Monday, December 10, 2012

Order your Christmas Cake Balls today!

The Holidays are fast approaching and in case you are still looking for something fabulous to give your loved ones, how about some yummy cake ball gift boxes?! Smiley

Monday, December 3, 2012

Failed Toffee Making = Toffee Cookies

Have you ever made homemade toffee? Well I recently attempted to make homemade toffee and it was semi unsuccessful the first round with my toffee separating from the butter creating an extra greasy layer around my toffee. However, the toffee itself was very good. So I managed to clean up most of the excess butter and chopped the toffee to be used in my favorite chocolate chip recipe, and so we have toffee chip cookies!

Toffee Chip Cookies, adapted from America's Test Kitchen

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup toffee
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (I used Hershey's Special Dark)
Sea salt for garnish

(1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

(2)Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the melted butter and sugars together with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.

(3) Beat in the egg, egg yolk and vanilla until combined.

(4) Slowly add the dry mixture just until combined. Fold in the toffee and chips until incorporated.

(5) Scoop your dough onto a prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt, as desired. Bake cookies approximately 12-15 minutes, depending on size, mine were about 1.5 tbsp of dough.

Great way to re-purpose a boo boo batch of homemade toffee or when you just have a craving for some  buttery chocolatety toffee!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Homemade Toffee - Live and Learn

This is for you Kym!

Recently, a coworker of mine asked if I had a tried and true homemade toffee recipe. I hated to tell her that I have never made toffee before... And of course, with me all you have to do is plant a baking seed in my brain and sure enough it will blossom.

This is a fairly long blog post with very few pictures, sorry about that but the toffee making process happens so quick that I just didn't have time to capture individual steps. I set out my toffee making adventure with this recipe from The Coterie Blog. All toffee recipes start out with butter and sugar but then there are several various, some with corn syrup, some without, some with almonds and some with pecans. The possibilities really are endless. Heather's recipe called for 1 1/2 cups of butter. Since this was for experimental purposes only, I cut the recipe in thirds and only used 1/2 cup butter.  All was going well as the kitchen began to smell like delicious browned butter and sugar! But then it came to the "remove from heat and add vanilla" *dun dun*

Before I knew it, the toffee had separated and there was a gross nasty butter layer just floating on top of the beautiful golden toffee at the bottom of the saucepan. Not knowing what else to do, I poured the mixture onto my prepared Silpat and hoped for the best.

Four hours passed and my poor toffee pan was looking pretty nasty with the layer of butter surrounding what would have been my beautiful toffee. I did some research as to the causes of separation during candy making and I found my answers in this article. The sentence that caught my eye was "One of the most common triggers is when the candy has undergone an abrupt temperature shift..." I immediately thought of the vanilla and how the mixture separated right as the vanilla hit the toffee.

But I couldn't help but wonder why I had read several different recipes that included this exact same step, including a great looking one from Pioneer Woman. Whatever floats your boat, for some reason some things may work for others that just do not work for you. I am not even positive that I can blame the vanilla but my second time around when I omitted the vanilla, no separation occurred and I had a buttery golden delicious toffee! If you are set on adding the vanilla flavor then I would opt to either add the extract in the very beginning or using vanilla bean seeds. However, I opted to leave it out completed and I think it was super tasty!

I am really wishing that I had captured the gooey buttery mess that was my first try at toffee, but I was so ashamed that I cleaned up the gross mess before anybody could see, what can I say, nobody likes failure. However, I did chop up my first batch of toffee and made some yummy toffee cookies! So not a total failure. And now time for the recipe that worked for me!!

Homemade Toffee, adapted from Taste of Home, can easily be multiplied for large batches

1/2 cup butter, sliced in half inch or 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup sugar
4 tsp. water
Pinch of salt, generous pinch
1/4 cup toasted nuts of your choice (i.e., almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, etc.)
2/3 cup good quality chocolate, chopped fine
Sea salt for garnish

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