Anyone who knows me knows that I avoid the kitchen like a participle looking for its dangle. However, I’ve had these two foolproof…and I do mean foolproof…recipes for English Toffee and Mounds Bars. I used to make candy every year for Christmas, but somewhere between editing and book distribution, the candy making went the way of the dinosaur.
Until this past weekend, and I went nuts. Ok, I’ll admit that I couldn’t find my original English Toffee recipe, so I used another one and proceeded to burn two batches. Yes, smoke and fire alarms are the quintessential Pricey. Then I found my old recipe, and voila…perfect toffee.
The Mounds bars were a new addition, and they’re killer. So I’ll share with you, so you can have some fun in the kitchen while that plot twist rummages around in your brain.
Oh, and don’t forget to buy a candy thermometer.
ENGLISH TOFFEE – Makes a buttload
2 cups butter
2 cups white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup finely chopped almonds (I used crushed walnuts)
- Get a large heavy bottomed saucepan. Now I didn’t respect this enough and burned two batches. It’s gotta be a heavy pot in order to avoid burning. Who knew? I used my La Crueset – it’s one heavy mother.
- Melt the butter first, then toss in the sugar and salt.
- Stirring constantly (not vigorously) cook over medium heat so the sugar melts. Allow to come to a boil, and cook until the mixture becomes a dark amber color, and the temperature has reached 285 degrees F (137 degrees C). Stir occasionally. This take awhile, so don’t freak out. And DON’T LEAVE IT. Left on its own, the candy gremlins come along and burp in the pot. Avoid this.
- While the toffee is cooking, cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- As soon as the toffee reaches the proper temperature, pour it onto the baking sheet.
- Sprinkle the chocolate over the top, and let it set for a minute or two to soften. Spread the chocolate into a thin even layer once it is melted. Sprinkle the nuts over the chocolate, and press in slightly. Putting a plastic bag over your hand will minimize the mess.
- Place the toffee in the refrigerator to chill until set. Break into pieces, and store in an airtight container
Idiot-proof English Toffee. Holy garbanzo beans, it is fabulous. Go cook now.
MOUNDS BARS – also makes a buttload
Another insidiously easy candy to make. It’s so easy, I’m almost ticked off at the fortune the Price family has spent keeping the Head Price Kahuna well-stocked in Mounds Bars – the only candy he’ll eat.
- 2 14 ounce bags of unsweetened coconut (I bought a 1,000 pound bag of sweetened coconut at Costco, and it worked great)
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 3 cups of chocolate chips
- 2 teaspoons of butter
- In a large bowl mix together the coconut, sweetened condensed milk, 1/2 cup butter, and powdered sugar. Mix well.
- How you shape these suckers is up to you. You can spread the slop onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, fridge for a couple hours, then cut it up.
- However, that didn’t float my boat, so I dug my little fingies into the slop and shaped them in little blobs and put it on one of those silicone baking mats. I nearly fainted when I saw how expensive it was, and told the saleslady it better rock my cookery world or I’d come back and filet her. My cookery world was duly rocked, and the saleslady will live to sell another day.
- Chill those little suckers down so it’s easier to roll in melted chocolate. You can refrigerate for 2 hours…or freeze for 15 minutes. I froze. Worked like a charm. In fact, I ran out of chocolate, so I kept the undunked mounds bar filling in the freezer for a couple days. They were quite happy there.
- Melt 3 cups chocolate chips and 2 teaspoon of butter in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until melted.
- Cut bars and dunk in melted choccie, and put on your new magic silicone mat, or parchment paper. Stick in the fridge to set up.
So there it is, my dear little scribblers. A fabulous sugary high. And the best part is you figured out how your protagonist was able to knock Mr. Hunkypants off his feet while covered in molasses and feathers.