Thursday, May 28, 2009

Random Question Thursday

What's your favorite recipe and why?
*Bonus points if you share how to make it.

It's no secret that my cooking skills leave a lot to be desired. While the foods of sustenance (breakfast-lunch-and-dinner) give me little or no pleasure at all, the treats of decadence (desserts) make me happy to toil away in kitchenland.

So. With Ittybit's upcoming gradution from the Marilla Cuthbert Academy for Unspeakably Charming Children, I've been rhumanatin' on what to give her teachers. In the past I've given them etsy-made single pack tissue covers, hand-made (not by me) bath bombs and, as it was so elegantly renamed by my husband, chocolate covered compost.

The idea of food gifts has made me practically giddy with delight lately, especially in light of our upcoming (though still unscheduled) move.

But what about the final hurrah? The last impression?

I decided the prettiest, easiest thing I could make was Chocolate Covered Toffee.

So ... using a pilfered recipe from the Interwebs, I added (and subtracted) a few ingredients and voila! Candy.

Here's the gist:

4 sticks of salted butter
2 cups of granulated sugar
6 tablespoons of water
2 tablespoons of vanilla
1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
A half a cup of blanched almonds, lightly ground into a chunky dust
A candy thermometer
A large pot
Baking sheets (use one for thick candy, two for thinner candy.
Parchment paper (to line baking sheets).

Prepare baking sheet and almonds in advance, set aside.
Throw butter, sugar, water and vanilla in the pot and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Put candy thermometer in so that it's NOT touching the bottom of the pot and keep stirring. I had to hold the thermometer in one hand and stir with the other, (stupid thick-sided pan!) so I really thought seriously about fudging and not bringing the mixture all the way to hard-crack (300 degrees). But I resisted laziness persevered ... it's only about 25 minutes. ... right?

Once the velvety goo reaches the magic 300 degree mark, remove from heat and pour onto the parchment-lined baking sheets. Dump the chocolate chips over the hot toffee a wait until they melt. Spread the chocolate over the top, then sprinkle with the almond dust. Let it cool for a few hours. ... in the fridge if you have room ... and then break it into little bits.

I'm slightly proud of myself that I was able to salvage two glass jars (doing nothing but collecting dust and holding dry beans from 1999) so that I could nix a trip to Target and the very real potential that a quest for two glass jars (perhaps $8) would end up costing $80 in additional purchases.

UPSIDE: EASY homemade gift, two fewer things to move from one house to another, and zero dollars spent on impulse purchases.

DOWNSIDE: There's a week left until the graduation and I don't think the natives will ignore such yumminess staring them straight in the face every time one of them opens the fridge. Might be forced to repete recipe next week (in middle of the night and in total secrecy).

It will be worth it: success never tasted sweeter, sweartogod.


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