An extra-crisp toffee with a spark of salt makes a perfect afternoon snack or food gift. This candy keeps well, so feel free to double the recipe.
2 cups pecan halves
3 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 teaspoons fleur de sel (see Notes) or coarse sea salt
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 350°. Put pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and cook, stirring occasionally, until toasted, about 8 minutes. When cool enough to handle, chop roughly. Divide into 2 batches; chop 1 batch finely. Set both batches aside.
Put sugar, butter, salt, and 3/4 cup water in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium heat (see Notes). When butter and sugar are melted, increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is deep golden brown and measures 310° on a candy thermometer, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully stir in vanilla (mixture will bubble up) and finely chopped pecans. Pour into a 10- by 15-in. rimmed baking sheet. Let toffee cool until set, at least 30 minutes. (For even pieces, you can "score" the toffee by cutting it with a sharp knife after it has set for about 10 minutes, scoring into 5 strips lengthwise and 8 strips crosswise to yield 40 pieces. Wipe knife clean with warm water after each slice for easier cutting.)
Chop chocolate and put in a medium metal bowl. Fill an 8- or 10-in. frying pan with 1/2 in. of water and bring to a boil. Take off heat and put bowl of chocolate in the water. Let sit about 5 minutes. Stir chocolate until melted. Pour over toffee; with a knife or offset spatula, spread evenly. Sprinkle chocolate with roughly chopped pecans. Let sit 20 minutes, or until chocolate is cool but still a bit soft. Sprinkle with fleur de sel. Chill until set, about 1 hour.
To remove, gently twist pan to release toffee, then chop or break into chunks. Store in an airtight container.
Note: Nutritional analysis is per 2- by 2-in. square.
Use caution when working with sugar syrup, as it can cause severe burns. Set out your baking sheet so it's ready to use, and keep ice water nearby to cool any burns. Toffee keeps at room temperature in an airtight container up to 2 weeks; chilled, up to 1 month. Fleur de sel is the top layer of sea salt skimmed from seawater evaporation ponds and often has a delicious minerally flavor; find it at gourmet grocery stores.
I waited a year to make this review...wanted to make sure the OUTSTANDING results from when I first tried this recipe last year wasn't just a fluke! They came out great yet again! This was the first time I had ever tried making a candy (finally got to use the candy thermometer I got when I was first married...35 years ago). Last year I had used a bit smaller saucepan, and it took much longer than 30 minutes to reach the hard crackle stage - 310 degrees. Maybe it was due to using a bit deeper and wider based pan this year, but it got there at 30 minutes spot on. Plus, I wasn't as nervous this time about the bubbling volcanic mixture jumping over the edge and burning me. Also, I used semi-sweet instead of the bittersweet chocolate (which seems to be harder to find?), and I don't think anyone, including myself, noticed. I highly recommend this recipe...salted toffee and chocolate? What's not to love!
Not sure how I feel about this recipe! It took 55 minutes to reach the hard ball stage, and then it was chewy. I put it in the refrigerator, although it wasn't necessary, and it seemed to help. Overall flavor was good enough to cover with chocolate and pecans, but wouldn't make again! For those that mentioned the nuts falling off when breaking the toffee - after I put pecans over the top, I took a metal spatula and pushed them into the chocolate. That seemed to help losing so many nuts in the process of breaking up the toffee!
I just love this recipe. I did make one slight change. I added 4 oz of semisweet chocolate to the 8 oz of bittersweet. It was a little too bitter for my taste. I used the Fleur de sel and the roasted pecans. I have made four batches so far and gave most of it away. Will make more for Christmas gifts. Everyone just loves it!
This recipe was very good and pretty simple. The reason only 4 stars was because 1. My chocolate topping also fell off when I was breaking these into pieces. 2. The color did not turn dark before hitting the 310 mark on the thermometer. That freaked me out. So I had to wait LONGER which in turn made the thermometer go higher. It still turned out, but it was weird, so not sure what I did wrong to not get the proper color at the proper time on the candy thermometer? I will try again most definitely :)
I tried to double this recipe but the toffee part did not come out right. The butter and sugar, although we cooked it for about 45 mins rather than the 20 recommended, never got dark, golden brown. I want to try again but this time will follow the recipe without doubling it.
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