Holiday Giving: Burnt Sugar Toffee with Chocolate and Toasted Walnuts

burnt sugar toffee

I started out life totally indifferent to chocolate. For my first ten years, I’d eat it when it was offered, but always preferred sweets that were based on vanilla, fruit or toffee flavors. Butter Pecan was my favorite ice cream flavor, and when Eleanor’s platter of holiday treats arrived each year, the first candies I went for were the homemade caramels.

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I did eventually come around to chocolate’s many charms, but I’ve still got a soft spot for caramels and toffee-based candies. In past years I’ve made those graham cracker toffees and pepita brittle. Last week, after having the page bookmarked for years now, I made this skillet toffee. Needless to say, I am a fool for it.

burnt sugar toffee

I made just a couple changes to the original recipe. I swapped in toasted walnuts for the almonds and I cooked it just a bit longer than called for. As I’ve aged, I’ve found that I like my candy to have an edge. I want sweets to have complexity and so when I cooked the butter and sugar together, I took it to the brink of of being burnt. It’s sweet and sharp and utterly entrancing. I can’t stop eating it and so am taking a good portion to the Philly Food Swap tomorrow so that I stop eating it hand over fist.

The recipe is after the jump…

Burnt Sugar Toffee with Chocolate and Toasted Walnuts

Ingredients

  • 1 pound unsalted butter
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup toasted and chopped walnuts

Instructions

  1. Line a rimmed half-sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Melt butter in a wide pot over medium-high heat. Stir in sugar and salt as the butter melts.
  3. Stir constantly with a silicone spatula, regularly scraping down the sides. It will bubble and hiss as you stir.
  4. Cook until the toffee mixture has achieved a deep, golden brown color. It will darken a bit more once you take it off the heat, so stop a shade lighter than you want the end product to be.
  5. Once you’ve reached your desired level of doneness, remove pot from the heat and stir in the vanilla. It will sputter and spit when you add the vanilla, so be careful.
  6. Pour the toffee into your prepared baking sheet. Let cool for approximately 10 minutes before evenly sprinkling the chocolate across the top. When the chocolate begins to melt, use an offset spatula to spread it out into an even layer.
  7. Sprinkle nuts across the warm chocolate and pat gently with your palms to embed the nuts into the chocolate.
  8. Let the toffee cool for 4-6 hours, until it becomes stiff and brittle. Break into pieces. Store in an airtight container. This candy will keep well at room temperature for weeks (if it lasts that long).

Notes

Recipe adapted from Skillet Toffee recipe on The Kitchn.

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35 Responses to Holiday Giving: Burnt Sugar Toffee with Chocolate and Toasted Walnuts

  1. 1
    marlon says:

    Is this what you brought to the party on Saturday? It was *delish*!

  2. 2
    Dawn says:

    Perfect timing! I’m collecting recipes for holiday candy/cookie trays and this sounds amazing!

  3. 3
    Miranda says:

    Um. This looks incredible! I’ll be making some tonight.

  4. 4
    Marin says:

    This is going viral in my world. Everybody is taking off work tomorrow to make burnt sugar toffee.

    Thank you!

  5. 5
    tj says:

    …Oh my. I will love this. I just know it. :o)

    …Thank you for sharing!

    …Blessings

  6. 6
    Sharon says:

    Very excited that it’ll be making a cameo at the swap tomorrow!

  7. 7
    rcakewalk says:

    I look forward to your gifts in jar posts… they are always great! I’m adding this one to my list for this year. (Along with your rosemary cashews that I seriously have been waiting all year for!)

    I also love the widemouth jar photo up top, those always remind me of my Gram: a running joke between her and my mother was to call them loudmouths (and I suspect that may have had something to do with my garrulous nature as a child…)

  8. 8
    Christine says:

    Made it with…… *drumroll*…. pecans! Response was “yum” and “more, please”.

