November 1, 2006

Choco-riffic recipe #1

The first chocolate attempt was Toffee-Chocolate Candy, for halloween.

I was exhausted on Monday night, but I forced myself to make Toffee because I knew it would be worth it. To do so, I dragged my post 3-hour-from-scratch-white-bean-soup and 1-hr-of-yoga while the soup cooked butt back into the kitchen after dinner. I was in search of chocolate happiness. And I found it. I even fucked the recipe up pretty royally. But it's sugar and butter and vanilla and chocolate. And I took it to our friends where 6 of us ate dinner, drank wine and champagne, heckled and/or got sappy over the trick-or-treaters, and enjoyed toffee and pumpkin bars. So it was fabulous.

Fucked Up Toffee-Chocolate Candy

6 oz semisweet chocolate (I used Hershey's -- is it just me, or is it wrong that they have a "solution center?"), chopped
6 oz bittersweet chocolate (I used 72% cacao Sharffen Berger), chopped
1 oz bitter chocolate (99% Sharffen Berger), chopped (I added this because I LOVE dark chocolate and 50/50 semisweet/bitter just didn't seem right with all the sugar in the toffee).
1 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup water
1 tsp light corn syrup
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

1. Put all the chocolate chopped goodness in a bowl and mix it together, let it soften near the stove while you cook.

2. Put a bowl of water and a pastry brush by the stove so that when the toffee starts to crystalize on the edges you can brush it with water to reabsorb the sugar.

3. Apparently, you're supposed to combine the butter, sugar, water, corn syrup and salt over medium heat. I put my 1/4 cup of water in the bowl mentioned in #2. I also added the vanilla at this stage. My toffee ended up very buttery and slightly granular. I suspect the missing water is at least partially to blame for this.

4. You're supposed to slowly stir this concoction over medium heat until your candy thermometer measures 300F. Well, I've only got a meat thermometer and it tops out at 190F. So, I just kind of winged it, when it started to be this viscous liquid that wouldn't drip from the spoon and most of the butter was absorbed by the stubborn sugar, I poured it into a 9X11 baking pan. (For those of you that follow directions, you would do this at 300F, when the toffee is brown, approximately 18-20 minutes after you put the mixture on the stovetop. Also, you'd wait 'til just before pouring it to add the vanilla).

5. Tilt the pan 'til the toffee covers the pan evenly. My version had quite a bit of butter grease at the extremeties, but it was evenly covered and the sugar mixture that hardened on the spoon was damn good, so I wasn't too upset.

6. Layer the chocolate on top of the toffee and cover 'til the chocolate is melted. Spatula to an even layer, sprinkle with pecans and let it cool.

7. My version needs to be frozen to have the consistency of toffee candy. Otherwise it's a little soft, but still delicious.

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