Friday, June 11, 2010

Homemade brown sugar toffee with chocolate & almonds

Happy Friday, everyone!  The end of the week can only mean one thing -- cupcake walk tonight!  Unfortunately, I made the mistake of checking the weather forecast for this weekend, and heavy rain is predicted for Saturday AND Sunday.  Bummer!  I was planning on planting my lovely fuchsia petunias and yellow marigolds to finally complete my garden project.  I suppose I could plant them tonight and forego a cupcake walk since book club is meeting on Sunday night for dessert.  Oh decisions decisions!  What's a girl to do?  She could just work on her garden and upon completion, enjoy some homemade toffee that she whipped up earlier this week that's been calling from her pantry... yes, that just might do the trick.

A coworker commented that I should venture into candy-making, so here goes!  I found this recipe searching for baking and cooking classes in Los Angeles for my upcoming July trip.  I've never made toffee before but am quite familiar with the taste and know of the basic process... and the idea of a brown sugar toffee really intrigued me.  It's easy as pie candy, quick, and a great treat to keep around your place for unexpected guests (or your own cravings).  The toffee part is snappy, as it should be, and flavored with the hint of molasses from the brown sugar, while the chocolate and almonds puts it right over the top into decadence.  Oh, and be careful, grasshoppers.  This stuff is HOT when first poured.

Brown Sugar Toffee
(adapted from a recipe on the Gourmandise Desserts website)
-makes a 12-inch square of 1/2-inch thick toffee

1 cup granulated sugar
3 Tablespoons water
1 stick (4 ounces, 1/2 cup) unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup almonds, roughly chopped, and sifted (so no dust remains)

Line a quarter cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.  In a medium saucepan, bring both sugars, water, butter, and salt to 295 degrees F, according to a candy thermometer, stirring a few times just to mix all ingredients.

Once 295F is reached, remove from saucepan from heat and immediately add the baking soda and vanilla at once, stirring until smooth.  (The mixture will sizzle a bit when the vanilla is added.)  Pour onto parchment-lined sheet and spread to desired thickness.  Work quickly since candy will harden fast!  Place sheet on potholders on a shelf in your refrigerator and allow to cool/set for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, 20 seconds at a time and stirring between until smooth.  Remove pan from fridge and spread chocolate evenly over top of toffee, covering completely.  Immediately sprinkle chopped almonds on top of chocolate and gently pat nuts into the chocolate.  Replace to fridge for another 20 minutes until cooled and set.  Remove and break into pieces.  Store between pieces of parchment or wax paper in a container for up to two weeks.  Enjoy!


Keeping with the candy theme, do you have anything you'd like to see me make?  I'm open to ideas!  Have a fantastically sweet weekend!

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