Ahhh, Christmas. Such a complicated time of the year. Shopping, baking, decorating, it’s hard to imagine that it will all get done, but somehow it does. I don’t know why I feel if I don’t bake candy and cookies it won’t be right. I know many women who also do much baking before or around the holidays for their families, so, hang in there!
I remember when I was a kid my mom would bake so many yummy treats and we would gobble them up! My mom worked so she would start baking early and then freeze a lot of things for Christmastime. We had a fridge and freezer in our basement where she would store her treasure. Little did we know that she was indulging in her hidden stash! One day she emerged from the basement with chocolate on her face. We all started laughing and said, “Have you been eating the toffee?” Of course, she denied it at first, but she was BUSTED!! After that, it was open season on freezer toffee in our house!
Nowadays, my kids are enjoying the holidays and happily munching their way through many of the same cookies and candy I enjoyed when I was little. I put a bowl of Lindt Lindor truffles out the other day. It took my kids a couple of days to spot it but today I found MANY wrappers under the dining room table. I know just who the culprit is, but it still made me laugh and reminded me of my mom sneaking candy.
It’s impossible to stay away from all the treats. The season is short so go ahead and enjoy this candy. You will LOVE it. It’s from my Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, which is about 20 years old. The recipe is the same as my mom used to make and I’m sure they still have it in the newer versions. I changed it a bit to my taste and this is the recipe I use. I just use more nuts and chocolate than the original.
I use a candy thermometer with a clip so I can attach it to the side of my pan. I use a large stainless steel saucepan. Be careful because once the toffee reaches 280 degrees F it can burn in the blink of an eye. If you don’t have a candy thermometer you can use the old standby of dropping a little bit of hot candy into a bowl of cool water and then test it to determine the stage.
For this recipe you would cook the candy until it is at the soft-crack stage. When dropped into the water, the candy separates into hard, but pliable and elastic threads. This is just before the candy is at the hard-crack stage; hard, brittle threads that snap easily.
Toffee Butter Crunch by Better Homes and Gardens
- 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, almonds or pecans-I use walnuts
- 1 cup butter-don’t substitute anything for the butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate pieces
- 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts, almonds or pecans
Line a 13x9x2 inch baking pan with foil, extending the foil over the edges. Sprinkle the cup of coarsely chopped nuts in the pan. Butter sides of a heavy 2 quart saucepan. In saucepan melt butter. Add sugar, corn syrup and 3 tablespoons of water. Cook and stir over medium-high heat to boiling.
Clip candy thermometer to pan. Make sure thermometer is not touching the bottom of the pan. Cook and stir over medium heat to 290 degrees F, soft-crack stage, about 15 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat; remove thermometer. Pour mixture into prepared pan over nuts. Spread with spatula, if necessary. Let stand one minute. Sprinkle with chocolate pieces. Let stand 1 to 2 minutes. When chocolate is softened, spread over candy mixture. Sprinkle with finely chopped nuts.
Chill the candy until it is a little cool, just for a few minutes. Using a sharp knife, make cuts into the candy for the size of pieces you want. Chill till firm. Lift candy out of pan, break into pieces. Store tightly covered.