Tag Archives: sugar

Enstrom’s Style Homemade Toffee

Finished Toffee

Finished Toffee

For about $10.00 for the ingredients including butter, sugar, chocolate and almonds, you can make this delicious toffee and have about 3 pounds of finished product. That is enough toffee for several generous, very welcomed gifts right from your kitchen!

Enstrom’s Style Toffee Recipe

Norpro Digital Thermometer/timer combo

Norpro Digital Thermometer/timer combo

2  3/4 Cup sugar
1 pound salted butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup slivered almonds

1 – 12 oz pkg milk chocolate chip

3/4 cup whole almonds, chopped very, very finely in a blender- almost a powder
NOTE:  Follow directions carefully and use a candy thermometer.  Be sure to subtract two degrees Fahrenheit from a stated temperature for every 1000 feet you are above sea level. Test your thermometer with boiling water before starting and make any additional adjustments accordingly.

Melt butter in a medium sized sauce pan – about 3 quart size over medium to medium high heat. Add the salt. When the butter is almost melted, add the sugar in quickly. Stir slowly, using a figure 8 motion with a wooden spoon. The sugar will not immediately dissolve or mix in, this is normal.

When the sugar absorbs into the butter the mixture will look more homogeneous and smooth. This takes 5-10 minutes. Then add the slivered almonds. This is what it will look like when you add the almonds. A would call this the blonde stage.

Blonde stage

Blonde stage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue to slowly stir the mixture in the saucepan for about another 10-15 minutes until the mixture reaches the hard crack stage.  Do not hurry this process by increasing the heat or you risk failure. This is 290 ° F on a thermometer at sea level. (I use the instant read thermometer with a probe from Norpro.) You will notice that the sugar mixture is turning a darker more caramel color and it is almost starting to smell like burnt sugar. You can also drop a small amount of the mixture into iced water to test for the hard crack stage. Do not under cook. This picture shows how much darker the mixture becomes.

Hard Crack Stage

Hard Crack Stage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the toffee hardens, about 30 minutes, melt half the chocolate chips in a double boiler and spread over the toffee in a thin layer. Sprinkle lightly with finely diced. like powder almost, almonds. When this is cooled, flip the toffee over and repeat. Spread the other half of the chocolate chips, melted over the toffee and sprinkle with finely chopped almonds. When it is totally cooled, put portions into cellophane bags tied with a ribbon to use for gifts.

Wrap toffee in cellophane bags or similar packaging for gifts

Wrap toffee in cellophane bags or similar packaging for gifts

 

Top Cookie Baking Tips

Gorgeous Cookie Assortment

Gorgeous Cookie Assortment

Measure Flour Correctly and Avoid Overmixing the Batter

Don’t overmix cookie dough or brownie batter once the dry ingredients have been added; doing so would overdevelop the gluten, which could hinder tenderness and result in an unpleasant texture.

Sift Nuts and Chocolate

Sift any chopped nuts or chocolate that are used in a light-colored cookie dough. Eliminating the “dust” from these ingredients will help maintain the color of the dough and keep flavors distinct.

rolloutdoughChill the Dough Before Baking

Chilling the dough helps softer doughs keep their shape and makes the dough easier to work with. I find that chilling the dough improves the flavor and allows the dough to relax a bit.

Use a Silicone Rolling Pin 

With this new rolling pin, you won’t have to use as much flour when rolling out doughs and your cookies will be more tender. You can also purchase a Marble Rolling Pin and chill it to keep the dough cold while you’re working with it. Or use a Rolling Pin Cover and Cloth. You won’t have to use as much flour with these cloth accessories. Rub flour into the rolling pin cover (also called a stockinette) and the cloth that is placed on the work surface, and the dough won’t stick. Using a combination of powdered sugar and flour to dust the work surface will also help keep the cookies more tender.

Use an Oven Thermometer

Be sure that your oven is accurate with a thermometer, then bake cookies at a slightly lower temp. The instructions for your stove or oven will tell you how to adjust the heat if necessary. I have a digital oven, so when a recipe calls for a 350 degrees F oven, I set the temperature to 345 degrees F. This small reduction in temperature ensures the cookies won’t over bake and over brown, especially on the bottom. With each batch of cookies, the baking time will be reduced because of the increased humidity in the oven from the cookies.

Soften Butter Properly

It’s difficult to soften butter properly in a microwave oven; too often part of the butter melts, which will change the structure of the cookies. Butter and sugar form the basic structure of the cookies; the sugar cuts small air pockets into the butter, which are stabilized by the flour and filled with C02 from the baking powder. Soften butter by letting it stand at room temperature for a couple of hours. You can also grate the butter into a bowl, then it will soften in a few minutes.

Freeze Dough

Making and freezing doughs ahead of time not only is a great time saver, but it improves the texture of the cookies. Icebox cookies are shaped into a log, wrapped, and chilled or frozen until it’s time to bake. You can form drop cookie dough into balls and freeze; bake from the frozen state, adding a few minutes to the baking time. This technique also lets you make all the doughs one day, then take another day for the fun part: baking and decorating!

Use fresh eggs, butter, flour, sugar, baking powder, etc.

Use fresh eggs, butter, flour, sugar, baking powder, etc.

Use Fresh Ingredients

Make sure that all of your ingredients are fresh. Buy new baking powder and baking soda, vanilla and spices, flour and sugar. Most of us don’t bake often during the year, and it’s a good bet that your ingredients are more than a year old. You’re putting a lot of effort and heart into these cookies: start with the best ingredients!

Baking Times

I set the timer for 2-3 minutes less than the cooking time called for in the recipe. I take the cookies out of the oven just as they’re beginning to look done because the residual heat from the cookie sheet will continue to bake the cookies. Also, slightly under baked cookies are more tender and moist.

 Rotate Baking Sheets

Always rotate baking sheets, usually once about halfway through the baking time. Turn the sheets front to back, and, if you have sheets on both the upper and lower racks of the oven, swap their positions. Most ovens have hot and cold spots, so this will ensure that the cookies bake evenly.

Using cookie scoops means your cookies will all be exactly the same size.

Line Cookie Sheets for Easy Cleanup

Bake perfect Christmas cookies with expert baking techniques, including ingredient substitutions, freezing and storing tips, and more. Lining cookie sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats eliminates the need for greasing. Liners also make it possible to lift a whole batch of cookies at once — and they make cleanup easy. Butter the baking dish, then place a sheet of parchment, also buttered, inside, allowing about 2 inches to extend beyond two opposite sides. Bake according to the recipe’s instructions, and let cool. Pull up on the parchment to lift the dessert from the pan before cutting.

How to Store Cookies

When storing cookies, do not combine crisp and soft cookies in the same container, as this will cause the crisp ones to soften a bit. You can restore the crisp texture of cookies that have softened by heating them in a 300-degree oven for about 10 minutes.

How to Freeze Unbaked Cookies

Many kinds of cookie dough can be frozen raw and baked later. After the cookies are formed, place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and chill in the freezer until firm, about one hour. Transfer to resealable bags, and freeze for up to a month, until ready to bake. There is no need to thaw the dough; however, you may need to add a few minutes to the baking time.

Now that you are a cookie expert, enjoy the time you spend in the kitchen with family and friends, baking wonderful cookies.

Store Cookies in Seasonal Containers

Store Cookies in Seasonal Containers