  9. 9
    Winnie says:

    Yum! Love homemade toffee :)

  10. 10

    I was wondering if it is possible to replace walnuts with hazelnuts, since my kids are allergic to them?

  11. 11

    Oh, Marisa, you just made my day. I have been wanting to make some toffee for the holidays since my mom is a toffee nut. I love the idea of a burnt sugar version. Genius. It looks great in a jar, too! But of course.

  12. 12
    Andrea says:

    Jerk.

    You’ve singlehandely ruined my diet plans. ;) Instead, I will be making this for my husband to take to (mostly) to work. The ladies he works with are EXCELLENT guinea pigs…I mean, testers…

    I mean, coworkers who are willing to consume mass quantities of sweets in the name of my cooking ego. ;)

  13. 13
    Carolyn Covey says:

    Great idea. I’m attending a gifts in a jar class, with pie in a jar being featured next Saturday. I’m looking forward to trying some of your great ideas to take along and share. THANKS – this was just what I was looking for!

  14. 14
    Sarah says:

    Okaaayyyy,
    I have a lump of sugary goo in a bunch of butter……What went wrong????

    • 14.1
      marisa says:

      Sounds like you didn’t cook it nearly enough. The sugar should dissolve into the butter entirely and take on a deep, toasted color.

      • Marisa says:

        So I think I understand what happened to you, because it happened to me today when I tried to make a second batch. What happened is that the sugar separated from the fat and started to crystallize again. The way you can save a batch that’s done this is to slowly add some corn syrup or other invert (meaning liquid) sugar like a cane syrup. Reheat the separated toffee and add up to 1/2 cup syrup (start with just a tablespoon or two and add more until it re-emulsifies), whisking all the time. The toffee should come back together after a few minutes

        • Lesley says:

          This happened to me too.:/ It still tastes yummy, so I’m going to finish and see. There is some toffee in the pan cooling but it’s smothered in separated butter. :) Thanks for the tips!

  15. 15
    CherylK says:

    I’ve been trying to think of something else to make for an extra little gift for friends & family and this will be it! I think I’ll need to exercise some caution, though, or I’ll gobble it all up myself!

  16. 16

    […] toffee and nuts, can you? Here is a sweet and sharp, and utterly enthralling recipe for you – Burnt Sugar Toffee with Chocolate and Toasted Walnuts – which you can even pack in a jar and […]

  17. 17
    thinkingdj says:

    I am wondering if I can make this with brown sugar instead of white?

    • 17.1
      marisa says:

      I would not recommend it. When you use brown sugar (or any unrefined sugar, for that matter), it becomes very hard to tell whether the toffee is done. This leads to undercooking, which leads to frustration and heartache.

  18. 18
    Donna says:

    What is the liner I see you use in the cooking pans?

  19. 19
    Sam says:

    Just made this tonight, it looked so delicious I managed to overcome my intense fear of candy making and huge success! I also substituted pecans, because I didn’t have any walnuts on hand. Absolutely delicious, I don’t give it 24 hours…

  20. 20
    beckie says:

    what happenes of you use salted butter instead, oops!

  21. 21
    beckie says:

    Um my spatula melted in the toffee!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. 22

    […] batches of burnt sugar toffee with chocolate and walnuts (as well as a small portion made […]

  23. 23

    […] Marisa’s (from the amazing Food in Jars … please tell me you’re reading it!) Burnt Sugar Toffee with Chocolate and Toasted Walnuts. It’s delicious, fairly easy, and sure to impress. Recently I got a request for toffee, but […]

  24. 24
    Sara says:

    So…I burnt the toffee. I was about to decide it was done when it suddenly went really dark and started smoking A LOT and stunk up the whole room. I still put it on the pan, and I don’t want to waste it. Can I still eat it or will that give me cancer?

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    […] Marisa’s (from the amazing Food in Jars … please tell me you’re reading it!) Burnt Sugar Toffee with Chocolate and Toasted Walnuts. It’s delicious, fairly easy, and sure to impress. Recently I got a request for toffee, but […]

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