English toffee with a coffee twist!
There was a time during my twenty-something single days when I would walk down the ice cream aisle at the grocery store every week, and if my favorite flavor was on sale, I bought it. And then I would eat it late at night while binge watching Friends DVDs (this was before Netflix, kids).
Oh, to have that twenty-something metabolism back.
So what’s the flavor? It was Ben and Jerry’s Coffee Heath Bar Crunch, and it’s still a favorite. When I found a recipe for coffee flavored toffee in The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, and discovered that it was inspired by that same ice cream, I got excited.
The holiday season seemed like the perfect time to give this toffee variation a spin, and it did not disappoint. I love the subtle coffee flavor and the use of hazelnuts instead of pecans or almonds. Watch out family and friends, this just might be in your holiday goodie bags this year!
baking tip:How to prevent toffee from separating
It’s happened to me, and maybe it’s happened to you, your toffee is almost done cooking and the butter separates from the rest of the ingredients. So frustrating! Here are some tips to prevent it from happening again:
- Don’t change the heat suddenly, hot or cold. Try to keep the temperature even during the whole cooking process.
- Make sure to follow the instructions and stir as often as indicated to keep the mixture together.
- Try to use a heavy bottomed pan that will distribute the heat evenly.
If your toffee separates, there still is hope! Remove it from the heat and stir constantly until the mixture comes back together, and then gradually return it to the heat while continuing to stir. You can also add a tablespoon or two of very hot water and whisk it into the toffee to try to get it back together.
If the toffee separates after you’ve poured it out of the pan, it is unfortunately passed the point of saving.
- 1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup (56 grams) light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons molasses
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso
- 1 cup (170 grams) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup (70 grams) toasted Diamond of California chopped hazelnuts (or nut of your choice)
- Line a small sheet pan with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
- In a heavy bottomed saucepan set over medium high heat, combine the butter, sugars, molasses, salt and espresso. Stir until sugar is dissolved and mixture is smooth. Insert a candy thermometer and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until it reaches 250 degrees F. Then stir constantly until mixture reaches 300 degrees F.
- Immediately pour the mixture out onto the prepared sheet pan and spread evenly with an offset spatula. Scatter chopped chocolate over the toffee and let sit a few minutes until melted, then use the offset spatula to spread it evenly over the toffee. Sprinkle with the chopped hazelnuts.
- Let sit until toffee is set, about an hour. If desired, pop it in the freezer to speed up the process, about 15 minutes Use a knife to break it into pieces.