Chocolate Pecan Toffee
My mother stored all of her found recipes in a canvas notebook binder that was decorated with white and green daisies. Inside the covers were recipes that she collected over the years, including clippings from newspapers and magazines, handwritten concoctions given to her by friends, as well as family recipes passed down through the generations. On many of the recipes she added little notes about the results of her preparations such as Great! or Too sweet, add juice of one lemon.
This holy tome has now been passed on to me and I always reach for it when it comes time to prepare holiday foods, especially those that I have come to think of as a family tradition, like this recipe for chocolate pecan toffee. My mother used to make this candy every Christmas and it would hardly last a day before we gobbled it up.
It takes a little time and patience to prepare, but the buttery toffee topped with chocolate is well worth the effort.
Melt the butter in a large, heavy skillet over a medium heat until it becomes foamy, but not brown. Add the nuts and stir for about 1/2 a minute to get them well coated.
Add the sugar and water to the nuts and cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar begins to melt. This should take about 12 minutes, but the true indicator is when the mixture turns from a milky white to clear. It is important for the sugar to melt for the toffee to set properly.
Continue cooking and stirring the mixture until it is smooth and begins to brown, just about 2 or 3 minutes.
Remove the nutty syrup from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Once the vanilla is well incorporated pour the toffee into a buttered 13 x 9 inch pan. Set aside until completely cool.
Once the toffee has cooled and set, loosen it around the edges and then invert it on to a piece of wax paper. Set aside.
In a small saucepan or double boiler, melt chocolate over a very low heat, stirring constantly.
Once the chocolate is melted, spread it over the top of the toffee.
Place the toffee in the refrigerator to chill.
Once the chocolate has set, remove the toffee from the refrigerator and break it into small pieces. I accomplish this by hitting it with the back of a wooden spoon a few times.
Makes about 2 dozen pieces.
You can use almonds or walnuts in place of pecans, if you prefer.
Recipe provided by Rebecca Thompson.
Time to prepare: 40 minutes.
Serves 2 dozen pieces.