Food always has a story, doesn’t it? I think that’s why it’s a universal connector-to-each-other, a ubiquitous language that everyone can understand and speak. Toffee’s story in my life begins in my childhood, sharing a Skors bar with my mom in the kitchen. Later on, in my teen years, I was visiting a woman who, despite having a herd of grandchildren of her own, included me and brought me into her arms and life as her granddaughter. Never underestimate the positive force that adults can have in the lives of the children who’s lives intersect with their own. This is why I love teaching so much; even if my students forget everything I’ve taught them, I know they will never forget that I cared about them as individuals.
It was while visiting this woman that I made toffee for the first time. I discovered it in one of her old cookbooks, however, I can’t remember the title of the book, or even what the cover looked like. I remember this recipe, even after all this time, because of its extraordinarily short ingredient list. It essentially consists of equal parts of butter and sugar, but you can fancy it up by adding flaked sea salt or covering it in chocolate, or doing both!Some important things to keep in mind: it’s not essential to have a candy thermometer, but it really does help take the guesswork out of ensuring the toffee is ready. If you don’t have a thermometer, you will know the candy is ready when it reaches the hard crack stage (when a stream of toffee is dropped into a cup of cold water, it will form a thread that literally cracks when you bend it). Another other clue indicating the toffee is ready is that the mixture will quickly turn from being buttery yellow to a golden color, and it will pull apart from itself while being stirred. Also, the time it takes for this recipe to reach the appropriate temperature takes about 7-10 minutes. This is a smaller recipe – if you decide to double the recipe, it will take longer to reach the correct temperature.
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup butter
- ½ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Use a heavy bottomed pan to heat sugar and butter together over medium heat. Stir occasionally until completely melted.
- After sugar and butter are melted, it will begin bubbling. Continue to stir occasionally until mixture begins bubbling rapidly.
- At this time, it will begin pulling away from the sides of the pan. Stir frequently to ensure burning does not occur.
- After about 7-10 minutes, the mixture will transition from buttery yellow colored, to a golden amber color. If using a candy thermometer, heat until mixture reaches 285 degrees Fahrenheit (if you do not have thermometer, use above guide to reach hard crack stage. I take the mixture off the stove at this time, because it will continue cooking even after poured onto a pan to cool.
- Pour into a pan to cool - shake pan to spread it out evenly. After about five minutes, sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Wait for chips to melt, and then spread melted chocolate with a spatula over the surface of the toffee.
- You can either cool at room temperature or cool in the freezer/refrigerator.