Sunday, April 14, 2013

Toffee Bits, Take 4

Since Take 3 looked like it was working out marvelously, I figured I'd see if I could reproduce the results exactly, straight away. While Take 3 was cooling, I worked on this batch.

Toffee Bits, Take 4
a repeat of Take 3

1/2 c butter
2/3 c sugar
1-2 tbsp water
pinch kosher salt

Place sugar, butter, water and salt in a small saucepan.

Melt the butter over low heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar.

From the time the saucepan hit the stovetop to the butter being almost completely melted was 6 minutes.

Gradually bring to a boil.

Simmering to boiling at 220°F occurred over 3 minutes.

Continue boiling until 300°F.

247, 263, 267,  and 280°F. And then the mixture just got stuck at 280°F for about 5 minutes while I was aghast that the butter separated from the solids. These photos were collected over 16 minutes.

Stuck at 280°F and clearly breaking, I figured it would be best to just stir like crazy.

After stirring for two minutes, the butter went into the solids a little bit and was still noticeable on the surface. Boiling seemed to completely stop.

Very slowly, the temperature reached 295 and then jumped to 304°F.

This was another 2 minutes.

Stir candy and pour evenly across a parchment lined large baking sheet.

The toffee was thick and started setting up almost immediately. I spread it out with a spatula and was surprised there wasn't more butter oozing from the candy.

Let toffee cool until hardened. Blot with coffee filters to absorb excess butter. Drop the toffee onto a parchment-lined baking sheet to break into smaller pieces.

Fold the parchment over the toffee and smash the candy into bits with a measuring glass.

The toffee looks like it went from glossy to matte in some freak way. It did. I threw it in the refrigerator while I worked on something else. When removed from the fridge a couple hours later, it looked dull but was easily smashed to bits and still tasted just fine.

Doing it exactly the same way as Take 3, I saw that my butter broke around 270, 275. For some reason, the entire mixture had stopped boiling. I kicked up the heat a tad and kept going. I had to stir it just to get appropriate temperature readings. Once at 300, er 304, I took it off the heat, and started stirring like crazy. The butter went into the sugar, just as expected. The problem with that though is that the toffee started setting up as soon as it began cooling, so I had to work FAST. I didn't work quite as fast as I should've and wound up having to try spreading the toffee with a spatula instead of tilting the pan and letting gravity do its business. Pretty was not the goal since it was going to be smashed to bits, so it didn't matter that the toffee wasn't spread evenly.

The big lesson here was not to panic, stir like crazy if the mixture breaks, and just keep on keepin' on.  This batch confirms to me that the increase in sugar, from 1/2 c to 2/3 c was certainly the way to do it. IF I do this again I might increase the sugar quantity even further, but not by much more. As it is, I have plenty of bits to make cookies with.

  • sugar: $0.15
  • butter: $0.54
TOTAL: $0.69 for about 1.5 cups of bits.