Austin Urban Gardens

Raised Bed Gardening and Eating Well in Austin, Texas

Two Time Toffee Fail December 11, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — austinurbangardens @ 5:25 pm
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When Austin Bakes for Austin came up, I knew I wanted to make the granola recipe I made, thinking that folks would still be full from Thanksgiving and might want a healthier option.  But, I also wanted to make the Almond Butter Toffee recipe I remembered from the Necessities and Temptations Junior League cookbook.  It looked so easy.  So, when shopping for the ingredients for my granola, I doubled up on the ingredients needed for both – slivered almonds and pecans.

Not Caramel Colored

Not Caramel Colored

The recipe seemed simple enough, although I’m not much of a baker or candy maker.  Sugar isn’t really my thing – I’m more of a salty kind of gal.  I melted the 2 cups of butter, then added the 2 1/2 cups of sugar and raised the heat.  I stirred and stirred, until the mixture bubbled around the edges.  I added the 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar and 2 cups of slivered almonds and stirred constantly, until the mixture turned what I believed was the caramel color I was looking for.  I dumped it out on two greased cookie sheets and spread it as thinly as it would let me, which was not very thin. I dumped a 12-ounce package of chocolate morsels on top, and when melted, I spread it evenly.  I sprinkled with pecans.  I refrigerated it, until the chocolate was hard and the candy cooled.  I attempted to break it into pieces, but it only bended.  No breakage whatsoever.    My toffee had not become brittle, because I didn’t cook it long enough, nor did I achieve the desired  caramel color, apparently.  So, I tossed the whole mess out.

Take two.  This time around, I was committed to achieving the proper caramel color needed for this toffee.  I fail all the time, but rarely twice at the same thing.  I repeated all of the steps from the first time around, but kept stirring and stirring, waiting for the mixture to turn darker than before.  Once it started getting what I thought was the right color, the butter started separating, forming pools of liquid on top of the toffee.

Butter separating

Butter separating

You can see it in the above picture, although it got much worse.   I had no idea what this meant, so I stirred more vigorously than before until, in a panic, I dumped the mixture out on the cookie sheets, having to mop up the liquid.  Hoping that that little deviation from normal would not affect the toffee, I followed the rest of the steps.    This time around, the toffee was closer to being right, and actually came closer to breaking into pieces than previously.  I bagged it all up and stuck it in the freezer.  It still tastes good.

Toffee, sort of

Toffee, sort of

I can’t figure out why the butter broke though.  There were no abrupt temperature changes, which would have “shocked” it.  There was a point where we had some spillage of chocolate chips and I had to stop stirring for a few seconds.   Did that cause it?  No idea.  I have the ingredients to try once again, but I haven’t worked up the courage to do so.



6 Responses to “Two Time Toffee Fail”

  1. Joy Says:

    I had a similar experience trying to make my dearly departed mother’s Patience Christmas candy. Really it’s a praline recipe. First try at the sugar mixture hardened so much that plastic spatula I left in the pan broke and the syrup was hard as plastic. Take two, I got the color and dumped in two cups of pecans. Got to the point of “pouring” the mixture onto cookie sheet. It had to be forced out of the pan. It was not the creamy melt in your mouth candy of my youth. It was a very chewy carmel texture. Tasty but not something I needed around the house. So, off to the trash. BIggest bummer was wasting the two cups of pecan I had hand shelled. Next time, must include sister in the endeavor.

  2. I know! The wasting is the worst part! That’s why I might not try this recipe again, although I trust the recipe. Thanks for sharing, as always, Joy. Happy holidays!

  3. Toni Casteel Says:

    Carla — I have been making this (I call it Nut Butter Crunch) for 40 years and will share my recipe with you: I think your recipe was too large a batch and too much butter,but I use a candy thermometer and it never fails me. I will share this with you because you are my friend!
    1 Cup Butter (2 sticks)
    1 1/4 C. Sugar
    2 Tbs. Water
    2 Tbs. Corn Syrup
    1 cup nuts (I use slivered almonds)
    4 Hershey bars or 1 package milk chocolate chips

    Lightly butter 13″ x 9″ x 2″ pan. Spread nuts into buttered cookie sheet, and place in moderate oven (300) for about 5 minutes — watch carefully! You only want them browned. Melt butter in heavy saucepan. Add sugar, syrup and water. Cook, stirring occasionally, to hard crack stage (300). Pour over pan of nuts immediately. Lay Hershey bars or sprinkle milk chocolate chips over the surface. Wait about a minute for the chocolate to melt, then spread over candy. When cool, turn out onto waxed paper. Break into pieces. —Toni Casteel

  4. Kent Jones Says:

    1. Make sure the butter is salted. If you are using unsalted butter, add 1/4 tsp of salt per stick of butter
    2. Toffee is much more predictable if you are using a candy thermometer. The final temperature is what determines the crunch. We have the best luck with a digital thermometer. Heat the toffee to 285 degrees to get a really nice crunch!

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