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Published December 14th, 2016
Terrific Toffee for the Holidays
Delicious holiday toffee doesn't have to be difficult to make. Photos Susie Iventosch

I usually shy away from making toffee at home because I've failed at it numerous times. It has turned out chewy, or burned, or even completely separated by cooking it to the point of no return. I usually just wait for my neighbor, Paula, to make her annual holiday trek bearing tins of her awesome toffee. I heed the warning: Don't try this at home. So, when my son asked me to teach him how to make toffee this year, I was reluctant, nervous really. How about making croissants, like your sister wanted to do?
But, when the next gens ask you to teach them how to cook something, I believe you have to give it your best shot. Well, try we did, and although I was skeptical to the very end, we were both extremely pleased with the outcome. Maybe it was his magic touch, or perhaps the marble slab we used, or maybe even the fact this recipe does not call for water, but our toffee turned out to be one of the best either of us had ever tasted. It was crunchy just like it's supposed to be, and the dark chocolate and toasted nuts were a great compliment.
I hope you have as much luck as we did on our batch. It may really just have been pure luck this time, but it has given me hope to try it again!
If you plan to make this toffee, be sure to have an accurate candy thermometer and the patience to try again, if at first you don't succeed.
2 cups salted butter
2 cups white sugar
Dash salt
2 cups dark or bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1/2 cup sliced or chopped almonds, toasted
Prepare a large baking sheet by lining it with either parchment paper or foil, or better yet, if you have a marble slab, that is a fantastic surface for letting the toffee set up after it's cooked.
Toast both the pecans and almonds on a baking sheet in a 400-degree oven, or in a dry frying pan over medium-high heat, until they are browned and become fragrant, approximately 5-7 minutes. Set aside. (We toasted them separately, so we could use one kind of nut on each half of the toffee, but you could certainly mix the two nuts, if you'd like to.)
Place butter, sugar and salt in a heavy large pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon until the butter melts. Then, bring the mixture to a boil and continue to cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally and gently, until the temperature reaches 285 degrees and it turns to a dark amber color. This may take a while, especially if your burner is on the lower side of medium. We checked the temperature frequently with the candy thermometer. Once our candy reached 285 degrees, we cooked it just another minute or so to get the right color, but here is where you and run the risk of overcooking and burning it or separating it, so tread lightly at this point. You want to cook until it reaches the right temperature and the right color, but without separating or burning.
Once you've reached the right color and temperature, pour the mixture out onto your prepared surface. Evenly sprinkle the chocolate chips over the toffee and as they melt, spread with a spatula to cover entire surface. Immediately sprinkle with nuts and press nuts into the chocolate, using your hand or a spatula.
Cool toffee completely, and then break into pieces. Store in an airtight container. Actually, you might not have to worry about storing ... it will be gone before you know it!
Have fun and good luck!

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