Thursday, January 25, 2007

Butter Toffee

Note: I only made a ¼ batch of this to top the cheesecake.

2 cups butter
2 cups sugar
12 oz. semisweet chocolate (chips are fine)
1 cup finely chopped toasted nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts, and/or cashews) if desired

Grease a 15x10x1 inch pan  (for a quarter batch, use a 8 x 8 pan); set aside.

In a 3-4 quart saucepan (if making smaller batch, use a smaller pan), melt butter and sugar over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Avoid splashing sides of pan. Carefully clip a candy thermometer to pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring only if mixture begins to scorch, until thermometer registers 290 degrees, soft-crack stage (about 15 minutes), brushing down the sides with a pastry brush dipped in water if needed.   Mixture should boil at a moderate, steady rate over entire surface. Remove from heat; remove thermometer. *** If you want to make English toffee, let the mixture reach 300 degrees (hard-crack stage) before removing from heat.***
Pour mixture into prepared pan; spread evenly. Cool about 5 minutes or until it begins to set and then score the surface. Sprinkle with chocolate pieces; let stand 2 minutes. Spread chocolate over candy. Sprinkle with nuts, if desired, and press into chocolate. Cool several hours or until set.
Break or cut into pieces and store in a tightly covered container.

*When in doubt, always use a lower heat rather than a higher while making candy. If the temperature is rising steadily (even more slowly than you’d like, it will reach the desired temp.). Burnt toffee is not tasty and the pans are a pain to clean (how do I know this, you wonder?).
*Be sure that the thermometer is not touching the pan, or the reading will be inaccurate.
*Test your candy thermometer first by placing it in a pan of boiling water for several minutes. It should read 212 degrees. If it rises above or does not reach 212 degrees, add or subtract the difference (e.g. if your candy thermometer reads 206 degrees in boiling water instead of 212 degrees, then only cook your toffee to 284 degrees).
*If you don’t use a candy thermometer, you can use the cold-water test for candy, though it’s not as easy. When the toffee mixture becomes golden and it’s been close to 15 minutes, drop a small amount of the hot candy mixture into a bowl of cold water. When it cools and is removed from the water, the candy will separate into strands that are hard but not brittle. To test for the hard-crack stage for English toffee, do the same thing. When the candy has reached the hard-crack stage, it will separate into hard, brittle threads when removed from the water.


Rebecca said...

Oh dear me! You are going to be the end of me, for sure!

I owe YOU the honor of my addiction to the richest, creamiest and no doubt, most fattening of all desserts.

And this one looks to beat all.

abigail said...

I gladly accept the honor you bestow.
Eat up!