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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Caramelized Almond Biscotti

I love biscotti. This is not so much for their taste, although they are great, but for the way they fit into my romantic vision of the life I would like to have. In this life, I spend my mornings at my favorite neighborhood cafe reading, drinking coffee, and eating biscotti. I might do some writing in this cafe as well. (This writing, of course, flows naturally and holds my attention for hours at a time. In my dreams I certainly do not spend more time on social media sites than my papers.)

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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