A few weeks ago my husband and I bought Amazon Local tickets to one of those chocolate tasting fairs, where you pay an entrance fee and then, once you’ve got your badge and your hand is stamped, it’s a chocolate free for all, with small gourmet and specialty chocolate companies packed into a huge convention center, all practically flinging their chocolate samples at you. We tasted chocolate with Thai chilies, with guava, allspice and orange, lavender, and even gold leaf…but actually the most memorable tastes to come out of the afternoon were two classic toffees. One was walnut, and the other was white chocolate, both of which I’m going to try to recreate. First the walnut. You only need four super commonplace ingredients to make it: butter, sugar, walnuts and dark chocolate chips. The toffee is crunchy but not jaw-breaking. The large proportion of chopped walnuts gives it a wonderful texture. I just loved it, and so did everyone else in the house.
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 rounded cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts for garnish
- Line a square 9x9 baking pan with foil, leaving the ends overlapping the edges so you can lift the toffee out when it has set for easier cutting.
- Put the butter and sugar in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.
- Gently boil the mixture, stirring almost constantly, until it darkens in color and reaches 285F on a candy thermometer.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped walnuts. Pour the hot candy into the prepared pan, smoothing out with a spatula. Be very careful as this is very hot.
- Scatter the chocolate chips evenly across the surface of the toffee and let sit for a couple of minutes to let the chocolate melt. Spread the chocolate out evenly with a spreader. Then top with chopped nuts, pressing them in gently so they will stick to the chocolate.
- Let cool until set, either at room temperature, or in the refrigerator.
- Remove the foil and cut into pieces.
I recommend giving this a try if you need any last minute gifts. You can’t go wrong with this one.
Tips for success:
- Have everything ready before you start. Get your pan lined with foil. Measure out the chocolate chips and chop all the walnuts. Once you start cooking it will go fast, and you need to move quickly.
- You will need a clip on candy thermometer for this, and most candy recipes. They are easy to find, even at the grocery store.
- Use a heavy bottomed pot so the heat is conducted evenly.
- Stir the toffee almost continuously while it is cooking.