Friday, December 10, 2010

English Toffee

Tis the season for toffee! I have always been a big toffee fan, so when I married my husband and discovered that his family makes their own, I was very happy! Jeremy and I made it for the first time together 2 years ago and by now, after having messed it up almost as many times as I've gotten it right, I've finally figured out how to do it just right. :) Remember patience is key with any candy-making, so just give it time. This is a great thing to add to a goodie plate to take to the neighbors or to wrap up in cute little bags with a ribbon (which is what we plan to do tonight). Of course, I always have a hard time getting it to last that long. So don't be afraid to try it! It's sooo worth it.

English Toffee

1 c. butter (2 sticks)
1 c. white sugar
1 T. water

chocolate chips, or chocolate candy bars
chopped almonds

Line a cookie sheet with foil or parchment paper. Set aside. Put butter, sugar and water in a saucepan. Stir over LOW heat until butter is completely melted and sugar is completely dissolved. Slowly turn the heat up to medium-low/medium. Continue stirring as it slowly comes to a boil (if it's not coming to a boil at medium-low, slowly turn it up to medium).

Insert a candy thermometer into the pan (clip it onto the side if you have a cool clippy thing). Keep stirring as it boils and thickens until it reaches about 300 degrees (the Hard Crack stage). Shortly before this it will change color from off-white to about the color of peanut butter. The texture will also start to change, so don't be alarmed.

When it reaches the right temperature/stage, quickly pour onto prepared cookie sheet and spread out to desired thickness with a spatula. I just spread mine into a large oval. It cools quickly, so move fast! After about 10 seconds, sprinkle chocolate chips or chocolate bars over the toffee. Wait a minute or two for them to start to melt, and then spread all over the toffee with a knife or spatula. Sprinkle chopped almonds all over. Let cool completely and then break into shards.

Extra tips: If the butter separates at the end, it means you brought it up to a boil too fast (trust me, I know from experience). Make sure the butter is all the way melted and the sugar is dissolved before you turn up the heat. Also, I know some people like chocolate and nuts on both sides of the toffee. Just wait until it cools and then flip it over, spread some already-warmed chocolate over the backside and sprinkle with additional nuts. You can also add chopped almonds to the toffee right before spreading it out on the cookie sheet. This would be more like almond roca. I've never tried it, but it sounds good!


Rob and Amy Weaver Clan said...

That looks so yummy. Maybe I will get ambitious enough to try it this year. Does it matter if the buter is unsalted or salted?

Mark and Elaina said...

I love that you gave a temperature and specific directions! I was sure I would be able to make this right the first time. Alas, I found out after melting the butter that my thermometer was broken, making me guess the temperature. I guessed wrong :( I just sent Mark out to buy a new one! Here's to my next try!

Sarah said...

Amy - I'm not sure. Last year we used unsalted and it separated so I thought that was the problem, but this year, Jeremy made a batch with salted that did the same thing and we realized it was because he cooked it too fast. I'll have to try another batch with unsalted to see.

Elaina- I hope it turned out the next time! Yeah, once you make it and know what it's supposed to look like, you can do it without the thermometer, but that's way too hard the first time!