Saturday, January 2, 2016

My Favorite Toffee

My mom has been wanting a family picture for years.  Every year, something happens so we can't get a nice picture.  Well, this year it finally happened.  After opening presents, she pulled out a big gift bag with a bunch of Star Wars shirts in it.  Yes, we are all quite nerdy.  It's not just me.  We all found a shirt that fits, and we headed over to my brother's photography studio where he works.  She wanted a big backdrop with stars.  We busted out the kids' light sabers, Star Wars masks, and took some pictures.  I don't dare share it here because it will land on the awkward family photos website for years to come.  Being that my family is not only nerdy but our sense of humor is out of control, we had way too much fun taking the pictures.  We did some serious ones, and then we did goofy pictures.  My dad, love him to pieces, isn't the most smiley person you've ever met.  After taking a couple shots were he wasn't smiling, we decided that we should turn him into the Emperor.  We draped a black cloth over his head, and he didn't even crack a smile. I was pointing a toy gun off into the distance with an angry look on my face, my oldest brother kneeled down in front with a Storm trooper mug, his fiancee was smiling and ready to strike him down with a light saber.  Everyone had the most ridiculous pose.  I still laugh at the picture every time I look at it.

If you want to see my dad smile, give the man some toffee, and for an extra big smile, put on Cops for him to watch while he eats it.

Oh, toffee.  Toffee, toffee, toffee.  This stuff is fantastic, and it is so quick to make.  My dad expects a batch of this from me every year.  When he came over on Christmas morning, I gave him a box full of the stuff.  He nibbled, quite ravenously, on several pieces before any one else came over.  He set the box on table.  When others started to come, he said, "Callie!  Hurry!  Get that toffee off the table so no one else gets to it."  I can't say I blame him!  This stuff really is fantastic.  It takes about 10-15 minutes from start to finish.  It needs time to cool, of course, but that is hands-off.  Don't be scared to make it!  Get a candy thermometer and give it a shot.  Your friends and family will love and thank you.

One of my friends once asked me why I bake for people.  As cheesy as it sounds, I absolutely love to do it.  I know how happy I am when I am eating something sweet.  It makes a crappy day a whole lot better when someone gives you something homemade.  I hope that by doing that for people, it can make their day a little better, too.  :)

Recipe source:

1 c almonds or pecans
1 c butter
1 c sugar
1/4 t salt
1/2 t vanilla
2 c chocolate chips
1/4 c finely chopped pecans

Place the almonds in a single layer on a plate.  Microwave them for two minute, stirring after each minute.  On a foil lined 9x13 pan, pour the almonds into this and spread them out.

In a heavy, large saucepan, add the butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt.  Stir over medium-high heat until the butter is melted.  Keep the heat on medium-high and continue cooking for 7-10 minutes.  If you have a candy thermometer, it needs to get up to 290-300 degrees.  The color will start to darken.

When it is ready, it will be a darker, amber color- about the color of the almonds.  It will also start to smoke a little bit.  Once it gets to the right color or temperature (whichever way you're doing it), pour the mixture over the almonds.  Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the hot toffee, let them sit for one minute, then spread them with a rubber spatula.  Once they are all smooth and spread over the toffee, sprinkle the finely chopped pecans on top, covering the area of the toffee.

Let it cool completely and break it into pieces.  Store in an airtight container.

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