This recipe is from Vanessa Barajas' book, Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind (published here with permission).
This recipe took a few tries to get right, but was so worth the effort. It tastes just like real toffee. You can eat it plain or get creative, like I did, and dip it in all kinds of fun things, like nuts and chocolate. It would be great to make around the holidays and put in little gift bags for your friends and neighbors. Look how nice you are!
There are two options for coating the toffee: dipping individual pieces in melted chocolate so that they are completed coated or using the heat of the toffee to melt the chocolate on the surface, right in the pan. Though more time-consuming, I prefer to hand-dip individual pieces because the result reminds me of Skor and Heath bars (drool). The latter method makes more of a toffee bark. Try it both ways and see which you prefer!
FOR THE TOFFEE
- 1 cup (150 g) coconut sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
- 8 tablespoons (4 ounces/113 g) salted butter, cubed
FOR THE COATING
- 1 (12-ounce/340-g) bag chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup (65 g) unsalted dry-roasted almond pieces (optional)
- Candy thermometer
Line a 2-quart (2-L) oblong glass baking dish with parchment paper; set aside.
In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the coconut sugar, water, vanilla, salt, and butter, in that order. Turn on the heat to medium-high and stir the ingredients together in one direction, so the butter doesn’t separate, until the butter has completely melted and the ingredients are fully combined. Stop stirring and let the mixture come to 300F (148C), or the hard crack stage on a candy thermometer. Once it reaches temperature, remove from the heat and pour into the parchment-lined baking dish. If you’re making toffee bark, jump ahead to Step 5.
Place the toffee in the refrigerator for 1 hour to harden. After about 45 minutes, melt the chocolate chips in double boiler over low heat or in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. Stir frequently using a rubber spatula until the chocolate is completely melted.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Once the toffee has hardened, break it into pieces using your hands or a knife. Use a candy-dipping fork or a plastic fork with the two middle prongs broken off to dip a piece of toffee into the melted chocolate, turning it over until completely coated on all sides. Let the excess chocolate drip back into the bowl and place the chocolate-covered toffee piece on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with the almond pieces. Repeat this process until all the toffee pieces are coated. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes to set the chocolate.
To make chocolate-covered toffee bark: Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the hot toffee right after transferring it to the baking dish. Let the chocolate sit for a few minutes until the heat from the toffee melts it. Use a rubber spatula to spread the chocolate evenly, then sprinkle the almond pieces over the chocolate. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until hardened. Once hardened, break into pieces using your hands or a knife.
Store any remaining toffee covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Toffee—3 days ahead (For individually dipped pieces, not the bark)
To make this nut-free, omit the almonds from the coating. Keep an eye on the thermometer as the toffee mixture boils. It will reach 300F (148C) a lot faster than you think! Heating the toffee beyond 300F (148C) will give it a burned taste.