Ghirardelli English Toffee
Sometimes when you see a friend try something brave that has always intimidated you (perhaps just a little bit–enough to give you an excuse to never try to actually TRY it yourself), that gives you just the extra boost of courage to give it a go yourself.
Encouragement goes such a long way and can come in many forms. For me, the encouragement to try making English Toffee came from my friend Lemony Thyme. She was so excited when she perfected the toffee, well, after reading her story, I thought hey, I could do that. I looked in my drawer for my kitchen thermometer, and quickly discovered it’s NOT a candy thermometer, the temperature readings don’t go anywhere near that high. Darn! I was a little scared at that point … what if it goes awry? … but I thought hey, I’ll give it a shot anyway. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen? It doesn’t turn out and I end up wasting a little sugar and butter. (There ARE worse scenarios, I suppose, but assuming I didn’t injure myself, my children, or my house in the process, that is the “worst case”, right?)
I’m so glad I did! It turned out to be so easy, and surprisingly, sort of a stress reliever. At the end of the cooking process, when I was waiting for the bubbly mixture to turn brown, I poured myself a glass of wine and just watched the bubbles slowly change from yellow to brown. There was something mesmerizing about watching this lovely-smelling concoction bubble. For me, it was totally stress therapy (and I know my friends appreciated my stress therapy!). I am thinking I might just make another batch for my Mom for Mother’s Day. She’s not a big candy eater, but she likes toffee.
It’s very fitting that this recipe comes from Ghirardelli, because I used Ghirardelli dark chocolate on the top. It’s the most readily available quality chocolate around here — and eating Ghirardelli chocolate always reminds me of the fun trips we’ve made to San Francisco so that means there are wonderful memories all wrapped up in this toffee too.
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup dark or semi-sweet Ghirardelli chocolate chips, melted
- 3/4 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped
- First, line a large baking sheet with a silicon baking mat and set it close to the stove. (You CAN use foil like Ghirardelli recommends, but I think the baking mat is much easier--and it's reusable/better for the planet.)
- Now, put the butter, sugar, water and salt in a heavy duty saucepan and heat over medium heat. As the butter melts, stir the mixture together well. Stir several times until the mixture comes to a full, rolling boil.
- Now that it's boiling, STOP stirring and just watch the yellow bubbles cook over medium heat for about 10 - 11 minutes. A couple times (no more than three) during this time, you can run a rubber scraper over the bottom of the pan (a very gentle stir) to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom.
- Once it starts to turn brown, don't touch it. Just watch until all the yellowness turns to brown--this will happen quite quickly. As soon as it looks like it's all a proper toffee colored brown (when the candy thermometer says 305, if you're using a thermometer), that's when you remove it from the heat and stir in the vanilla. (Be careful, it might sputter a bit!)
- Pour the hot brown candy mixture out onto your prepared pan. It will spread a bit. Let it set for a while until it's cool and hardened.
- Melt the chocolate and spread over the hard toffee, then sprinkle with the toasted nuts and gently press them into the chocolate. Let cool until the chocolate is set, then break the toffee into chunks.
Total time does not include the time it takes for the candy to cool and the chocolate to set.
RECIPE SOURCE: http://www.sumptuousspoonfuls.com/
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