Ok.. finally posting my favorite candy recipe.. I usually make batches of the stuff for Xmastime, and have hooked a few folks. Beware, this stuff is addicting!
1/2 pound butter (2 sticks) 1/2 pound white sugar (1 cup) 12 oz. chocolate (1 pack of chocolate chips) chopped nuts, vanilla extract. Makes a bit more than a pound of toffee.
candy thermometer, aluminum foil, saucepan with heavy bottom, jelly roll pan, or cookie sheet with sides that go up a little another cookie sheet, or any clean flat thing that size, and a good trivet to put the pan on so it won’t burn your countertop, a good wooden spoon for stirring.
Put butter and sugar into saucepan and cook it over medium-high heat until the mixture reaches 300° (“hard crack” stage). I add about a tsp of vanilla extract as well before it cooks too long. This is the most boring part of making the toffee, because you have to stir it pretty much constantly while it cooks, so that the bottom of the mixture won’t burn. I usually like to listen to the radio while I do this part. Don’t be tempted to turn the heat way up so it will reach 300° sooner, because then the mixture may not be as smooth and nice as it would otherwise be.
When the mixture reaches 300°, pour it onto the cookie sheet. Tilt it around if you need to get it evenly distributed, but be careful..the pan will be HOT HOT. Then put the jelly roll pan aside on a trivel to cool a little.**
Hints: I don’t always use a candy thermometer, but I stir this mixture CONSTANTLY, and it usually takes about 15minutes.. it goes from a stage of just mixed butter/sugar, to a frothy, then curdly stage, then suddenly gets smooth and dark .. this is the stage to watch out for.. and take off the heat ASAP, it’s also a good time to put the candy thermometer in when the toffee starts to change color. It’s very easy to go past the just smooth stage and burn the toffee, so be careful. This stuff hardens very fast, so as soon as you get to the hard crack stage, make sure your jelly roll pan (lined with aluminum foil is best) is sitting nearby on a table (on a trivet, as this pan will get HOT) and start pouring that toffee.
Melt half the chocolate chips, and pour the melted chocolate onto the hardened toffee. Spread it on evenly with a spatula, and sprinkle on whatever quantity of chopped nuts* is esthetically pleasing to you.
*(Note: I like to start with the chopped nuts in the pan and then pour the toffee over the nuts.)
**(Also… often I like to let the toffee harden just a bit, but it is still very warm, and sprinkle the chocolate chips on the top, wait a few minutes till they get soft from the toffee heat, and then spread them over the hardening toffee)
Then put the whole pan in the fridge.
When the chocolate is hardened, you can take the toffee out and break it into manageable pieces. Some of the chocolate always comes off in this process, and some of the pieces don’t break in the optimal way, but this actually makes a good excuse for you to taste the broken pieces.