Wednesday, December 12, 2007

English Toffee

I tried a new recipe for toffee the other day. I think. The problem came when I was looking for a toffee recipe and I found this one in my Mastercook program in my candy cookbook. I thought I'd only put tried and trues in there- yet here was a recipe that I was sure I'd never made before. It sounded simple enough though, and I really wanted a standard English toffee to accompany my almond toffee.

What was crazy to me about this recipe was it's method. The ingredients are first combined and cooked over high heat- stirring the whole while. Then the heat is reduced to low, a candy thermometer added, and no stirring is allowed. None. I found that really difficult to adhere to! And even worse was the fact that it cooked on low. Do you have any idea how long the toffee took to get up to temperature!? I would say about 45 minutes. It was sooooo tempting to turn up the heat, but I didn't. After a long, long while, the temperature started creeping up, and finally, the moment came where I could pour out the toffee. The only error I think I made is that I scraped the bottom of the pan. I wanted all that toffee-goodness, but the stuff on the bottom of the pan had started to darken just a bit. Next time I will pour it out and leave the leavings behind.

And there will be a next time. Without the crazy mad-stirring and all that, I was worried this toffee wasn't going to turn out, but it's delightful. It's a very delicious toffee. It snaps just like toffee should, and it has a wonderful browned butter-caramel flavor. It's fantastic! I had halved the recipe and poured it into a 9 x 13 pan, and that worked very well. The very center is a little too thick though, so next time I will use a larger sheet pan to pour it on and try and get it a little thinner. Overall, I'm thrilled with it. I'm not entirely sure where the recipe came from, but I sure am loving it! This English Toffee is nothing short of spectacular- follow the directions and you won't be sorry. And if you're still looking for a new cookie or two to add to your cookie trays these years, you'll also want to check out my Kids Cuisine post today. Zander and I made a cherry-walnut snowball that I think is really pretty and tasty too!

English Toffee
4 cups pecans -- finely chopped
1 pound butter
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 pound milk chocolate

Butter a 12x18 baking sheet; cover with pecans and set aside. In a heavy 3 qt saucepan, combine butter, water, corn syrup, and sugar. Place over high heat and stir with a wooden spoon until mixture comes to a boil. Continue stirring until mixture begins to thicken. Reduce heat to low; remove wooden spoon.

Clip on candy thermometer. Cook syrup to 290F or soft crack stage. Remove from heat immediately and pour over pecans. Cool at room temperature for 1 hour.

Melt chocolate. Spread over the top of the toffee. Sprinkle warm chocolate with nuts if desired- pressing lightly so they adhere.

Allow to stand at room temperature for 24 hours. Break into irregular pieces and store in an airtight container. Makes 4-5 pounds- or around 150 pieces.


JEP said...

Surely you recall my toffee failure history...but this is so tempting :)

Erika W. said...

As long as you can be patient, this one should reward you well. :-)