I know, where have I been? The past few months kinda got away from me. I’ve admittedly had way too much going on between work, grad school, and life in general being
more than crazy. While it would have been a lot more fun to hide from my research papers and personal life by blogging, it wouldn’t exactly have been the most productive plan.
But, I’m back! Considering summer is my busiest time of year, I’m not sure how often I’ll be posting, but I’ll be around.
Shortly before I left you for my productive hiatus, I had attempted a recipe involving candy that turned into a complete and utter fiery disaster. You can read about my
expert use of a fire extinguisher here. I decided to redeem myself and made my white chocolate macadamia nut toffee for Easter. To say this went better than the candied popcorn is thankfully a huge understatement. Below I included my step-by-step instructions, with pictures, so that you don’t end up with the inferno that was my oven on St. Patrick’s Day. However if you do, indeed, almost burn your kitchen down, I’d love to hear about it. And see pictures.
Straight to the point: White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Toffee is amazing. It looks impressive and tastes like you slaved over it, but it’s really quite simple. Disclaimer: I don’t do food photography. These are “barely have time while I’m rushing around but managed to grab my iPhone” pictures. Maybe someday. You can also scroll down for the “super straight to the point” version, which is just the recipe.
First arrange a cake pan (I find that a standard 9-inch round pan works well for this recipe) with aluminum foil so it is covered on the bottom and at least halfway up the sides. I use two pieces, but be sure they are well placed so none of the mixture will seep through the seam. Butter the aluminum foil and sprinkle in a handful of white chocolate chips and roughly chopped hazelnuts. The amount and ratio really depend on your taste – It’s hard to overdo it.
In a sturdy pot, mix together a stick and a half of unsalted butter, 3 tablespoons of light corn syrup, and 3/4 cup of granulated sugar over low heat. It’s okay for it to be a sloppy mess like this…
because after stirring constantly (and when I say constantly throughout this recipe, I mean constantly. This mixture burns ultra fast if it sits for even a few seconds too long) for about a minute you’ll have a beautiful sauce that looks like this:
Turn the heat up to medium and continue to stir constantly, even as the “sauce” bubbles, because it goes from the smooth mixture above to the bubbly, frothy, gooey [technical term] mixture below within seconds. This is where there the danger of burning the toffee gets pretty high.
Now you need to keep a very, very close eye on the color of the mixture and be very aware of anything that smells even remotely like burning. If you smell just a hint of burning, get the toffee off the stove immediately. I’ve found that the perfect color for the toffee is what you see below – I originally had expected a darker color, but this lovely caramel color is how I can tell that I’m ready to rock and roll. If you wait for it to get any darker, it will burn.Trust me, the toffee will get darker on its own as it settles. It usually takes me anywhere between 12-15 minutes to get here.
Immediately pour the toffee into the prepared pie pan. Using approximately the same ratio as you did earlier, sprinkle more of the white chocolate chip/macadamia nut mixture on top so it looks like this:
From this point, it’s smooth sailing. I usually give the toffee an hour or two to set up before breaking it and sometimes make a second batch while the first is settling. When you’re ready, lift the toffee out by the aluminum foil. Flip it upside down and gently remove the foil – Some bits might get stuck and you may have some where the seam was, but you can chisel it away fairly easily. Then simply use your hands to break the pieces apart however you like. The pieces won’t be symmetrical or uniform, which is fine – they shouldn’t be. They just have to be delicious.
Super straight to the point:
- Macadamia nuts (roughly chopped)
- White chocolate chips
- Stick and a half unsalted butter
- 3 tbsp light corn syrup
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- Line a baking pan (such as a 9-inch round cake pan) with aluminum foil, ensuring foil goes at least halfway up the sides. Butter the foil.
- Sprinkle a mixture of white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts around the bottom of the pan. It does not need to cover the entire pan.
- In a pot over low heat, mix the butter, corn syrup, and sugar. Stir constantly.
- When melted and smooth, increase heat to medium and continue to stir constantly until the mixture is a LIGHT caramel color. (If at any point you smell anything that even remotely hints at burning, remove the mixture from the stove immediately.)
- Directly from the stove, pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle more white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts over the top of the mixture.
- Let sit for one to two hours to settle and cool. Peel aluminum foil from toffee and use your hands to break into pieces.
I’ll admit it took me several tries to get this right, which is why I posted so many pictures. Hopefully they’ll be helpful in keeping you confident that you’re on the right track! If you have trouble, try again. Corn syrup and sugar are very fickle and will turn on you in an instant. When you get it right, though, it’s definitely worth it.