Have you seen Peppermint Toffee in the stores this year? I saw some but resisted buying it as I thought it would be fun to try to make. I’ve tried to make almond toffee a few times now with limited success. Often I end up with a toffee that tastes good but really sticks to my teeth, isn’t crunchy enough or is too thick or paler than I want. I always use a calibrated candy thermometer but that hasn’t guaranteed me success. As I understand it, sticky toffee has to do with the water not being cooked away enough but I didn’t know how to change this when the candy recipe always says to take it off the heat at 290F.
At a recent holiday party, I ran into someone who brought the perfect (to me) toffee. She said she just cooked equal amounts of butter and sugar (no water) together until it was caramel colored and then poured it out onto parchment, spread it thinly and topped it with chocolate and nuts. Huh. That sounded a lot easier than what I was doing! I went straight home and tried it. I did leave the corn syrup in my recipe to help prevent crystallization, but I eliminated the water and cooked the mixture until it was what I think of as “toffee colored”. I couldn’t resist checking the temperature before I poured it out and saw that it was 298F, 8 degrees higher than any recipe I’d used before (Despite being directly in between the soft crack and hard crack stages of candy temperatures, 290F seems to be the common temperature for cooking toffee. Hard crack stage doesn’t start until 300F but it makes sense to me that I’d want to be closer to that temperature for a crunchier candy. ).
To make Peppermint Toffee, I mixed crushed candy canes into the hot sugar before pouring it out and also sprinkled peppermint candy on top of the chocolate topping. I was very happy with the results! The toffee was crisp and hard and did not stick to my teeth even slightly. I think I’ve found my go-to method!
Since this is a holiday chocolate candy, I am submitting it to this month’s We Should Cocoa challenge. The challenge is being hosted by Rebecca at Munchies and Munchkins and she picked the theme of Christmas.
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp. light corn syrup
- ¼ tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- ½ cup crushed candy canes (about 5)
- ½ cup bittersweet chocolate chips
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a 2 quart saucepan over low heat, melt the butter, sugar and corn syrup together until the sugar is dissolved, stirring frequently. Be careful not to be too vigorous as sugar splashed on the sides of the pan can cause crystallization.
- Increase the temperature to medium or a little higher to bring the mixture to a boil.
- Lower the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is caramel colored. It shouldn't be too dark, but it should definitely be a brown color.
- Take the mixture off the heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. It may bubble up a bit but just stir until it settles down.
- Quickly mix in half of the crushed peppermint candy and then pour the mixture out onto the parchment paper lined pan.
- Before it cools too much, spread the hot candy mixture into an even layer.
- Let it sit for 3 minutes, then sprinkle evenly with the chocolate chips.
- Let the chips soften for a minute or two. When they look soft and shiny, gently spread the melting chocolate to cover the toffee mixture evenly. Sprinkle the top with the remaining crushed peppermint candy.
- Let sit at room temperature for about 3 hours until the chocolate sets up. Break the candy into pieces and store in an air-tight container at room temperature.