In my first ever experiment with a candy thermometer, I made toffee yesterday. I saw the recipe, among other wonderful-looking ones, on NPR’s Kitchen Window column this week. It was suggested as a good gift solution and my mom needed gifts for coworkers; it worked out. I was attracted to this one because of the coffee, chocolate and pistachio combination. Pistachios make me think of Christmas, and they are beautiful. I love the purple and bright green hues in the shelled nut.
It honestly has not stopped raining since I arrived in Los Angeles four days ago. Yesterday, as I was making the toffee, the power went out for over an hour. I ended up making the candy by candle-light, which was quaint but not really ideal. The end product is really, really good, but I don’t think the toffee achieved the appropriate consistency. It is less chewy-brittle, and more soft to the tooth. I’m not sure how else to describe it. Perhaps I misjudged the temperature of the syrup before pouring it out.
Anyways, here is a recipe for something truly delicious and not terribly difficult, as long as you have a candy thermometer (and tough fingers for shelling pistachios).
Coffee-Pistachio Toffee From Nicole Spiridakas, on NPR’s Kitchen Window
- 2 cups shelled pistachio nuts
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
- 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 tablespoon dark unsulfured molasses
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 4 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 4 1/2 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spread pistachios on a cookie sheet and toast in the oven until fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes, making sure they don’t burn. Cool for 10 minutes, then coarsely chop. Put in a bowl. (Note: I bought roasted, salted pistachios because I could not find the raw kind, and it worked fine).
In a medium bowl, combine sugars, espresso powder and cinnamon. In another small bowl or measuring cup, combine water and molasses.
Butter a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. Melt butter in a heavy 2 1/2-quart saucepan over low heat. Add the mixture of sugars, espresso powder and cinnamon, and the mixture of water and molasses, and stir until sugar dissolves.
Increase heat to medium and, using a candy thermometer, cook until thermometer registers 290 degrees, stirring occasionally and scraping bottom of pan for about 15 minutes.
Remove pan from heat, and quickly stir in 1 1/2 cups chopped nuts. Immediately pour mixture onto prepared pan. With a spatula, spread toffee to 1/4-inch thickness. Sprinkle chocolate by generous tablespoonfuls atop toffee, alternating bittersweet and milk chocolates. Let stand for 1 minute to melt the chocolate. Using the back of a spoon or spatula, spread chocolate slightly to coat the toffee. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup chopped nuts.
Refrigerate until toffee is firm, about 1 hour. With a sharp knife, slice the toffee evenly, or break into pieces.