Dark Chocolate Toffee

Dark Chocolate ToffeeCookie Palooza
It’s Cookie Palooza this weekend. For those of you who may be confused, Cookie Palooza is the weekend that my daughter and I make an insane amount of holiday cookies and other treats to give to our family and friends. This year my sister is joining in on the fun so I am expecting any number of crazy shenanigans and a whole lotta sprinkles. (Don’t worry. My sister and her family have been in our pod since Day 1).

There will be Gingerbread Men with scarves (my sister), there will be Macarons (my daughter) and there will be Toffee and Caramels (me) as well as an explosion of other cookies from Swedish Ginger Cookies to home made Cranberry Orange Biscotti  (I like the dried cranberries and some grated orange peel to make them more festive.)

Cookie Palooza could not happen if I didn’t have decent cookie sheets. Of course, everyone’s definition of decent will be different. Some bakers prefer the double-layer cookie sheets that allow the air in the pocket between to heat up. Others like the heavy duty rimless sheets that allow your cookies to slide right off. Personally, I like my heavy duty half sheet pans they’re just so versatile. You can make drop cookies or bar cookies and of course, you can make an excellent dinner. At an average of $20 for a quality cookie sheet, they also make a useful and cost-conscious holiday gift for your favorite baker. And if you really want to treat them, pre-cut parchment sheets can be life changing.

While my family has already enjoyed the first batch of our traditional ginger cookies, (You can’t trim the tree without ginger cookies.) what they are really waiting for is the toffee I make every year. It’s melt-in-your-mouth happiness and must be kept under lock and key if you want to have it around for more than an afternoon.

With the latest stay at home order in full swing, now is the perfect time to plan a Cookie Palooza of your own…

Dark Chocolate Toffee Recipe
Yields 24 pieces
Adapted from King Arthur Flour

This toffee is a lot like a Heath Bar—both tasty candy and delicious crumbled over ice cream and other desserts.

16 tablespoons (two sticks) unsalted butter, cold
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups diced pecans (or slivered almonds)
2-2/3 cups semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chocolate chips

Special equipment: candy or instant-read thermometer (recommended see note*)

Toast the nuts
Toast the nuts until they are medium brown either in the oven or on a stove top. Watch them carefully and remove them from the hot pan onto a room temperature plate as soon as they are toasted to stop them from burning.

While the nuts are toasting, Line a 9″ x 13″ pan with parchment paper. Then spread half of the toasted nuts in an even layer. Top the nuts with half of the chocolate chips.

Make the toffee
In a large, deep saucepan (3 quart), melt the butter. Stir in the salt, sugar, espresso powder, water, and corn syrup. Bring the mixture to a boil.

Boil gently over medium heat, without stirring, until the mixture reaches 295°F on an instant-read or candy thermometer. The syrup will bubble without seeming to change much for awhile. But, be patient, it will quickly darken. This is the point you take its temperature. This whole process should take about 10 to 12 minutes. Pay close attention and don’t allow the syrup to burn.

Assemble the candy
When the syrup has reached 295°F*, remove from the heat and stir in the baking soda; it will foam up, so use caution. Pour the syrup quickly and evenly over the nuts and chocolate. Top the toffee with the remaining chocolate and let sit until it softens (about 2 to 3 minutes). Spread the chocolate with a spatula in an even layer and immediately sprinkle the remaining nuts on top.

While the candy is still slightly warm, pull it out of the pan and use a thin spatula to loosen it from the parchment.

When completely cool, break into uneven chunks.

Store the cooled candy tightly wrapped. (Then hide them!) It will stay fresh for a couple of weeks at room temperature. Freeze for longer storage.

*Note: If you don’t have a thermometer, you can still make the candy the old fashioned way. Keep a glass of ice water next to you. And, at the time the sugar begins to darken, test a dollop of the candy in the ice water. It should immediately harden so that it will snap (not bend) if it is ready.


Comments are closed.