Friday, October 25, 2013

Butter toffee crunch bake off

For many years I've been a huge fan of Makana "Macadamia Butter Toffee Crunch". I brought some on a recent trip to Kerikeri. So when I took the box in to Kiwicakes to share with the girls (as a defense against me eating the whole box) I was thrilled to hear Jenny had a recipe she'd been wanting to try for "butter crunch toffee". 

The original recipe states to use almonds, roasted and then chopped in food processor afterwards. But here in Whangarei I can buy both raw and roasted ground macadamia at my local growers market, so I used this instead, saving me a lot of time. 

The photo above is of my Macadamia butter toffee. I let the girls at Kiwicakes sample my recipe, I was a little apprehensive, as I preferred the Makana version. The votes came in at 3 to 1, with my toffee winning the bake off. The 3 votes for my version came from my staff (no, I didn't pay them to vote for me). The single vote was mine. In comparing mine in taste to Makana's version it's my guess that they use white sugar instead of brown sugar, which I used in my version. This is only a hunch, based on the different taste and colour. 

Almond or macadamia buttercrunch toffee
2 C blanched slivered or sliced almonds, or macadamia pieces
1 1/4 C firmly packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp water
115 grams butter

and mixed together reserved for later
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp baking soda

175g dark chocolate pieces

Preheat oven to 160C and roast slivered almonds or macadamia pieces until golden brown on a baking sheet. Allow to cool

Once nuts are cool chop finely in a food processor. Place one half of the nuts on a cookie sheet lined with a baking sheet. Reserve the other nuts for sprinkling on the finished coated toffee.

In a medium sized heavy saucepan combine the brown sugar, water, corn syrup & butter. Have the baking soda & vanilla mixed together to the side of your stove top. Place a candy thermometer in your pot, taking care to make sure it does not touch the bottom. On medium heat bring this mixture to the boil. Do not stir. Allow to reach soft crack stage 145C/285F - remove from heat immediately. Stir in vanilla and baking soda mixture.

Immediately pour toffee over nuts on a baking sheet. Carefully place chocolate pieces over surface of toffee. The heat from the toffee will melt the chocolate. After a few minutes you will be able to spread the chocolate flat using an offset spatula. Sprinkle the nuts over the melted chocolate and allow to cool at room temperature (do not refrigerate). Once cool, break into pieces.

Store in an airtight container.

Tips for making toffee and avoiding mistakes
* Ensure your pan is heavy. A lightweight pan will cause it to burn before it reaches the correct temperature
* Use a candy thermometer that has a clip on the side, you have to work quickly so you cannot hold it yourself. 
* Use a wooden or silicone spoon, as toffee will not stick to it, like it will to metal
* Place your candy thermometer in the toffee mixture before it begins to boil. Placing a cold thermometer into boiling sugar can cause it to shatter.
* The taste of this toffee improved greatly overnight. When tasting it as soon as it had cooled, it was very chewy. 6 hours later, it had taken on the texture of the original I was trying to replicate.

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