Tis the season that I become candy cooking fool making yummy things for my clients, family and friends. This was the perfect week for it as we finally got some wintertime weather and it was way too cold to do anything outside! On Wednesday, my friend Michelle sent me a message with a video of a Chocolate Toffee that I should make. I normally don’t follow other peoples recipes but I decided to give this one a try because I was already knee deep in making candy. Why not right? Wrong! The dang recipe didn’t work, at all period. I posted a nice comment saying that I couldn’t make the recipe work and that I’d just make my own caramel recipe and turn it into a toffee. Weirdest thing happened, I got 100’s of private messages asking for my recipe because the recipe that was posted didn’t work for them either! Wow! I did love the idea of adding chocolate, almonds and sea salt to the top, so I ran with that!
I know that toffee and caramels are different animals. Toffee is just sugar, butter, water and vanilla cooked to a hard crack stage and caramel has added heavy whipping cream and cooked to a firm ball stage. While I like toffee, I think that if it’s not done right it takes on a burned sugar flavor and I really prefer a richer flavor of a caramel! So I decided to mix things up a bit and cut my caramel recipe in half and raise the cooking temperature to a “soft crack” stage instead of the normal “firm ball” for the caramel recipe. It totally works! The caramel has a bite to it that makes it seem like a toffee but it’s rich flavor is totally reminiscent of a yummy caramel! When the caramel is spread out thinly and coated with chocolate, nuts and a sprinkle of salt, you may realize that you have a new addiction when you eat it! If you enjoy making candy, Chocolate Toffee Caramel may be your new go to recipe. I know this will be my new treat to make and heck, it’s a lot easier than wrapping 1500 caramels each year!
- 2 sticks butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream, divided
- 1 tbs vanilla extract
- 1 bag good quality chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli 60% Cacao)
- 1 cup chopped almonds (or your favorite nuts)
- Flake sea salt (optional)
- In a large heavy Dutch oven (see picture) combine ½ cup of heavy whipping cream, butter, sugar and corn syrup. On low heat, stir mixture until the sugar and butter is melted. Make sure you scrape down the sides so everything is well incorporated.
- Attach the candy thermometer to the side of the Dutch oven and cook the mixture until it reaches 225 degrees. (Soft ball stage).
- Add the remaining ½ cup of whipping cream and vanilla. Cook until the soft crack stage on the candy thermometer. Stirring occasionally.
- Transfer mixture to a 15x17 cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and about ¼ cup of the nuts. NOTE: The caramel mixture will not fill the entire pan. Quickly spread out to a thin layer.
- Evenly drop the chocolate chips on top of the hot caramel. Wait about 2 minutes and spread evenly with a spatula.
- Top with the remaining nuts and sea salt.
- Refrigerate for an hour or so.
- Break apart the toffee into pieces for serving.
Cooking on a low temperature is important so that the candy doesn't cook too fast and burn.
Low and slow is best for making candy. The process doesn't happen quick and shouldn't. Pay attention to your thermometer as it is your candy making friend. On your second stage of the process and once you reach the soft ball stage for the second time,really watch the thermometer and stir more frequently. At this point you will see the color changing to a nice caramel color.
In Denver, this process takes about 45 minutes. At sea level it will take less time and at really high altitude it will take longer. This is why it's important to watch your thermometer.