Blogs > Cooking from Scratch

Chef Stacy believes that cooking from scratch and using the best ingredients are the secrets to preparing delicious and memorable meals. She has created dozens of classes for the home chef and teaches students how to master culinary techniques and recipes in just one session. Read on to see what she's dishing up for The Oakland Press today....

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tricky Toffee

With Christmas just a few days away, our attention at Mirepoix turned to Holiday Cookies & Candy and all of the delicious possibilities. Like everything else, it seems that everyone has their old standby recipes that appear in the cookie exchanges & buffet tables; we wanted to feature our twists on some of the old favorites.

The usual suspects are fudge, toffee, brittle and bark. Our fudge recipe featured the irresistable flavors of Rocky Road - roasted peanuts, marshmallows and dark chocolate. Peppermint bark, made with tempered white and dark chocolates is simple, but requires a healthy helping of patience. My personal favorite was the spicy bacon & nut brittle that I've been tinkering with all week - it's even more interesting and fabulous than you can imagine!

Toffee was the trickiest project of the afternoon. Toffee is generally pretty straightforward to prepare, but, in some cases, you can be met with disaster. Here are the tips you need to follow to turn toffee from tricky to terrific:

1. Use the widest pot you have - cooking sugar solutions is much easier when you are using a pot with a nice, wide surface.

2. Resist the urge to stir compulsively - as a general rule of thumb, stirring a sugar solution is almost universally a really bad idea. Don't go crazy, stir with caution.

3. Use a reliable candy thermometer, if you are unfamiliar at cooking sugar solutions.

4. Dab the additional fat off of the top of the toffee before spreading on your tempered chocolate, otherwise, the chocolate will not stick to the toffee.

Following these tips will ensure that your toffee turns out perfectly every time. Here's our recipe for you to enjoy.

Terrific Toffee

1 cup granulated sugar
6 oz. Plugra butter
1 tsp. salt
1 oz. light corn syrup

toasted almonds, as needed (about 1/2 cup)
tempered chocolate (do not use chocolate chips)

In a large sauce pot, melt the sugar with the butter, salt and corn syrup.
Allow to boil until a candy thermometer reads 300 for the mixture.

Pour onto a parchment lined sheet pan and spread quickly with an offset spatula. Dab off any additional butter. Top with tempered chocolate and sprinkle with toasted almonds. Allow to harden. Break into pieces. Store airtight.


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