With Christmas less than two weeks away, this is usually the time I like to start passing out sweet treats to our family, friends, and neighbors. If you are someone who might not have a lot of extra income to give gifts to everyone on your “wish to give” list then baking is the solution to your problem! In my opinion, creating a masterpiece in your kitchen is one the best frugal fabulous ways to give a heart felt gift.
I had the treat this last weekend to take a class from one of the best toffee makers I know, my mother in law! This toffee is not just your average crunchy confection. It has layers and layers of delicious flavor. I am so excited to share with you this recipe that is one of our families sweet staples during the holidays!
Side note: This recipe and all of the tips come from my mother in law, who has to be the most reliable source out there when talking toffee. I have been blessed to be a member of the family since my husband and I got married almost 8 years ago but I know that she has been making this stuff since long before I came in the picture. So she knows her stuff! Oh and this recipe is okay to double! Some candy recipes don’t work that way for some reason, but this one is good to double!
Lets get started! The type of nuts and the type of chocolate you use in this recipe are totally up to your taste buds. My mother in law uses pecans because that is what she likes. She also chooses to use half milk chocolate and half semi-sweet chocolate chips. She found that this is usually a good medium in catering to the tastes of all the many different mouths that she gifts this treat to.
Before you start heating anything up there are a few things you need to get ready. This is important because once you start cooking your ingredients you do not want to take your eyes or your stirring hand off the project! Make sure that you butter your pan! Trust me you do not want to miss this step! Next, chop all of the nuts. I like to chop them pretty small so when I’m taking bites of the toffee I taste more toffee then I do nuts. Now you can put your sugar, butter, and water in the pan, but don’t turn the heat on yet!
One more step before you start cooking. Put a layer of chopped nuts in your greased pan. Mix together both types of chocolate chips and put a layer over the nuts. This is not an exact science. If you like less nuts then put less nuts down, if you like more chocolate then put another handful of chocolate chips down. Whatever you think taste testers will love. You can see in this picture that we kind of go heavy on both ingredients. Go big or go home right!
Clip your candy thermometer on to your pan and now you’re ready to turn on the heat, medium heat to be exact. Once the butter starts melting you need to be constantly stirring to make sure that nothing gets burnt. Now cautiously stir and wait for the temperature of the candy to reach 320 degrees. At first the candy mixture is going to be white in color but as it cooks the sugar will slowly start to caramelize giving the candy its beautiful toffee color. Make sure to keep your eye on temperature. At first it might take a little time (a few minutes) to get the temperature to start moving up but once it starts getting close, around 300 degrees, it can shoot up really quickly. If once you get to this point and temp seems to be moving quickly you might want to turn your heat down a bit or maybe move the pan away from the heat for just a few seconds.
Once 320 degrees has been reached you need to move swiftly! Remove your pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Now evenly pour over your chocolate and nuts in the prepared pan.
Immediately sprinkle with more chocolate chips and cover with a cookie sheet for one minute, to help speed up the melting process. Remove cookie sheet and spread out chocolate to create a gooey chocolaty frosted layer and sprinkle with remaining chopped nuts and lightly pat down to set the nuts in place.
Let this sit for just a few minutes to let the candy set up just a bit. Now prick with a fork to create your grid of where you will want to cut the candy later.
Put in your fridge and let cool completely. Once cool you are ready to cut (you will be so glad that you made your prick grid) and enjoy! When you cut these out don’t be discouraged if they don’t come out in perfect little squares, because that’s just not going to happen. But that just adds the beauty of the candy pieces.
Super great tip from my mother in law: save all the little crumbs left in the pan once you take out all of the big candy pieces. This makes for a great ice cream topping!
Like I said before this is the perfect gift to pass out to your friends and family! It tastes better than anything you can buy at the store and it looks like a master confectioner created this sweet gift. Lastly, of coarse, this wouldn’t be Pennies into Pearls without mentioning that this gift idea is not only tasty and amazing but also easy on the wallet.
Here is a free Christmas tag printable to make your sweet gift giving even easier. Just print these out on some pretty cardstock, find some cute ribbon or maybe twine to attach, and you have a super frugal fabulous gift! Have fun and don’t forget to save a few pieces for yourself! Merry Christmas!
A special thank you to my really awesome mother in law for giving my a private candy making lesson and letting me share all of your tips!
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1 cup Butter
- 3 tbs Water
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 2 cups chopped Nuts (your choice)
- 1 cup Milk Chocolate Chips
- 1 cup Semisweet Chocolate Chips
- Butter 9x9 glass pan.
- Sprinkle pan with half the nuts. Combine both types of chocolate chips together and sprinkle nuts with half of chocolate chips.
- Combine sugar, butter and water in pan over medium heat.
- Constantly stir over heat until temperature reaches 320 degrees.
- Stir in vanilla.
- Pour hot toffee mixture over chocolate and cut layers in pan.
- Sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips and cover for about one minute until chocolate has slightly melted.
- Spread chocolate to create an even layer over toffee and sprinkle with remaining chopped nuts and lightly pat nuts into chocolate.
- Prick with a fork where you want to cut later.
- Let cool completely in fridge before cutting.
- Cut and enjoy!
- This toffee recipe can be doubled and you're probably going to want to do this. It will disappear fast!
Linked up this baby at the following:
Wicked Awesome Wednesday
I Gotta Create
A Handful of Everything
Inspire us Thursday