Espresso Toffee with Chocolate and Cashews

I was planning to make some pistachio macaroons this morning, but ended up with cashews instead of pistachios (long story).  I remembered some espresso toffee bars that my grandfather made a few Christmases ago and decided I needed to try and re-create them.  I found a basic toffee recipe on epicurious.com and tweaked it a little bit to make these beauties.

I like the slight bitterness that the espresso contributes, but if you are more of a toffee traditionalist, you can definitely omit it.  I added some cream in with the chocolate to soften up the texture a little bit (a nice contrast with the crunchy toffee) but it’s fine to omit that too.  I think almonds would also be delicious here.
Candy is a wonderful thing to make because it just boils away on the stove, making the kitchen smell fantastic, and you don’t need to do much more than keep your eye on the thermometer.
Recipe:
(adapted from epicurious.com)
1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup golden syrup (or corn syrup)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp instant espresso
pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 tbsp heavy cream
1/2 cup chopped roasted and salted cashews

Combine sugar, syrup, butter, vinegar, water, espresso, and salt in a heavy 2-quart saucepan.

Bring to a boil over medium high heat, and let boil until a candy thermometer reads 290F.
This may take a little while
Alright, we’re boiling.
Getting closer!
Just about there!
After it reaches 290F, your kitchen may be smelling a little like burnt sugar but don’t worry, you haven’t ruined your toffee.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. This will cause some serious bubbling so stand back!
Pour into a greased 13 x 9″ metal pan and tilt it to distribute evenly.
Once it has set (20-ish minutes), melt the cream and chocolate together in the top of a double boiler and stir until smooth.
Spread evenly over the toffee, then sprinkle the cashews over the chocolate.  Chill about 30 minutes, or until the chocolate has firmed up, then break into pieces to serve.
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