I thought I would share a favorite recipe. If you have ever eaten Enstrom's Toffee, then you know it is a bit different than most toffees.
2 3/4 cups sugar
1 pound salted butter, at room temperature (NOT MARGERINE)
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup whole raw almonds
1 - 12 oz pkg. milk or semi-sweet chocolate chip
3/4 cup whole raw almonds, chopped very, very finely in a food processor.
You can also do this in a heavy zip-lock bag using a meat tenderizer. I do this sometimes, and I’m very relaxed afterwards!
Disclaimer: This is not my photo, but this is what the toffee looks like.
Melt butter in a medium sized sauce pan - about 3 quart sized over medium to medium high heat. Add the salt. When the butter is almost melted, add the sugar in quickly. Stir slowly, using a figure 8 motion with a wooden spoon. The sugar will not immediately dissolve or mix in, this is normal.
When the sugar absorbs into the butter the mixture will look more homogeneous and smooth. This takes 5-10 minutes. Then add the whole raw almonds. This is what it will look like when you add the almonds. I would call this the blonde stage.
Continue to slowly stir the mixture in the saucepan for about another 10-15 minutes until the mixture reaches the hard crack stage. This is 290°.
You will notice that the sugar mixture is turning a darker more caramel color and it is almost starting to smell like burnt sugar. Do not under cook.
It will be the color of peanut butter when fully cooked.
When the mixture reaches 290°, pour the mixture onto a large cookie sheet and allow it to spread out. Place the cookie sheet on a cooling rack NOT ON A COUNTER because the mixture is so hot it could warp your counter.
After the toffee hardens, about 30 minutes, melt half the chocolate chips in a double boiler and spread over the toffee in a thin layer. Sprinkle with finely chopped almonds, and gently press into chocolate. When toffee has cooled, flip the toffee over and repeat. Spread the other half of the melted chocolate chips, over the toffee and sprinkle with finely chopped almonds. When it is totally cooled, break into pieces and store in refrigerator.
Makes about three pounds of toffee.
Things I’ve learned:
Slowly heat the butter. I start on medium low, and gradually move the temp up. It keeps the butter and sugar from separating late in the cooking stage.
Never set the heat above med-high in an attempt to hurry the process along, you will burn it every time!
I like my toffee to be on the thick side and it’s just as easy to make a double batch. So, when I make toffee I make a double batch. It gets poured into a baking sheet which measures 13” x 18” (buy a set of 2 at Sam’s cheap). A double batch fills the pan. After it’s poured into the pan, run a knife or spatula around the perimeter of the pan to separate the toffee from the pan sides. This helps when removing the toffee. Additionally, I use a large heavy knife to score the toffee into pound portions. As an example: A double batch makes about 6 pounds of toffee. So, I score the toffee down the middle of the pan lengthwise, and then score it two more times widthwise dividing it into thirds and creating 6 scored square portions. This helps when you want to divide it into gift sized portions. Don’t measure, just eyeball it.
I rarely use a double boiler to melt chocolate…I’m lazy! After pouring toffee into pan and scoring it, sprinkle chocolate chips all over top of toffee. Let it sit a few minutes. Use a spatula to spread the chocolate over toffee. To melt chocolate for other side, put in glass or ceramic bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove and stir. Return to microwave and heat for 30 second, remove and stir. Repeat until the chocolate is smooth and silky. Pour on toffee and spread.
Use a large heavy pot/boiler; cast iron if you have it. The mixture will increase in volume as it cooks. A heavy pot holds the heat better and will cook the candy more quickly.
I keep some toffee in the freezer all the time. It will keep in the freezer for a year. So I always have a quick and easy gift when needed. Place a pound of toffee into several quart sized freezer bags. Place these bags into a gallon sized freezer bag and toss into the freezer. When you need one, pull a bag out of the freezer and dump into a tin lined with waxed paper or in a brown lunch bag and tie with ribbon. I love lunch bags!