Okay, I had NO IDEA just how easy it is to make English Toffee... crispy, buttery, sweet and salty English Toffee. In all honesty I made three, yes 3, batches of it just last week. Yes, I have away most of it but still. So, all you need is some butter, some sugar, a pinch of salt, dash of vanilla, and some chocolate chips (dark, semi-sweet, your preference). Oh and a candy thermometer. If you don't have one I highly recommend you invest in one. They are not expensive and are one of the greatest kitchen tools you never knew you needed. I love mine! (Wilton Candy Thermometer *not a paid endorsement)
So step one is to get yourself a good pot, not too small, and melt the butter, sugar, and salt together. Once it starts really going I toss in 2 tbsp of water, it helps keep the temperature normalized so the butter doesn't separate). Here's the important part - DO NOT STIR! Believe me! I learned the hard way - 3 failed batches - that you do NOT want to stir, or really even touch, caramel. Swirl the pan. That's it, just swirl. Now and again you can use a wet basting brush or the very tip of a silicone spatula and carefully scrape down the sides of the pot, but NEVER stir the caramel. After that it's just a matter of waiting for it to reach hard crack stage (305F), adding the vanilla, pouring it out and topping with some chocolate and salty goodness (I always use Maldon sea salt but you could use toasted almonds, or really anything slightly salty).
1 C unsalted butter
1 C granulated sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 C chocolate chips
Malton sea salt or Fleur de Sel (toasted almonds, whatever you choose) optional
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat. Set aside.
To a medium sauce pot attach your candy thermometer. Over medium heat melt together the butter, sugar, and salt, stirring a little to get it started and combined. Once it starts to bubble up leave it alone (and leave it on medium heat!) This is usually when I add the water but it's probably safe to add it with the rest at the beginning.
Leave the pot alone, swirling occasionally, until the temperature reaches 305F. Be careful towards the end as the last few degrees climb fairly quickly.
Once you've reached 305F and your mixture is a glorious nutty brown colour quickly mix in your vanilla and pour the mixture into your prepared pan. Using an offset spatula spread to your desired thickness (be careful, it starts to set quickly).
In a heat proof bowl melt your chips in the microwave in 30 second intervals, thoroughly stirring between sessions. Once your chips have melted carefully pour over your caramel and spread to the edges. How much you use will come down to the size of your caramel and the desired thickness of chocolate (I like thick caramel with thin chocolate). Use your discretion here.
If using the sea salts I recommend allowing the chocolate to set a little before sprinkling on the salt (don't want to just disappear into the chocolate) but if using any sort of nut go ahead and add it now so it gets "glued" on by the chocolate as it sets. Once your toffee is topped to your liking just allow it to chill in the fridge until the chocolate is fully set. Then break it apart and away you go!
I like to store mine in the fridge for a good firm chocolate but I believe it holds fairly well in a sealed container on the counter. Your call.
That's it that's all, I think. Good luck and be sure to share, everyone's going to want a piece!
*note: if you find the chocolate separates from the toffee it's probably because it was a tad buttery, next time wait until the toffee has set a little more firmly and very gently pat/wipe the top with a paper towel to remove any butter that may be sitting on top. Then continue with the chocolate, etc.
**note 2: I discovered with my last batch that chocolate that is not fully set will also have a tendency to "let go" when you're trying to break it all apart. Fridge is your friend here.
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