Homemade Toffee, as the year winds down

Now that Christmas is over, I feel kind of like the year 2013; older, tired and at peace. At least around here. The hustle and anticipation of Christmas is over and we have a few days to relax before New Years day, which we play pretty quiet, and older sons birthday, just a few days after that. But for now, this brief interlude, I am relaxed. I am one with the universe. Or at least our solar system. Our visiting Wendy-bird, the corgi is still here while we dog-sit for a few more days. I hope this time of year finds you at peace with a moment to breath deep and contemplate the good things in life.

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Contemplating the good things in life; chasing chickens, Wendy-approved doggie treats, long walks, visiting Aunt Linda and Uncle Dave…

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There is one deep dark secret…(Shhhh!) Someone, who will remain nameless, downloaded the newest season of Downton Abby from when he/she was in the EU. Since he/she doesn’t have a TV, he/she, who will remain nameless, had to download it to watch it. So, here in the old US of A, we have to wait until Jan.5th to begin seeing what happens to Mary after the demise of Matthew and if Daisy is ever-ever going to get Alfred attention. What about Edith? Will Thomas ever get his comeuppance for being a lying thieving snake?

Well, most of us will have to wait until Jan. 5th. Unless you watch it on someones computer who might be visiting you from the EU. Of course this is all hypothetical anyway. But I am suddenly very, very sleepy and think I will go…take a nap, yes, that’s it, take a nap. So please do not disturb me for the next hour or two. And yes, I usually take popcorn in with me for my naps.

But no um, naps before I share with you a recipe for homemade Toffee.

This came to me in a roundabout way a few years ago. A good friend of the family handed me a box with all the ingredients and the recipe to make the toffee. It was his favorite and it seems his mother had sent it down for him to make his own. But being such a busy guy…I agreed to make it. I have always wanted to try making toffee and here was a tried and try recipe. Now I share it with all.

First, a few pictures:

You will need some kind of candy thermometer.
You will need some kind of candy thermometer.
Melting the butter, dissolving the sugar.
Melting the butter, dissolving the sugar.
It starts heating up and bubbling.
It starts heating up and bubbling.
before you know it, it is caramelizing.
before you know it, it is caramelizing. Watch the temperature closely.
300 degrees, hard crack stage
300 degrees, hard crack stage. (camera focus’ on chicken instead!)
See how my 2 different batches came out different in shade? Just in a few blinks of an eye, it can go from light to dark to burnt. Luckily I caught it on time.
See how my 2 different batches came out different in shade? Just in a few blinks of an eye, it can go from light to dark to burnt. Luckily I caught it on time.

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English Toffee

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 Tbsp.light corn syrup
  • 3 Tbsp.  water
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped blanched, toasted almonds (or other nuts)
  • 4-4 1/2 oz bars milk chocolate (2 melted bars covers one side of toffee).
  • 1 cup finely chopped blanched, toasted almonds (Or other nuts)

Cooking Directions

  1. Prepare pan by lining a 9×13 pan with parchment or foil with edges hanging over sides. This will help you lift it out of the pan in one piece.
  2. You will need a large saucepan and a candy thermometer.
  3. Melt the butter in the saucepan. Add the sugar, corn syrup and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently to hard crack stage-300 degrees. Do not walk away during this time. NO checking your email or long texting! It will change color and get thicker. Do not let it get over 300 degrees or it might burn and have an off taste.
  4. Quickly stir in coarsely chopped nuts.
  5. Pour this and spread in your prepared pan.
  6. Cool thoroughly and lift it out of the pan onto a cutting board.
  7. Melt half the chocolate either in a double boiler or the microwave until smooth. Spread over the top of the toffee and sprinkle with finely chopped nuts.
  8. Let it harden, perhaps by chilling. Then flip it over and, after melting the rest of the chocolate, spread it over the other side, then sprinkle with nuts.
  9. Sometimes I just cover one side with chocolate. Like this year when I made 2 batches and only had enough chocolate to cover one side of each. I let my toffee sit overnight to harden. (Because it has been hot here lately, like summer weather.)
  10. Once cool, break into pieces. Take a nibble. Perhaps wrap in tissue as gifts. Or have another nibble. Tell yourself you made it as a Christmas gift. Then have another piece.
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