Last year around this time I came across a recipe for toffee on one of my favorite blogs. I don’t think I had ever thought of making it myself… or that it could be so easy! All you need is a candy thermometer, and the whole thing is done in 15-20 minutes. I’m including this recipe now because the toffee is great this time of year for hostess gifts, office potlucks, holiday parties and more. I had no idea that freshly made toffee would taste SO much better than the kind you get in a package, but trust me that this one will wow ‘em.
I make mine in my Le Creuset dutch oven, which holds the heat well and does a good job of preventing the liquid from scorching. Any large pot should work, though, and clean up isn’t nearly as bad as you might think. Just run it under hot water and it dissolves pretty easily.
I use good chocolate (Callebaut, usually) for the top, sprinking on the chips and letting them set for a few minutes until they are melted and will easily spread. You can use any kind here, but I have found that bittersweet is a nice compliment to the toffee itself.
Feel free to experiment with the kind of nut you like here as well. The original recipe called for peanuts, but I really like almonds and find that they are a great addition to the toffee. Trader Joe’s makes a dark chocolate and pistachio variation that would be fun to replicate if you are feeling adventurous. After it has cooled you can break it into any sized chunks you want. Be careful though: this stuff is highly addictive!
From Gourmet Magazine (via DanaTreat)
4 sticks (1lb) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
4 cups whole cocktail peanuts, plus 1 cup chopped (1 lb. 10 oz.)
8 oz. 70%-cacao bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Equipment: a 15 by 10 by 1 inch baking pan (also called a jelly roll pan), a candy thermometer, a metal offset spatula
Butter baking pan and put on a heatproof surface.
Bring butter, sugar, and salt to a boil in a 4-5 quart heavy pot over medium-high heat, whisking until smooth, then boil, stirring occasionally, until mixture is deep golden and registers 300 degrees on thermometer, 15-20 minutes.
Immediately stir in whole peanuts, then carefully pour hot toffee into center of baking pan. Spread with spatula, smoothing top, and let stand 1 minute, then immediately sprinkle chocolate on top. Let stand until chocolate is melted, 4-5 minutes, then spread over toffee with cleaned spatula. Sprinkle evenly with chopped peanuts, then freeze until chocolate is firm, about 30 minutes. Break into pieces.
Toffee keeps in an airtight container at room temperature for two weeks.