Marla Bosworth is the founder and owner of Back Porch Soap Company. She teaches classes, corporate events and experiences including candle making, soap making, organic skincare and perfumery.

November 30, 2010

Day Two of Five Days of Holiday Baking Recipes: Mouth-watering Mahogany Buttercrunch Toffee

Today is day two of Five Days of Holiday Baking Recipes. Yesterday I shared my Top Secret Holiday Cookie recipe. Fasten your seatbelts, because today's favorite comes from Rose Levy Beranbaum. I "discovered" Rose back in the 1990s when this recipe was featured in The Boston Globe Magazine. At first I was a bit overwhelmed just glancing at the recipe - I was comfortable with baking, but had never made English toffee. If this recipe looks intimidating to you, just try it once. Compared to soap recipes, it really is a breeze!

Why is this recipe in my Five Days of Holiday Baking Recipes? Well it isn't technically baking, but this toffee makes a fabulous addition to holiday treats. Your friends and family will be impressed - this toffee looks and tastes uber gourmet. The brown sugar gives a beautiful mahogany color to the toffee and the baking soda ensures that it is brittle and not sticky.

Pick a cold, dry day and make sure you have a candy thermometer on hand.

Rose Levy Beranbaum's Mahogany Buttercrunch Toffee

(Makes about 1 lb. or 10, 5 inch pieces)
2 cups blanched, sliced almonds
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 Tablespoons water
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3 oz. semisweet chocolate

Adjust the oven racks so they divide the oven into thirds. Set oven at 350 degrees F.

Have on hand a nonstick or buttered cookie sheet and a candy thermometer.

Spread almonds on a cookie sheet and bake them, stirring occasionally for 10-12 minutes or until they are golden brown. Let cool completely.

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse the machine in on-off motions until the almonds aer finely chopped but not powdery.
Sprinkle half the nuts over a 7 x 10 inch area on the cookie sheet. Set it near the burners; you'll need to grab it quickly. Have the vanilla and baking soda nearby as well.

In a heavy-based saucepan, preferably nonstick, combine the brown sugar, water and butter. Bring to a boil, stirring constatly, until the mixture reaches 285 degrees F on a candy thermometer. This is the soft crack stage (a little of the mixture dropped into a bowl of ice water will separate into threads that are hard but not brittle.)

Immediately remove the saucepan from the heat and add the vanilla and baking soda. Pour the toffee mixture carefully and evenly onto the nuts, keeping within the 7 x 10 rectangle.

Working quickly, scatter the chocolate onto the toffee. Press the chocolate lightly with your fingertips so it starts melting.

Let it sit for five minutes. The chocolate will be soft enough to spread with a metal spatula or butter knife. Make an even layer over the surface of the toffee. Dust the chocolate with the remaining almonds. Leave the toffee to cool completely, then break it into irregular pieces. You can store the toffee in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a month.


Donna Maria @ Indie Business said...

I love Rose Levy Beranbaum! I have one of her cookbooks around here somewhere and you've inspired me to dig it out. Thanks for this great series -- what a super idea!

Anonymous said...

The picture is mouth watering!!

Beth said...

That looks yummy, Marla! Your photography is good, too. :-)

backporchsoap said...

Thanks, ladies! Donna Maria - I also posted a link to her website which looks fabulous and full of recipes.

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