Holiday Toffee

For whatever reason I thought it’d be a good idea to make toffee while I waited for the Wednesday pump-out boat. Cooking and pumping your heads is not an easy association to make* but timing is everything, and this time of year there’s no time to be wasted. This is such an easy recipe. I’m sure all you pirates out there make toffee without even needing a recipe, but I thought I’d share this as a refresher or a head-slap “I haven’t made toffee in years!”

*Yes, I wore gloves and washed my hands!!

Holiday Toffee with Almonds and Peppermint

2 cups butter
2 cups white sugar
1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup finely chopped almonds
2/3 cup crushed peppermint sticks

In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the butter, sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the butter is melted. Bring to a boil and continue to cook, stirring and scraping frequently with a wooden spatula, until it turns a rich amber.

Many recipes call for using a candy thermometer, bringing the temperature to 285º. In the photo on the left, the temperature has reached 285º but it has not yet caramelized. I cooked this a good 5-10 minutes longer until is reached a rich amber color (right). So my advise (although many may disagree) is that you don’t necessarily need the fancy thermometer. Cook until is caramelizes.

Be careful! This butter sugar mixture is extremely hot! Do not touch it and watch the temperature of your utensils.

While this cooks, line a cookie sheet or baking tray with parchment paper. You may have to cut the paper to fit. It’s better the paper is a bit small than lopping over the sides of the cookie sheet.

Once the toffee has caramelized, carefully pour onto the prepared baking sheet.

Sprinkle the chocolate over the top, and let it set for a minute or two to soften. Once the chocolate starts to melt spread into a thin layer with the back of a spoon.

Sprinkle the sliced almonds and/or crushed peppermint over the melted chocolate and press down gently. You can top with any confectionary delight of your imagination or not add anything at all. Today I sprinkled half with almonds and half with peppermint. Place in your icebox or outside where it’s cold to set. 

Break into pieces and store in a cool place. Toffee will keep for easily up to two weeks in an airtight container. Or give it away! Fellow live-aboards will merrily appreciate a bag of toffee thrown into their cockpit! 

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