Bite into a piece of English Toffee and your mouth will encounter the rich, creamy chocolate layer, followed by the buttery burnt sugar snap of the center. The confection sits on a bed of pecans, which leaves a buttery, chocolatey, nutty goodness in your mouth.
Why not make a batch for Valentine’s Day? Such an elegant candy to share.Zoe’s all ready for Valentine’s Day, but of course, I can’t share the toffee with her because of the chocolate. But she would love it if I’d just throw her ball – over and over – all day – endlessly.
Toffee can be a bit controversial. In searching for a definition, I noted that it can be confused with caramels or butterscotch. Toffee is made from boiled syrup and it can be formed into a shape; it has more of a crunch when you eat it. English Toffee is usually covered in chocolate and contains nuts. Oh yeah, that’s why I made English Toffee.
This is another heirloom recipe I made as a kid. The recipe is straight out of my 1972 Betty Crocker Cookbook and is labeled merely “Toffee.” The same cookbook contains a recipe for Toffee Bars, which I made and wrote about earlier. http://www.nanaclareskitchen.com/2011/12/17/toffee-bars/
The bars have a definite cookie bottom; the candy does not.
I have a cousin who had a candy business for a number of years and toffee was one of her best sellers. For good reason. It is such a treat to the taste buds. Ingredients
1 ½ cup pecans, chopped
1 ½ cup brown sugar, packed
¾ cup butter (1 ½ sticks) Do not substitute margarine!
¾ cup dark or semi sweet chocolate chips
• Butter a 9” x 13” cake pan. Please do not use cooking spray or shortening; just use butter.
• Spread the pecans into the buttered pan evenly.
• Heat the sugar and butter to boiling in a medium sized pan, stirring constantly.
• Boil over a medium heat, stirring constantly, for 6-7 minutes. (Hard crack stage.) (See notes below.)
• Use a clean basting brush dipped in water to make sure there is no sugar clinging to the sides of the pan. (Clinging sugar will cause the toffee to become gritty.)
• Immediately spread mixture evenly over the nuts. It will set up very quickly, so be fast. You may want to use a buttered spoon to push the syrup into all the corners.
• While it’s still hot, pour the chocolate chips evenly over the toffee.
• Put a baking sheet over the pan to contain the heat. Leave about a minute.
• Remove the top baking sheet and spread the chocolate evenly.
• Cut into bars while toffee is still warm, if you can.
• Chill until firm.
• While you are boiling the syrup, if it smells as if it’s burning, turn down the heat and be sure to stir vigorously. I found six minutes were plenty long to boil.
• You can test to see if your syrup is at the hard crack stage (300 degrees on a candy thermometer). Simply drop a small amount of syrup into a glass filled with ice water. If the syrup separates into threads which are hard and brittle you’re done.
• These are very difficult to cut when they’re set up, so you’ll end up with all sorts of odd shapes. No one will complain once they get a taste of them.