Friday, October 1, 2010

Toffee Symphony

It was about time we had a little shindig at our not-so-new apartment, and I knew we had to feed our guests. Yes, we did the traditional bowled munchies (we mixed M & M's, pretzels, and caramel corn in margarita glasses to make it look fancy), but I also wanted to appeal to the classy palates of the room with something homemade. My pantry raid came up with more questions than answers. Namely: How can I use this bag of pistachios?

Then came food blog hunting. I decided to make brittle, but most brittles called for corn syrup, which I did not want to buy. So I found this recipe from, which I halved and tweaked slightly, using pistachios instead of pecans or peanuts. It was such a hit! And I must say, I have been munching on the leftovers all week (and I'm not complaining)....

The salt, chocolate, and crunchy smooth toffee complement each other so well! I can't resist, even when I see them it on my shelf first thing in the morning.



2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces ($2.99)
1 cup of pistachios or any nut, toasted and chopped ($3-4 depending on type of nut)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips ($1.99)
1/8 cup (or less) coarse sea salt ($1.49)
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar

The Grand Total: $9.47


Use butter to grease a metal baking sheet (Place about 1 tablespoon of butter on a napkin. Rub it all around the baking sheet.) Set aside.

In a metal saucepan, melt the butter, sugar and salt, whisking until smooth. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes and then constantly for five to 10 more minutes, until the mixture is deep golden (or about 300 degrees on a candy thermometer). Watch it carefully and keep stirring to make sure it doesn't burn!

Stir in the chopped nuts ASAP, then carefully pour the hot toffee into the center the baking sheet. Smooth the toffee out using a silicone spatula (smooth it until it's about 1/2 inch thick).

Let the toffee cool for a minute, then sprinkle the chocolate chips over the toffee. Let the chocolate melt for about four to five minutes, then spread it out evenly with the spatula.

Let cool for another 10 minutes or so, then dust the chocolate with the coarse sea salt. (Sprinkle just a bit at first; if the salt melts into the chocolate immediately, wait another few minutes. The salt should stick to the chocolate without vanishing.

Place the tray of toffee in the freezer and freeze until the chocolate layer is firm, about 30 minutes. Remove from freezer and break toffee into pieces. Layer between sheets of parchment or waxed paper and store in an airtight container at room temperature; the toffee will keep for about two weeks.


Since candy syrup is very hot (300 degrees), use only metal and silicone equipment for making this brittle. And be sure to soak all the utensils as soon as you’ve poured out the molten candy, or you’ll wind up with rock-hard candy stuck to your cooking pots and tools.

You can use less butter if you like, down to about 1 sticks (1/2 pound); the less you use, the clearer and harder the toffee will be. For a traditional nut brittle, simply leave out the chocolate and the salt at the end.

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