Recipe: almond toffee
We didn’t get around to making toffee during my pastry skills class. I just remembered Chef Shan shouting, “and if you add cream to this, you end up with toffee!” Toward the end of the ten weeks, I asked him for a toffee recipe and he said he couldn’t give the secret recipe away. Okay, I understand – confectioner’s secret. Chef Will was the same way with his toffee recipe. I watched his perfectly square blocks of gorgeous toffee while he demonstrated tempering to the professional pastry students.
I looked online, looked in books, looked online some more and settled on a recipe in Candymaking (Kendrick and Atkinson) to begin my foray into toffee today.
Dealing with candy makes me more nervous than baking yeast breads because of the elevation adjustment. I can handle tanking a loaf of bread, but it doesn’t stress me out quite the way a pot of hot seized sugar does. But this was remarkably easy and well-behaved. I heated the toffee to 343F instead of 360F (minus 17 degrees for 8500 ft.). I think next time I’ll add the almonds a little later as they were a little toastier than I like in my toffee.
pour it out and score it as it sets
break up the pieces
I also hadn’t tempered chocolate since class ended in June, so I tempered about 12 ounces of Guittard. I forgot how quickly the temperature shoots up. After agitating and seeding, it was ready for pouring.
pour chocolate over the slabs
Most folks like to sprinkle fleur de sel on their toffee, but I don’t happen to have any in my cupboards. I do have a nice selection of lovely salts that Emily sent me last winter – black Mexican smoked salt, grey sea salt from France, and this…
hawai’ian pink sea salt
It has a mild smoky flavor and delicate salt burst on the tongue. I thought I’d top the toffee off with this just for kicks. I do miss that wonderful crunch of the fleur de sel, but I think I prefer the more even distribution from the pink sea salt.
sprinkle the salt
We took the pup for a walk while the chocolate cooled and the sun made its way toward the horizon. Summery aspen stands are beginning to show the tiniest hints of autumn’s approach and the undergrowth is beginning to glow the gold of the Rockies.
hints of what is to come
gold in the hills
By the time we got home I noticed the toffee was set and… bloomed. I knew the temperature got a little too high. Darn. Jeremy didn’t seem to mind. I stood there frowning at the pile of bloomed chocolate on the toffee and he assured me that I’m learning and hey! look at all of this delicious toffee! It’s just like freshman chem lab.
back to the drawing board
from Candymaking (Kendrick and Atkinson)
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup blanched almonds, sliced or chopped
1 cup butter
12 oz. semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate
Butter a 15″x10″ jellyroll pan (I used a silpat); set aside. In a saucepan, combine corn syrup, water, and sugar. Heat on high (360°F or 180°C). Stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, bring mixture to a boil. Add almonds (I would add these much later) and butter; stir until almonds are brown. [Jen's note: the mixture will be pale yellow and it will bubble for several minutes while you stir. Watch the temperature, keep stirring, and as it passes the hard crack stage, it will begin turning darker as the temperature rises. When it reaches 360°F, remove from heat.] Pour candy into prepared pan. As candy begins to set, score lines with a heavy knife. Allow candy to cool completely at room temperature. Break along scored lines. Temper chocolate and pour over candy or enrobe pieces. Sprinkle salt on top before chocolate has set. Makes 1 1/2 pounds.