You have to get it to just the right tempurature and color. My recipe is actually a little bit different from the one that my mom uses. When she started making toffee forever ago, she used a recipe that didn't call for Karo syrup, but said she was burning it a lot. But then she found a recipe with KS, and it didn't burn anymore. Well, the first batch I made, I used a Ghirardelli recipe that I found, and it didn't call for KS and it turned out perfect. But I wanted the toffee a little thicker, so I called my mom to see how much butter and sugar she used per batch, and she told me she added KS as well. Since she couldn't really tell me the purpose of the KS, I decided that since what I was doing was working, why change it?! I also like the idea of having one less ingredient that would add even more sugar than is already called for. So I will give you both recipes, and if one doesn't work for you, try the other one. But I have to say, toffee is so scrumptious, and it really is so fast and easy. It's perfect to make for holiday treats as it is pretty inexpensive, and it's so easy to make a ton of batches. So this will definitely be a holiday staple for me, for years to come! Really quickly, another weird thing about the 2 different recipes is that my mom only cooks her to 290 degrees, but I go to about 300-302 degrees, and it still doesn't burn. I don't know how that works, but in all the recipes I have seen, and even on the candy thermometer, it says the hard crack stage is between 302 and 305 degrees F. On my second batch, I even looked at it at about 290, and it clearly wasn't ready to come off yet. So again, maybe that's the KS thing, and again, do whatever works best for you! You may have to experiment a little to find out what that is.

Ghirardelli English Toffee
(this is the recipe I like, I just double it for one batch for thicker toffee)
3/4 C pecans or almonds FINELY chopped
1 C butter (NOT margarine)
1 C sugar
2 Tbs water
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips (i love semi-sweet) or 8oz baking chocolate

preheat oven to 350 degrees. toast chopped nuts 6-8 minutes or until fragrant

line cookie sheet with foil
in a heavy sauce pan, cook butter until just melted, then add sugar, water and salt. Clip candy thermometer to side of pan and stir occasionally until temp reads 302 degrees F. It will be a dark golden brown. Immediately remove from heat, stir in vanilla. Pour mixture onto foil, spread out then let sit at room temp until hard, about 45 min.

Melt chocolate according to instructions, then spread over toffee.

Sprinkle nuts on top, then let set at room temp for about 1 hour until chocolate is set.

Break into pieces. Store covered at room temp for up to one month. (I like to store it in the fridge)

*These pictures were taken during my first batch, so you can see that it is spread thin. My second batch was able to be spread over more of the pan and was thicker.
* Another tip, be sure to watch the temp very closely, especially when it is nearing the desired temp, as it goes very fast near the end. On my second batch, I actually added the vanilla around 290 degrees, and the temp didn't rise as fast, I don't know if the vanilla had anything to do with it, but my second batch was better, I think. I am making a third batch today, so we will see how that one turns out.

Mom's English Toffee Recipe
1 lb real butter
2 C sugar
3/8 water
2 Tbs light corn/karo syrup
1 tsp vanilla
about 3/4 C crushed almonds
3/4 C choco chips (semi-sweet)

Follow instructions above. Add KS when add sugar and water. My mom cooks hers to about 290 degrees.

On either of these recipes, you can also add nuts to the toffee before it hardens, as well as on top of the chocolate.

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