English Toffee with almonds, pecans, chocolate

  • Military Veterans Sous Vide Canning Traeger Regular Contributors Power User Arizona

    20221024_221005.jpg 20221024_210919.jpg
    I posted this last week in the cooking thread, but wanted to post the recipe so I had a record of it since I didn’t write it down.

    I’ve made a lot of peanut brittle, toffee, butterscotch, caramel. I like this recipe because of something I haven’t seen in other recipes, I add a ground almond “flour” to the hot toffee, which makes the hard candy super easy to eat–it has zero desire to stick to teeth. It has a great texture that crunches up easily due to the small almond flour embedded in the toffee, and I think a better flavor also.

    Here are the keys to this one’s top flavor and texture:
    – you have to get the melted sugar to 300-310f! Accurately! A digital thermometer is a must. Candy flavor changes drastically as sugar carameizes from 270ish up to 350ish when it begins developing more bitter and burnt flavors. At 290 the color is light straw colored and doesn’t have strong toffee flavor, more like a hard sugar candy. At 300 to 310f the color darkens quickly and you get caramel toffee flavors. At 325 it is at the darker end of toffee and begins to take bitter notes. At 350, most folks don’t like it much as too dark and bitter.
    [For reference, picture above was 325f, it went from 310 to 325 in the time it took me to pickup phone to snap picture showing correct color, like 25 seconds! It isn’t a time-linear change, the bound water buffers the temperature. As the last water boils out at 290ish, the temp increases asymptotically it seems…]

    – Whatever nuts you put in will flavor the toffee if you let them toast a bit! Peanut brittle tastes completely different, but is the same ingredients except less butter. The difference is you add peanuts and let them toast in the melted sugar for the whole cook, and they flavot it. So we want an almond or hazlenut flavor for English toffee. But small ground nuts toast and burn quickly, so we add the ground almonds in around 280 to 290f. Your flavor will change depending on when you add the nuts.

    – Sugar type give trace flavors. Normally toffee is made with white sugar, but I like a bit of the molasses flavors you get from brown sugar. So in this recipe I used 50% brown sugar.

    – Butter defines the toffee flavor from other melted sugar candies. Most recipes use same volume butter as sugar…but they also have 30% of comments complaining that butter dropped out of suspension and ran everywhere when cooling. You absolutely don’t need that much butter for correct flavor, and in my opinion it degrades long term texture with that much oil embedded in candy matrix. It tends to make candy weep, and soften quickly in my experience, and removes weeks off how long it can sit at room temperature and not change texture. I use 50% butter by volume.

    Recipe
    – 1/2 c white sugar
    – 1/2c light brown sugar
    – 1/2c i.e. 1 stick, unsalted butter. I like Challenge.
    – 3/4t salt, use 1/4t if you use salted butter
    – 1/4 t ground coriander seeds, sieved so nothing but dust. (Optional, I like the flowery scent, makes it something not tasted before).
    – 1 c ground almonds, almost to a flour stage, few if any chunks remaining. Add at 280f to 290f, should just be 2 or 3 minutes before 300-310f reached.
    – 1/2 t vanilla, added at end of cook
    – 3/4 c crushed pecan pieces for top
    – 1 c chocolate chips, semi sweet, for top

    Steps:

    1. Melt sugars, salt, and butter together in saucepan, med heat. Stir occasionally to keep it browning evenly so sides don’t get darker. Don’t overstir and get air whipped into it. Like 10 quick stirs every minute or so. If it is browning quickly at edges, heat is too high.
      1A. While it is heating at lower temps, get a baking sheet with raised edges about 9"x9" or slightly larger if thinner toffee desired. My picture above was 9x12". Lightly butter it.
    2. Keep cooking and stirring until temperature is 285f. Water will evaporate and temperature will go up, it is sliw at first then fast from 285 to 325, if you dont watch it there with light stirring at end, it will shoot past your temperature in 1 to 2 minutes!
    3. At 285f, dump in the cup of ground almonds and the ground coriander. Keep gently stirri g so it heats evenly, you’re just mixing edges in so they don’t brown/burn unevenly.
    4. At 300-310 f, take off heat, stir in 1T butter and the vanilla, keeps it from overtemping.
    5. Quickly dump the toffee into the baking sheet and spread it out to desired thickness with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
    6. Microwave the 1c of chocolate chips about a minute, not melted but just warmed and softened a bit. Dump evenly over toffee while still hot, like < 2min after spreading toffee. Cover with some aluminum foil for a few minutes until chocolate is soft and spreadable.
    7. Spread chocolate over top evenly with spatula. Dump pecan pieces on top and pat down into chocolate with spatula.
    8. Let cool 30 min or so, in fridge or freezer speeds things. Take out and break up into desired size. You can lift whole piece onto cutting board and press down with knife to break it somewhat accurately.
    9. Store in airtight container so it doesn’t pick up moisture from air and soften.

    Options: up to 1c butter; no coriander, or add other desired spices; bit more salt for salted caramel flavor; all white sugar for lighter more delicate flavor; all brown for more butterscotch flavor; touch of cayenne for heat.

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User Kansas

    Dave in AZ amazing, I’m gonna show my.wife and see if she feels like taking this one, tha ks for posting! FYI all my baking attempts are disasters, FEMA has been in my kitchen before to try to help set some of them straight

  • Military Veterans Sous Vide Canning Traeger Regular Contributors Power User Arizona

    Jonathon lol FEMA. I added a bunch more, I did a quick post after losing 2/3 of that typing once! Seriously this is very easy, takes about 20 min total. Only hard part is catching it below 310f.

  • Regular Contributors Power User

    Dave in AZ
    Thanks for sharing the recipe and technique. I can see the technique and temperature control is probably 90% of what makes it really good.
    Like Jonathon, I am going to pass this on to my wife.

  • Military Veterans Sous Vide Canning Traeger Regular Contributors Power User Arizona

    Thx Paul! Once you’ve made it a few times, you can pop popcorn in a wok, dump out, make this stuff with just a couple T butter and no nuts in 5 min, dump popcorn back in and serve candied popcorn to kids in less than 10 minutes. I do it when my daughter has friends over for a movie 😉

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