Apr 12, 2011

Coffee Toffee

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Let’s talk favorite things, shall we? Since I’m the one asking the rhetorical questions here, I’ll go first. Cue the Julie Andrews…here are a few of my favorite things:

  • Fresh notebooks
  • Offset spatulas
  • Fleetwood Mac
  • Back-to-back episodes of Storage Wars
  • Little C singing to the Annie soundtrack, loudly
  • A drawer full of clean dish towels
  • Lillet and soda
  • Espresso powder for baking
  • Pecans by the handful
  • Sugar and butter bubbling on the stove
Now, I may not have Oprah-level Favorite Things, but that’s all right by me. Because I’ve found a way to combine the last few items of my personal favorite things list and my mind is of sort of blown by the whole thing. So take that, Oprah!
Then again, I guess making Coffee Toffee is what I would call an Oprah-level (“Life-chaaaangiiing!!! Life. Changing. Lifechanging.”) moment. Dang. Oprah wins every time, doesn’t she?
Well…psshh-shaa. Whatever. I bet Oprah doesn’t even make her own candy.



But maybe Oprah would make her own Coffee Toffee is she knew how dead simple it was. It takes little more than butter, sugar, pecans and espresso powder to make the magic happen. I don’t see how this could not go well, do you?

This recipe is a riff on my Gifting Toffee, the confection that I turn out of my kitchen roughly 100 times during the holiday season. People go bananas for that stuff, I’m telling you. It’s akin to currency for some. But here I’ve decided to forgo the chocolate. Now, before you gasp and get all concerned, you’ll be happy to know that the healthy dose of chunky pecans and je ne sais quoi that comes courtesy of espresso powder more than make up for the lack of chocolate. Plus, leaving the toffee naked really lets the irresistible flavors of browned butter and caramelized sugar shine. With a nice smattering of salt in the mix for balance, oooh-weeee. Let’s just say if you give little bags of this stuff away, people will crown you the Oprah of Candy. Or something equally as epic.

Coffee Toffee

If your pecans are on the large side (I will refrain from a dirty joke here), then break them in half so they’ll distribute more evenly throughout the candy. I like Diamond kosher salt for its clean flavor, and sometimes even use fleur de sel if I’m feeling fancy. For Morton kosher salt or table salt, use half the amount.

Makes about 2 pounds

1/2 pound unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1 teaspoon kosher salt (see note)
1 cup plus 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon corn syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 cup raw pecans halves

Line a rimmed baking sheet with a nonstick baking mat, or line it completely with aluminum foil and spray it with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, begin melting the butter over medium-high heat with the salt. Once the butter is about three-quarters melted, add the sugar all at once, followed by the corn syrup, and begin stirring immediately. Continue stirring, gently in a figure-eight motion, until the butter is completely melted and the sugar has begun to dissolve, about 5 minutes–the mixture will turn from looking like a separated mess into something much more smooth and homogenous. It will also just begin to bubble at this point and take on a lovely blond shade. Turn the heat down to medium-low and stir the candy occasionally. Think low and slow–the bubbling will be sort of groovy and dreamy-looking, not a full, rapid boil.

Once you notice a change in the color of the candy–about 10-15 minutes later–clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan, making sure it doesn’t touch the bottom of the pan. Continue stirring occasionally. You are looking for the candy to take on a beautiful, creamy toffee color and hit a temperature of 290 degrees (soft crack stage). When it has climbed to about 285 degrees, pull the pan from the heat (the temperature will continue to rise on its own). Quickly mix in the vanilla and the espresso powder, stirring until the powder is well-blended. Stir in the pecans.

Quickly pour the toffee onto the prepared baking sheet, and use an offset spatula to smooth it as evenly as possible (it will not fill the entire pan). Set the pan on a wire rack and cool completely. When the toffee is cool, break it into charmingly irregular pieces and store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

  • I agree that it's highly unlikely that Oprah makes her own candy. And also that Lillet and soda and fresh notebooks are worthy of being anybody's favorites. Plus, the real point of my comment: that toffee looks amazing! :)

  • And NOW I am going to have to waltz around my apartment, singing Julie Andrews approximately as loud as your Little C sings Annie. Except when I do it…I'm sure it's not as cute. I'll make up for the neighbors' sore eardrums by handing them some toffee. I think they'll forgive me, yeah? Looks awesome!

  • Favorite Things:
    Coffee
    Toffee

    Thank you for combining them! All you need to do is cover it in chocolate and we'll be all set…

  • This coffee toffee looks amazing! For some reason I had Favorite Things in my head last night lol.

  • Love the recipe and the fun rhyming name! The ingredients are definitely MY favorite things, so this has to be a winner. I'm saving this one.

  • I definitely approve of the espresso powder addition, this looks amazing!

  • Coffee toffee would definitely be on my list of favorite things. :)

  • Holy Cannolis! Coffee Toffee sounds like just about the best thing ever

  • Yummers! And for the record, I love pecans by the handful. And fresh notebooks, too.

  • Love coffee, love toffee so I must try this soon.

  • delicious looking homemade toffee

  • Coffee toffee- such a match made. All that buttery goodness and sweet coffee notes. Yes! Love your favorite things. I'm going to suggest listening to Fleetwood Mac while butter and sugar bubble on the stovetop. Best. Day. Ever. :)

  • First off, Oprah is not the boss of all the land. Your favorite things rival hers any day (plus–WAY more accessible)

    Second off, I LOVE toffee, even without chocolate. Butter and sugar, hello? What else do people want?

    Thirdly, if I am faced with large nuts (I went there for you), I will be sure to break them up. For the recipe. Like you said.

    I'm quitting before I get into too much trouble. Bye.

  • I'd take an offset spatula over an ipad any day. I'm thinking coffee toffee is a nice bribe; I wonder what Oprah thinks about that.

  • Love your favorite things list. I can really relate to the notebooks and the espresso powder for baking. Coffee toffee? Sounds almost too good to be true!

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    http://shayari10000.blogspot.com

  • Oh dear… I know I'm going to be in trouble with this one! Seriously thinking of scrapping my diet today!

    :)
    ButterYum

  • Love Coffee, like Toffee, and they rhyme, how could this not be Fabuloso?

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