Almond buttercrunch toffee– a great last-minute gift!

I am at the end of the second year of a 3-year postdoc, and one of my colleagues recently lamented that I was going to leave soon, and she suddenly smiled, finding the bright side of my remaining year: “we still have TWO seasons of your Christmas cookies!”

As I have spent more time in my postdoc, I’ve made more friends and I now have a core group of colleagues with whom I socialize– which is fantastic– but that means an additional 4-5 people for whom I need to make holiday treats. This year, I decided to make candy. I have made caramels in the past, although they are temperamental and time-consuming to wrap. I’ve also made chocolate truffles, which are also messy and time consuming. I decided to branch out and make fudge, and this delicious toffee.

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I went straight to our baking guru, David Lebovitz, and decided not to toy with his recipe, as experiments with candy can often be disastrous. It is simple, and the only special equipment you need is a candy thermometer. Otherwise, it’s a super easy and quick recipe, and the results are delicious.

As a bonus, when you chop the toffee into pieces, you get little shards of toffee, nuts, and chocolate. Don’t let them go to waste! They would be awesome as an ice cream topping or sprinkled on top of your morning yogurt.

Next year, I may substitute the almonds for pistachios. Or I’ll cut back on the almonds and add chopped dried cherries to the top. The possibilities are endless!

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Peanut Caramel Popcorn

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I simply cannot stop eating this treat. It is seriously tasty. And easy to make, which could become a problem. It is also highly adaptable. I used peanuts because I had a mostly full container of unsalted peanuts hanging around, just waiting to be used. Feel free to substitute cashews, almonds, or macadamia nuts as desired.  Continue reading

candy time! Chocolate truffles with crème de cassis

I have been working on making truffles for a while. What keeps stumping me is making a tempered coating for the exterior, but we recently purchased David Lebovitz’s Ready for Dessert, a long-overdue purchase. We are avid readers of his blog, and we have tried many of his recipes, and I have to say, none of them have ever failed us. I recently stayed over at a friend’s place and her husband is allergic to gluten, so I needed to come up with a hostess gift for them that was gluten-free and travel-friendly (I was flying to said destination).

What piqued my interest with this recipe was that there was no  need to temper chocolate to finish the truffles. While I am determined to learn how to temper, I just didn’t have the time or patience that week, so this was the perfect solution. I also had a lot of chocolate at home– all I needed was to buy some heavy cream.

 

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