December 20, 2008

12 Days of Savings - Day 8: Homemade English Toffee

For as long as I can remember in my family, we have been making English Toffee this time of year to give away as decadent Christmas gifts. Our friends and family always look forward to the little tins filled with this classic treat. The truth is, making homemade English Toffee is the ultimate recipe for a Budget Diva! If purchased in a candy store or gourmet store it can run up to and over $15 for just a few ounces. The ingredients in this recipe costs only a few dollars and makes about 3 pounds of toffee! This year I made 2 batches and with the help of some "buy one get one free" holiday tins at Walgreens, I was able to create 20 gifts! Amazing!

If this is your first attempt at candy making, here is a step by step visual guide to the world's best English Toffee!

My Mom's recipe that we have been using for years! The paper is splattered with food and yellowed with age. Geez, how old am I?!?

Melting the chocolate very slowly over a double boiler.

Slowly incorporating the sugar into the melted butter.

After adding the almonds, and as the toffee starts to thicken.

After 45 minutes of constantly folding the toffee. The temperature has reached "Hard Crack" and look at that beautiful color!

Spread it fast!!!

After 5 minutes...Chocolate!!

A dusting of ground pecans and it is pure, edible holiday bliss!

Homemade English Toffee

1 pound lightly salted butter
2 cups sugar
1 cup slivered raw almonds
4 1 ounce squares unsweetened chocolate
8 1 ounce squares semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups ground pecans

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Slowly add granulated sugar, stirring constantly until it dissolves. Do not stir in a circle, instead, turn mixture over while stirring to help butter absorb sugar. Add almonds and stir until mixture reaches hard-crack stage, 300 degrees on a candy thermometer. At this temperature, the color of the mixture will be dark amber and puffs of steam will emerge as it is stirred. This will take 35-45 minutes. Meanwhile, melt chocolates in the top of a double boiler over gently simmering water. Pour mixture onto a buttered 12 X 18 baking sheet. Spread with a spoon to even out toffee. Allow it to rest about 5 minutes, then pour on melted chocolate. Spread evenly with a spoon and sprinkle pecans over surface. Allow toffee to harden 6-8 hours or overnight. Using hands, break into pieces. Store in an airtight container in a cool place.

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