"Because life is good, home cooking is best, and there is always something to be grateful for." - Christy Jordan

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Pecan Toffee.... It's easier than you think!

Ahhh.... toffee. Don't you love it? I do. I've always loved it. Almond toffee, pecan toffee, plain toffee... I'll take it any way I can get it. I was a Camp Fire Girl (NO... not a Girl Scout) and we sold candy instead of cookies. Camp Fire Girls were ready for anything the world threw at them. We had cute little red vests with patches sewn all over them. I still have mine and I earned so many patches that I ran out of room on the outside of my vest so there are some sewn on the inside. Just sayin'.

I remember when that time of year rolled around when it was time to sell, sell, sell some candy and there was a box of toffee or "almond roca" you could buy and each little toffee log was wrapped in pretty gold paper. They were the only candy option that was individually wrapped...they were special. They seemed so fancy. They weren't just your regular ole' chocolate covered cherries or peanut butter/chocolate combo....no, these were fancy and sophisticated. Or at least they made me feel fancy and sophisticated when I ate them. Those are definitely two words you could use to describe a 7-year-old Camp Fire Girl, right? Thanks for agreeing with me.

If you've never had toffee you are MISSING OUT. Honestly. It's so good. And homemade toffee? Can't beat it.

This recipe is from Southern Living (my Bible) and I've had my eye on it for a while. Last night I was itchin' to get in the kitchen and do something. The job hunt is totally stressing me out and when I get stressed I bake. It helps me clear my mind and let's me focus on something else. So I went back to this recipe and off I went to the kitchen!

Toffee is easier than you think. The only crucial thing you need is a candy thermometer. I bought one last year at school because I attempted another toffee recipe (it wasn't nearly as good as this one) . They're not expensive and it's too hard to try and eyeball when it's at the right temperature. But really, don't try making this recipe if you don't have one. It's important that the toffee is cooked to a certain temperature!

Okay, let's get down to it! 

Pecan Toffee
Recipe adapted from Southern Living 

1 1/2 c. chopped pecans, divided
1 c. sugar (2 sticks)
1 c. butter (Use REAL butter. Don't try using margarine. I've tried before, it's not good!)
1 tbsp. light corn syrup
1/4 c. water
1 1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips

Get out a medium saucepan and toss in your two sticks of butter, sugar, corn syrup and water. Turn it on to medium-high heat and let it all melt together. This will take a few minutes.

Here's the deal... I didn't see that I was supposed to add the water in with this until I read the recipe again a few minutes later. So here's the butter, sugar and corn syrup all together! Just make sure you add the water in with this.

While that's melting, chop up your pecans finely. Yeah I know, you can buy a bag of "chopped pecans" and that's what I usually buy because they're so easy, but for this recipe specifically I think that finely chopped pecans are better. I started with halves so I had to do a lot of chopping!

 I don't know why I chopped from right to left? That is not normal.

 Meanwhile, the mixture is melting away...

Are your pecans all chopped? Okay good. 

I decided to get cute with it! Benihana's does this with fried rice!

Now get out a small baking sheet and lightly grease it. Just dab a paper towel into a tub of margarine or shortening and wipe it down good.


Now sprinkle about 2/3 of your chopped pecans on the baking sheet. You don't have to do it all the way to the edges (I did) because the toffee mixture doesn't make enough to spread over the whole cookie sheet (I didn't know this). Just a little tip :) OH, also, put the baking sheet on top of two oven pads. The mixture is going to be SO hot and it might not be good for your counter.

The butter/sugar mixture should be bubbling now so stick in your candy thermometer! It should have a little clip on it so it will sit up and attach to your pot.

What we're looking for here is for the mixture to reach the "hard crack stage". This is labeled on the thermometer and it's at 300 degrees. This is easy. Seriously. You don't even have to stir this! Just let it bubble and cook away until that little red line reaches 300 degrees! Simple!

Not quite there. But do you see in the yellow where it says "hard crack"? We need it to get there!

See, the color is starting to change and get caramel-y. Almost there!
 .... and we're there! 

Now turn off the heat and pour the toffee mixture over the pecans on your baking sheet (which is laying on top of oven pads) and immediately spread it as far as it will go without leaving holes in between. Act fast because the mixture starts cooling immediately!

Now get out your chocolate chips and just sprinkle them over the whole mixture. The heat from the toffee mixture will melt the chocolate chips and all you have to do is spread those bad boys around.

Is there anything better than melted chocolate?

Do what you want with this... I chose to lick it. I considered it a wise choice.

 Now liberally sprinkle the remaining chopped pecans over the whoooooooole thing. 
Mmmm hmmm.
Put the baking sheet in the fridge and let it refrigerate for a few hours until everything is set up and firm. Or if you're impatient, throw it in the freezer for a little while. 
Once it's all set up, break it into pieces and scarf it all down. To break it up, I just got a knife and jabbed it under the toffee to lift up some pieces. Just break them into smaller, bite-size pieces. Once it's all broken, put it in a ziploc bag or airtight container and store it in the fridge.
You'll have a hard time not eating all of this. It's going to call to you from the fridge. The thought of it's chocolatey-nutty-caramely-crunchy yumminess is going to be on your brain constantly and before you know it you'll be making another batch.
Oh, this makes good gifts too! But that's only if you don't eat it all yourself. It happens. I'm not judging you.

1 comment:

  1. MMM!!! This looks delicious Lindsay!! I will be sure to try it and let you know of my success ;) I'm glad you wrote down the "it could be a good present" idea because I just may do that!