12.17.2008

Hodge Podge

I LOVE english toffee. Love, Love, love it. Especially the stuff by V chocolates. But, because of the price I have only bought it once, I was totally addicted and I crave it all year long. Last night I made this recipe and it is sooo good (just as good as V's) and so easy. I suggest using a candy thermometer and cooking until "hard crack" instead of using her method of dropping drips of the toffee into ice water (I know this is the original method, but I have never been able to get it right).

Here is the recipe just in case you don't want to link over (it looks long, but if you use the thermometer you can skip half the instructions):

Ingredients:
1 cup of butter
½-cup brown sugar
½ cup of white sugar
1/2 cup of your favorite nuts
1/2 package of chocolate chips
Prep: On the bottom of a 9x13-glass pan, spread a light coat of butter and ¼ cup
your favorite nuts. Also, have a small bowl of ice water ready to test your toffee.

The toffee recipe needs constant attention and stirring for about 10 minutes. In a
heavy saucepan, add butter and sugars and melt on high heat. Once the butter and
sugars have melted and started to boil, the toffee will go through 4 stages.

Stage 1: butter and sugars are melted, but not mixed. Keep stirring.
Stage 2: Butter and sugars are mixed and start to cook. Keep stirring.
Stage 3: Butter and sugars are bubbling. Keep stirring.
Stage 4: Butter and sugars change color, slightly (from light tan to dark tan) toffee
looks almost like taffy, it becomes smooth not bubbly. Keep stirring and start to
test for hard crack.

Hard Crack: Hard crack is when you take a small piece of toffee and when it hits
ice-cold water, it sizzles. This is when the toffee is done!

Pour toffee evenly into buttered 9x13 pan, do not spread or stir, just pour
directly from saucepan. Sprinkle with your favorite chocolate chips on top,
the hot toffee will melt the chips in a few minutes. With a spatula, spread the
melted chips over the toffee and sprinkle with your favorite nuts.

Allow toffee to completely cool, break apart with a knife and enjoy!
Christmas is just not Christmas without a gingerbread house to display in your house. My parents and all of my siblings (except for you K&J-we understand-Germany is a little too far to travel)got together and showed our talents at house building. Here is my kids creation. Peanut was in charge of the yard and Finley was in charge of the roof. I definitely had to give up my idea of a perfect cottage-like gingerbread house, once i relaxed, it was fun to see the kids imaginations take over. And Finally.....Peanut lost her first tooth. She was worried she was going to be stuck with her baby teeth for her entire life. The thing was hanging by a string for a week. She refused to let anyone pull it except for the sister at church who promised her 5 bucks to let her pull it out. Right before sacrament meeting on Sunday Peanut searched out Sister Phillips, who was on the stand playing the piano, to ask if she could come to her house later in the afternoon to get it pulled. Sister Phillips replied by asking if she could feel it to see if it was ready. Right then and there Sister Phillips pulled it. Eden returned to our bench with tissues shoved in her mouth and one in her hand containing the tooth, in the other hand was a crisp 5 dollar bill. She was all smiles. She is like her Dad and likes to make a buck (or five), she saves like her dad too, not like her mom.

(Not the best picture, it was late at night when we realized we should take a picture and I hate using a flash.)

7 comments:

Diane Linford said...

Mmm-mmm, it all looks so good.

Where was Cindy when my children were losing their teeth? I would have paid HER to pull them. She could have made a fortune off me if she'd played her cards right.

Jes said...

I will have to try your recipe, it looks super yummy...thanks

Sarah said...

Carrie, I LOVE YOUR photography! You make it look SO easy but I know the truth... Doh! It's tougher than it looks

Papa Paradigm said...

Hey Carrie, I meant to talk to you at Erica's house and tell how much we love our pictures. They turned out really cute. Way better than our photo's last year from Kiddie Kandids. Everyone that sees them, loves them too! Thanks again taking them.
Hope you and your family have a nice Christmas!

RLRP said...

Actually, Carrie, that picture is awesome. And I think I'll let that lady pull out my teeth for five bucks each! Wow!

melissa said...

Is your blog private now? It hasn't been telling me that you updated??? Cute pictures. I love the ones of Eden in her program.

Bill said...

Carrie,

I found your recipe for English Toffee while searching on google. I tried the recipe out and it turned out great.

I thought you might be interested in a variation that I tried while trying to get something a little closer to V Chocolates.

I'm pretty cavalier about modifying recipes, but I've found that it really is possible to make subtle tweaks to just about anything and make it better suited to your taste.

I had some very distinct impressions when I first tried V Chocolates Toffee. The first impression was the texture...unlike any toffee I had ever eaten. Next was the color...much lighter than other Toffees. Finally, the delicate, buttery taste...not the bold flavor that comes from caramelizing sugar.

This recipe isn't a dead match, but I found the results very pleasant so I thought I would share them with another toffee connoisseur.

Here you go:

1 C Butter, salted (You may want to reduce this a little or increase the sugar...I had some butter that wouldn't incorporate. Maybe try reducing by 1/4 C).
1 C Baker's Sugar (using Baker's sugar had a noticable difference in the texture).
1/2 TBSP Powdered Vanilla (available in Utah via Amelia's Pantry distributors - usually a poor substitute for vanilla when baking but I LOVE using it for confections)
1/4 tsp Imitation Butter Extract - Believe it or not, 1 cup of butter just didn't provide enough butter flavor for me)

I followed your steps, but I used the ice water technique to determine that the toffee would crunch BEFORE the sugar started to darken. I don't have a candy thermometer so I don't know what temp that would be. I just kept dropping it in the water and fishing it out with a spoon. As soon as I got crunch, I stopped.
(This next step was a whim that I think payed off BIGTIME in the texture. Incorporate this just before pouring out the toffee mixture)
1/4 C Malted Milk (I used regular Ovaltine). This had two effects...first, the texture of the toffee changed in a very pleasant way...next, the malted milk adds an almost molasses like flavor that compensates for not using brown sugar.

From there on out, the same process. I used chopped pecans and they worked really well.

So...I have no idea if I even came close to V Chocolate's recipe, but the changes I made to the recipe brought me closer to my initial impressions (I may have to break down and buy myself a box of V's for comparison). I know this is an unconventional toffee recipe and true confectioners would probably have me shot for using imitation butter extract and powdered vanilla, but I don't plan on sharing my toffee with them.

If you have any questions, feel free to shoot me an e-mail at p1rata@yahoo.com