Hey! How are things? I’m doing great over here. Just eating some English toffee bark and writing about it. Not too shabby.
Other things this week: I learned how to play “Love Me Again” by John Newman on the piano (gotta love power chords), found a new upper back strengthening routine (check out this video and you’ll be flailing your arms against a wall in no time), and bought a new coffee table. My life is average. Judge me.
But last week saw some major action. I got chocolate delivered in the mail to my house. And not just any chocolate. Gourmet compound chocolate all the way from sunny Georgia. The company that produces this magical no-tempering-required chocolate is called Chocoley. Seeing as I love chocolate more than any other dessert, when Chocoley asked if I would try some of their chocolate, of course I said yes!
When I bit into their dark chocolate disks, it immediately brought me back to summers in Nova Scotia with my grandfather. Our family has a house on a group of islands on the South Shore, and it’s my favorite place on earth. Each summer my grandfather would surprise my sister and I with chocolate rosebuds. Endless days jumping off of rocks into the Atlantic, catching sand dollars and picking raspberries on the shoreline only to come home and hold out our palms, hoping for a handful of chocolate rosebuds. They’d get all over our hands and faces and we loved them.
So, yeah, I’m a fan of this chocolate. It’s a very specific chocolate taste that’s sweeter than a standard bitter or semi-sweet, so I can only imagine it would also be perfect in a sweet and salty chocolate bark or a peanut butter and chocolate fudge. And the best part about it? It doesn’t need to be tempered like most baking chocolates out there. That’s a HUGE win for me seeing as I have an electric stove and a faulty microwave (also seeing as I hate tempering).
How to make toffee
Making this English toffee is surprisingly simple, and not just because the chocolate requires no tempering! To make the toffee base, combine butter and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook the butter and sugar together, stirring occasionally. After 5 minutes or so, the sugar and butter should dissolve together. After another 10 minutes, the mixture should turn a lovely golden brown color, which means it’s ready to take off the stove.
Pour the toffee onto a baking tray and spread it out. Let it cool for a few minutes before sprinkling the chopped chocolate disks over it. The chocolate will start to melt quickly—use a butter knife or spatula to spread it out over the toffee. Sprinkle the chopped, toasted nuts over the top and then pop the toffee into the fridge to set. Don’t like walnuts? No problem. Swap ’em out for pecans. Don’t like any nuts? That’s cool, sprinkle some flaked sea salt on these babies and do a little dance, because toffee.
This English toffee bark is one of my favorite things to make. It takes little skill and is a huge crowd pleaser. Any way you do it, all you need is the English toffee and chocolate base and you have yourself the baking equivalent of a pot of gold.
1lb Chocoley Bada Bing Bada Boom Candy & Molding Dark Chocolate Disks
1cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, separated into tablespoons
1/2cup chopped walnuts
3/4cup toasted & chopped almonds
pinch of salt
Toast almonds for about 5 minutes in a 400°F oven until . Remove and allow to cool. Once cool, roughly chop almonds and set aside.
While the almonds are toasting, roughly chop both walnuts and dark chocolate disks. Set both aside. Line a large sheet pan with aluminum foil and set aside.
Now you are ready to make your toffee! In a medium pot, heat butter and sugar on medium heat. Toss in a large pinch of salt. Alternate using a spatula and swirling the pot to stir the toffee every minute or so. In the beginning, the sugar will be grainy and will not bind to the butter. The butter and sugar may be separated, and this is OK! However, after 3-4 minutes, the granules will melt and the sugar should begin to melt into the butter. By 5 minutes of cooking, the mixture should be homogenous.
Continue to cook the toffee for about 10 more minutes. Your toffee should slowly become golden brown in color. It’s getting beautiful, isn’t it?! You’ll know your toffee is ready when it is a medium-dark golden brown color.* Quickly remove from heat and stir in chopped almonds.
Pour the toffee onto the sheet pan. Working fast, use your spatula or the back of a spoon to evenly distribute the toffee around the pan. You should aim for a thickness of a 1/4-1/3 of an inch. Allow to cool for 3-5 minutes so the toffee can set slightly.
Sprinkle your chopped Chocolatey dark chocolate disks over the toffee. Allow the chocolate to melt for 2-3 minutes, then using a spatula or the back of a spoon, smooth out the now melted chocolate. If lumps remain, give it another 2-3 minutes, then smooth out again until the chocolate is completely melted.
Sprinkle the chopped walnuts over the chocolate layer. Push the nuts into the chocolate just slightly so they stick. Transfer to a refrigerator to cool for 10-15 minutes**, then remove from fridge and allow to completely cool. Last, break the toffee up into pieces, being careful not to eat them all as you do so!!
*If you smell any hint of burnt sugar or see smoke coming from the bottom of the mixture, remove from heat immediately!! **Don’t let the toffee stay in the fridge for more than 15 minutes, as condensation will begin to appear on the chocolate and you’ll end up with sweat marks. No good.
The chocolate used in this post was generously gifted from Chocoley. Financial compensation was not received for this post. All opinions expressed here are my own.