Friday, September 5, 2008
Toffee, Not Coffee
My husband Randy doesn't drink coffee. Not only does he not drink it, he doesn't like it. In case you are wondering, you are allowed to live in Seattle if you don't like coffee, but you have to plead your case in front of a jury.
To add insult to injury, he doesn't like coffee flavored things - so things like Mud Pie and Tiramisu are out. (However, we ordered a sky high slice of Mud Pie at the Pioneer Saloon in Sun Valley and I noticed that he ate his share. Hmmmmm.)
I know, between the beets and the coffee, it's a wonder I married him. He does have many redeeming qualities, one of which being that he is very smart. I mean, really smart. Like has two master's degrees, one of which from that school back East that starts with an "H". So it really tickled me when I offered him some of this amazing toffee the other day. He said he didn't like toffee. I said, "It's basically hardened caramel, peanuts, and chocolate - what's not to like?" After careful consideration he said, "I think I think I don't like it because toffee rhymes with coffee." OK, Mr. Mensa, glad we cleared that up. As my (blond) neighbor Deb said, "That is such a blond comment!"
After a taste, I was unable to keep his hand out of the bag. For you coffee haters out there, don't discriminate against delicious things that rhyme with your hatred! This toffee is easy, decadent enough for a dinner party, and it makes a ton - and keeps well. Hup to!
Chocolate Peanut Toffee
Makes about 3 pounds
I was unable to fit this pan in my freezer, so I put it in the fridge for about 2 hours. It hardened just fine.
4 sticks (1lb) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
4 cups whole cocktail peanuts, plus 1 cup chopped (1 lb. 10 oz.)
8 oz. 70%-cacao bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Equipment: a 15 by 10 by 1 inch baking pan (also called a jelly roll pan), a candy thermometer, a metal offset spatula
Butter baking pan and put on a heatproof surface.
Bring butter, sugar, and salt to a boil in a 4-5 quart heavy pot over medium-high heat, whisking until smooth, then boil, stirring occasionally, until mixture is deep golden and registers 300 degrees on thermometer, 15-20 minutes.
Immediately stir in whole peanuts, then carefully pour hot toffee into center of baking pan. Spread with spatula, smoothing top, and let stand 1 minute, then immediately sprinkle chocolate on top. Let stand until chocolate is melted, 4-5 minutes, then spread over toffee with cleaned spatula. Sprinkle evenly with chopped peanuts, then freeze until chocolate is firm, about 30 minutes. Break into pieces.
Toffee keeps in an airtight container at room temperature for two weeks.