Sunday, January 11, 2009
So I made The Toffee for my dentist's office staff (these are the really nice people who gave me a certificate for a massage) and went to take it to them on Friday. They were closed. I have endured an entire weekend of The Toffee sitting here in the house. It's a terrible strain. I could easily eat the whole thing myself. Right this second. I'll deliver it tomorrow, but I think I need to taste it to make sure it's still good. In fact, the picture above is of me about to taste The Toffee. This was an exceptional batch.
You, too, can make The Toffee. It's actually a crazy easy recipe, but for some bizarre reason, it just fails sometimes. There was one year when every batch I made came out right. That has only ever happened once. Usually one batch a year goes rogue on me. Sometimes more than one batch (Cynth, I'm with ya on that one).
1 stick butter
1 1/2 Tbl. water (weird quantity, I know)
1/2 cup sugar
Slowly dissolve the ingredients and then cook it until it reaches 292 degrees (you'll need a candy thermometer). It will seem like it's taking forever and then suddenly the temp will shoot up. So be ready. I mostly leave The Toffee alone while it's going to its temperature, but sometimes I go over and give it a little stir with the candy thermometer just to be nutty.
Once you've hit 292 degrees, pour into a round cake pan (smaller is better--maybe 8 inches). I have to tip mine to get it to the edges. Maybe I'll get smaller pans for next year.
Take 3 Hershey's chocolate bars, break them apart and place them on top of the hot base. I like to put the logo side down, but I feel that this isn't integral to the success of The Toffee. As the chocolate melts, carefully spread it across the base. Sprinkle with pecans.
Give yourself plenty of time for the chocolate to set--overnight is preferable! Do NOT put it in the fridge to try and speed up the setting process. I tried doing it this year and it caused the chocolate to separate from the base, which happens sometimes anyway, but I think I caused it this time.
Break into bite-sized pieces and store in a tin. Or eat it all right away and don't worry about storing it.
Here are some thoughts on my years of watching my Mom make this and then making it on my own. . .
1. The weather seems to impact The Toffee. I had this problem more often in Ohio where it was more humid, even in the winter. Don't make it on a rainy day. Or really even a snowy day. Try to make it on a dry day. I know what sounds whacky, but I swear it's true.
2. The Toffee will look different if made over a gas burner vs. an electric burner. I freaked out the first time I made The Toffee on my gas stove. My Mom's toffee always came out a nice light color on her electric stove. My base is dark made on a gas burner.
3. Sometimes bad things just happen to The Toffee. It's not you, it's The Toffee. Sometimes the base doesn't set up right. Sometimes the base separates while it's cooking and just fails. Sometimes it's so sticky it sticks to your teeth when you're eating it. It still tastes good, but you know something isn't quite right. Sometimes the chocolate separates from the base.
Such drama from a seemingly inocuous recipe.
But when all is said and done and you get a perfect batch, you'll know you've conquered The Toffee. It's a good feeling.