Saturday, December 8, 2012

Aunt Sara's Famous Toffee

Now you too can use up 2.5 sticks of butter in a few short minutes.   We made this on Thursday but unfortunately we didn't let it get hot enough so instead of snappy brittle toffee we have snappy-ish crumbly deliciousness.  (A tragedy that has not gone unmourned, I assure you.)  The recipe says to go to 280 degrees, which we did, but the current thinking is that 280 degrees is correct for the thermometer of the recipe-author but our thermometer reads lower.  So, either cook your toffee to 280 as directed (make maybe a half batch to test) and see what happens, or cook to 300, which is what we're going to do next time.  Without further ado:

[Carter's] Aunt Sara's Famous Toffee
2.5 sticks butter
1/3 c brown sugar
1 c white sugar
1 T molasses
1/3 c water
2 tsp espresso powder*
1 shake cinnamon

1 c chopped nuts (ideally pecans but we used walnuts--technically nuts are optional).
A couple handfuls of chocolate chips (The recipe calls for a mix of dark and white chocolate...we used half a bag of bittersweet chips b/c I'm stubborn like that.)

*We don't have instant espresso/coffee powder so we ground some coffee beans really really finely, practically down into individual molecules, and it worked great.

Cover a baking sheet in foil (doesn't need sides) and spray with cooking spray.  Get all the ingredients measured and ready.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan.  Add sugars, molasses, water, espresso and cinnamon.  Cook over medium heat, stirring absolutely all of the time, until the mixture boils.  Keep cooking, and start checking the temperature-- aim for between 280 (written) and 300 (our goal for next time).

getting closer
just after sugars, etc. added

When the toffee reaches temperature, remove from heat and stir in the nuts.  Immediately pour onto foil-covered sheet and gently spread into a thin layer.  Sprinkle with chocolate chips.

Wait 5 minutes, then smear chips (melted from heat of toffee) into a pretty pattern.  Slide foil onto cool surface or cooling rack, and let cool for what felt like an eternity (a few hours or overnight).  Snap the toffee into pieces and store in an airtight container.  Yum!


  1. OMG YUM
    I assume a candy thermometer is necessary?

  2. Ideally, and a well-calibrated one at that. You can try using the cold water test but I would try it with a half batch b/c it seems hard to test the candy while also not burning it...

  3. Yum. It's good for you,b.t.w.--molassas has lots of iron. 1 T =20%....course you'd have to eat the whole batch. :-)
    Mine is almost cool-took it up to 300° it seems to have worked, which makes sense, it is the 'hard crack stage. Maybe Aunt Sara's thermometer was broken.