I’m right smack dab in the middle of stuff. The holidays are upon us and there are people to see, things to buy, gin to consume …
One third of my fifth book came out today. I say one third because it is a novella included in a lovely little three-story anthology called 3 YULETIDE WISHES, and it’s about a third the size of a regular novel. I’m joined by fellow Regency novelists Alanna Lucas and Charlotte Russell, and it has hit the virtual shelves just in time for Christmas. I really hope you’ll take a look.
I’m also in the midst of holiday baking. I typically do about 15 different kinds of candies and cookies to give as gifts and to take to parties and such. Some are old standbys from childhood and some are more recent favorites. I always try one or two new things each year and this toffee recipe is a winner from last year.
Get a candy thermometer if you don’t have one. For years, I didn’t use one and the occasional recipe would flop. I haven’t had a single problem since I got the thermometer and, really, why go through the hassel. Butter is effin’ expensive, man.
- 2 cups butter (use real butter…it’s toffee, for crying out loud)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (they’re so cute!)
- 1 cup finely chopped toasted pecans
So. First things first. Toast the damn pecans. It makes all the difference in the world. I spritz mine with a little coconut oil cooking spray (just a tiny bit) and sprinkle a couple pinches of salt in and among the pecans. Shove them in a 350° oven for 8 minutes or so, and then pull them out. Fragrant, nutty and rich … mmmm. When they’ve cooled just enough to handle, chop them up. Don’t wait for them to cool all the way. Just go for it.
Combine the butter, sugar and salt in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. (Also, make sure you have steel wool pads. Some of this is damn straight going to stick to the bottom, and you’re just going to have to suck it up and scrub. It’s worth it.) Cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly, until the butter is melted. (I seriously hope you didn’t toss the steel wool pads in there. I could possibly have mentioned that part later.) Once the butter is melted, let it come to a boil and cook until it is a deep amber color, stirring occasionally. Mm hmm. Occasionally. No standing and endlessly stirring on this one. Throw your candy thermometer in there and keep an eye on it until it reaches 285°.
While the toffee is cooking, cover a baking sheet with sides with aluminum foil. If you’re fancy and got the non-stick kind, congrats … you save a step. If you’re like me and you have the regular ol’ bargain stuff, spray it with a little coconut cooking oil.
As soon as the toffee hits 285°, pour it onto the foil. Be super duper extra extremely careful. Also, if you have a cat, make sure it isn’t under your feet, because tripping with hot toffee is a REALLY BAD IDEA. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the surface of the candy and let them get all melty and fabulous, then spread it all out. Finally, sprinkle the pecans over the chocolate and boom. Deliciousness you can’t even begin to touch for a couple hours or so.
Throw that cookie sheet in the fridge until the toffee is set and cool, then peel the aluminum foil back and break it into pieces. Fabulous. Highly praised by the Marine and his sister.