December 3, 2009

Easy-Peasy Toffee

I always thought making candy was hard.

My grandma did it. My mom didn't. This is because candy-making is time consuming and difficult, right?


I think it has more to do with constant stirring. Constant stirring and children and being easily distracted don't mix.

So, if you have someone else to watch your children (or you're child-less) go ahead, try to make some candy.

Your mouth will thank you.

Your butt...not so much.

Your friends, most definitely.

My Grandma Mim has made this every Christmas as long as I can remember, and then I took over. We usually haul several pounds of candies and cookies out to Indiana when we make the journey every December.

This is a difficult list so stick with me:
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of butter
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 chocolate bar
Did you memorize it yet?? I told you: difficult.

So first things first. It's good to chop up the chocolate bar before you get started. Just put your little pile of chocolate to the side. And prep the space where you'll cool your toffee. More on that later.

In a saucepan put the butter, sugar and water.

Cook, stirring constantly until your candy is in the hard-crack stage or 300-310 degrees. If you don't have a candy thermometer you can use a glass of water and just drop a bit of the candy in and feel it. When it stops being soft and becomes brittle it's ready.

You have a few options now that it's ready, but you need to be prepared ahead of time. Maybe preparation is the important part of candy-making that also had my mom not doing it...hmm.
Option 1: Butter a jelly-roll size pan or cookie sheet, quickly pour the candy out and spread as thin as you'd like with the back of a spoon. It's going to be an amorphous blob so don't expect square corners.
Option 2: Use a silpat or a silicone mat and pour the candy out. This is an alternative if you don't want to use more butter since it's non-stick.
Option 3: Same idea as option 1 except with a marble slab/countertop instead of the jellyroll/cookie sheet.

Whatever you do-SPREAD QUICKLY. The candy will cool to a temperature making it difficult to work with, so no hesitating!

As soon as it's down, sprinkle the chopped up chocolate bar on top. This is the part I learned from my Grandma Mim. If you sprinkle the chocolate on top now, you don't have to pre-melt it. It's so simple! The temperature from the toffee will melt the chocolate. Let the chocolate sit for a minute and then using the back of a new spoon, spread it out.

Now it's customization time. Well, you could leave the chocolate off. However, I wouldn't recommend that unless you're some kind of weirdo. You could add chopped nuts to the top while the chocolate is still wet. However, my personal favorite addition is a sprinkle of.....SALT.

Let it cool a few hours or overnight (overnight is better). Then just break it into pieces and store in an airtight container.



  1. Just curious: are any of those pics ones I took? (i'm thinking the first and last...) don't want credit or anything, but i like to think i can identify my own photos. but I may be way (way, way) off base.
    mmm. yummy tasty toffee!

  2. I have no idea! ( : Between you and MG taking pictures, I'm not sure who took what! You would know more than I would.