Thursday, July 14, 2011

Local toffee flight

I had a craving for something sweet the other day.  I remembered my mom had given me a box of Oregon Filberts/Hazelnuts when we were in Bend. I have been wanting to make something with them so, no time like the present. (I have always wondered why they have two names. So if you have too here is a link on all you want and need to know about Filberts.
My craving went beyond just sweet I really wanted salty too, and maybe spicy or chocolatey! There is a salt shop called The Meadow Portland that I had just visited so, I was excited to try some of my purchases. How can I combine all of my desires into a one recipe? A toffee flight! I used a basic toffee recipe I found online and made the necessary substitutions to make the flight of 3.

The three toffee were finished with 3 different salts from The Meadow.  I bought the small Meadow package shown in the tins. I added some cayenne and chili powder and Alaska Pure salt to one of the toffees, some local Oregon Dagoba brand chocolate with the Marlborough Flakey Salt to another and lastly was plain with the Sel de I'lle de Re`salt


    1 pound unsalted butter (preferably Plugr√°)
    1 cup white sugar
    1 cup brown sugar
    1 Tbsp. corn syrup
    1 1/2 to 2 cups raw almonds , chopped finely or ground loosely (with skins on)
    2 tsp. vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean (scraped or split so the seeds will come out inside the toffee)
    1 tsp. salt
    Salt for finishing (optional)
    Melted chocolate , for dipping (optional)

Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed pot on stove top. In separate bowl, mix together white sugar, brown sugar and corn syrup, add to melted butter. Add 1/4 cup water. Cook mixture on medium-high heat, stirring with a wooden spoon. Using a candy thermometer—most can clip onto the pot—cook until 240°, stirring hard and fast to make sure nothing is sticking to the pan and your toffee doesn't burn. At 240°, add the almonds. At 260°, lower the heat and finish cooking until your candy thermometer reads 300° and reaches the soft ball stage. It should take about 15 to 20 minutes total to reach the 300° mark. The mixture should be a beautiful, bubbly, golden brown color. At 300°, turn off heat immediately.

Add vanilla (if adding vanilla beans, you must fish them out when you pour the toffee before it cools) and add the salt. Stir quickly. Pour the mixture out onto a marble slab that has been greased with butter, or grease 2 rimmed baking sheets (10" x 15" or around that size). Smooth out the toffee to 1/4-inch thickness. After about 5 to 10 minutes, you can score the toffee with a knife in order to break it up later. Using hot water and wiping the knife clean after every slice can help in scoring the toffee. You may now let the mixture cool. When cool, you can sprinkle with a dash of fleur de sel (French sea salt), break them up and wrap them in cellophane or an airtight container to maintain the freshness.

They came out fantastic! My favorite was the one with cayenne and chili. The sweet crunchy nuttiness with a bit of spicy and salt was awesome! I think the toffee envelope cold be pushed farther by adding herbs maybe sage or lavender? I will keep playing and experimenting with these it is easy and tasty!

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