Sunday, October 30, 2011

Winter Weather Advisory: Stay Home and Make Toffee

A week or so ago, I started creating a list of sweets I want to make, and perhaps it's no surprise that the list keeps growing. There are so many amazing-looking cookies, cakes and candies out there! And I never mind experimenting with chocolate and sugar. Ever.

Besides, the weather is cooler, and Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming very soon. Might as well start practicing my sweets menu early. (Do I even need a real reason to make sweets?)

I spotted this Pecan-Molasses Toffee recipe in the Williams-Sonoma Desserts cookbook and put it on my list immediately. What could be better than a toffee-scented house on a cold rainy/snowy day?

Turns out that this recipe is divine. It's thick, nutty, and of course, the chocolate makes a great partner with the toffee.

This is one recipe that will show up with me during the holidays, if not several times before then. It does appear that it will be a long winter, after all.

Pecan-Molasses Toffee
(Courtesy of Williams-Sonoma Desserts)

1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cup very coarsely chopped pecans, plus 1/2 cup medium-fine chopped pecans
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
6 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

Butter a small baking sheet. (I used an 8x8 metal pan, which worked very well.) In a heavy 2 1/2-qt. saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, water, and molasses. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to medium and cook, stirring slowly but constantly, until a candy thermometer registers 290 degrees F, about 15 minutes.

Remove from the heat. Stir in the coarsely chopped pecans and the cinnamon. Immediately pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Do not scrape the residue from the pan bottom. Let stand for 1 minute. Sprinkle the chocolate over the toffee. Let stand for 1 minute to soften. Then, using the back of a metal spoon, spread the chocolate over the toffee until melted. Sprinkle with the medium-fine chopped pecans. Refrigerate, uncovered, until the candy is firm, about 2 hours.

Break into 2-inch pieces. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Makes about 1 1/2 lb.

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