Somebody needs to come over and save me from this candy.
It’s dangerous. Like, deep, dark, and ever so slightly bitter dangerous.
We’re sort of obsessed with Ben & Jerry’s Coffee Toffee Bar Crunch ice cream over here. Only, really what I’m obsessed with is digging out all the insanely delicious crunchy buttery toffee bits.
This candy is like that. Only the pieces are way bigger.
If you’ve never made candy before, let’s hold hands and I’ll walk you though it. All you need is a basic kitchen thermometer and lots of patience.
The recipe is really simple. The only tricky part is simmering the butter and sugar mixture until it reaches the hard crack stage (300ºF). It can take anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes, and you really have to stir the whole time. Bring your iPhone or a magazine to flip through with the other hand. Seriously, that’s what I do.
After that things move fast. You stir in the pecans and spread everything on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with loads of chocolate chips and wait for them to get all melty.
Then smooth them out with a spatula.
Side note: have I told you already that I made twelve (12!) pounds of nut brittle for my engagement party? It was insanity. Our kitchen was covered in hard crack stage sugar. But I pretty much became a candy-making expert.
Once the toffee is hardened and the chocolate is dried, break it into large shards. It will keep for at least a week. (I like to store it in the fridge, just to make sure the chocolate stays set.)
This chocolate espresso pecan toffee is definitely a grown-up treat. The espresso powder and molasses give it a slightly bitter edge that plays off the sweetness of the sugar and chocolate.
Is it weird to compare cocktails and candy? I’m going to do it anyway: if you like a good Negroni, I have hunch this toffee is for you.
It also makes a wonderful holiday or hostess gift–provided you don’t eat it all yourself first.
- 1 1/4 (2 1/2 sticks) cups unsalted butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 1 teaspoon flaky salt (I used fleur de sel)
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 cups chopped toasted pecans
- 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet or dark)
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the granulated sugar, light brown sugar, espresso powder, molasses, salt, and water. Cook, stirring constantly until a candy thermometer reaches the hard crack stage (300ºF), about 20 to 25 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the pecans. Pour the toffee onto the prepared baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle with the chocolate and let stand for a minute or two until softened. Using a spatula, smooth the chocolate over the toffee. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill until firm. Break the toffee into shards. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 weeks.