What can I say, I like the combination of toffee and chocolate. I think it’s a pretty universal thing, one would have to be quite fussy to not like this.
If you are a bit hesitant about making toffee, don’t be. I was intimidated by this, anything involving burning sugar is a tad harder to make. It turns out, it’s reasonably straightforward. If you have a sugar thermometer and you follow the recipe you’ll be fine. I promise.
Prepare a couple of baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper and set aside near a spatula or a palette knife.
You begin by melting a scarily large quantity of butter with an equally scary quantity of sugar. Toffee is just butter and sugar (with a splash of vanilla extract and a bit of salt) so I guess it makes sense that you need a lot of butter and a lot of sugar. Remind yourself that this -probably- won’t all be eaten by the only one person and stir until you’ve calmed down.
Once the mixture is boiling, turn the heat to medium and grab your sugar thermometer. The ones that can clip on to the side of the pan are very convenient. I’m not very experienced with this but I think you want your thermometer’s tip to be in the middle of the liquid, height-wise. You basically don’t want it to be touching the bottom of the pot and you don’t want it to be in the middle where the flame is because that would affect the reading.
Gently stir the butter and sugar mixture but be on alert! The micture will begin to darken and once it reaches 298F you must turn the heat off. I would suggest to turn the heat off when the mixture is a couple of degrees away from the final temperature because once you turn the heat off, it will continue to cook for a little bit more and the temperature will rise. When the heat is off quickly stir in the vanilla extract.
Now that your fudge is ready you must quickly pour half of it on each of the prepared sheets and spread it until it’s very thin. This is not the easiest process in the world, the faster you do it the easier it is to spread. It doesn’t matter one bit if the thickness is a bit uneven, or even if there are a couple of holes, it just means that some pieces will be more toffee-y and some more chocolate-y so don’t worry about it. I was a bit more laissez faire about the whole process which is why I couldn’t get the toffee to spread as thinly as I should, not that it’s a big deal. But you know better.
The toffee needs to cool completely now, I suggest to leave it for at least an hour. Once it is no longer warm, go ahead and melt some chocolate. Now, the recipe calls for tempered chocolate. I am not so confident a chocolatier to attempt to temper chocolate. If you do and you succeed you’ll have a chocolate layer with high gloss because tempering basically aligns the chocolate molecules in a specific way.
I wanted to use milk chocolate instead of dark, and milk chocolate has a lower cocoa content anyway so I knew I wouldn’t be getting a very shiny layer. To me, that wasn’t an issue. I just made sure to buy milk chocolate with as high cocoa content as I could find and went ahead and melted it. You can melt chocolate in the microwave but I prefer to do it in a bowl over a pan of simmering water.
Once the chocolate is melted, take off the pan and continue to stir. You don’t want the toffee to melt when it comes into contact with the chocolate so, it must be stirred for a few minutes until it’s slightly cooler than your body temperature. Then, just spread half of the chocolate on the cooled toffee layers. Try to flatten the chocolate as much as you can and then sprinkle a couple of pinches of sea salt on top. Instead of salt you could use your favourite nuts, chopped, or even crushed candy or anything you fancy.
Leave the layers to cool again, for about an hour. Don’t be tempted to stick them in the fridge, especially if you’ve gone to the trouble of tempering the chocolate, as this will take away the chocolate’s shine and it will make it look kind of dull.
When the chocolate has cooled, carefully flip the toffee slabs over. It doesn’t matter if it breaks a little bit. You might have to reheat the rest of your melted chocolate, just a few seconds will do. Once again, spread it on the toffee. I didn’t sprinkle salt on this side as I thought it would be a bit overwhelming.
When the layers have cooled you can break pieces using a toffee hammer or simply a knife. I made little parcels and gave as gifts to friends and also took some as a hostess gift to a Christmas party last weekend. Everyone loved it!
Here’s the recipe which is very slightly modified from The Pioneer Woman: