Friday, July 03, 2015

A Homemade Life: Espresso Walnut Toffee

Thatboy and I are members of a wine club.  It was one of the smartest things we ever did, because 1) it keeps us well stocked in wine, and 2) it provides a really cheap date when we head to the winery to pick up our selections.

The way the wine club works is that every other month we get 2 wines from the winery.  Unlike most wine clubs, which send you a selection, at our winery we can pick any two wines we want.  And you pick them up at the winery.  But you don't have to pick them up every other month, they just keep tabs of how many "months" they "owe you."  A couple times a year we'll head to the winery for a day of wine tasting and then pick as many wines as we're "owed."  The last time we went was in August, before I got pregnant.  So we came home with quite a few wines this time.

The vines were filled with not-quite ready grapes, green, waiting to darken as the summer progressed. 

We always make a day of it when we head to the winery.  We grab a table under the trellis and set up shop, complete with all our favorite wine-pairing snacks.

There's always fruit and berries, cheese and bread.  This time around, Thatboy requested olives.  And of course, chocolate to pair with the richer reds and sweet dessert wines.  The chocolate came in the form of this espresso walnut toffee.  A blend of dark and white chocolate, swirled over toffee.  As I've said before, coffee is a great pairing with chocolate, and this toffee proved no exception.  I think Thatboy might have preferred it without the walnuts, but I liked the crunch they gave the treat.  And I think they served to counter balance the sweetness, providing a saltiness that I appreciated given that I can only do a bite or two of most candies.

Espresso Walnut Toffee (From A Homemade Life)
2 cups walnut
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp instant espresso
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup water
1 Tbsp unsulfured molsasses
4 1/2 oz bittersweet chocolate, very finely chopped
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  1. Preheat oven to 325. Place the walnuts on a baking sheet and bake 5-10 minutes, until fragrant.  Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.  Coarsely chop and transfer 1 1/2 cups to a bowl. Finely chop remaining 1/2 cup and place in a different bowl.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the sugars, espresso, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together water and molasses.
  4. Place the chocolates in separate bowls.
  5. Grease a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  6. In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter over low heat.
  7. Add the sugars, cinnamon, slat, water, and molasses and stir until the sugars have dissolved. 
  8. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Raise the heat to medium and cook until the mixture reaches 290, stirring frequently at first and then slowly and constantly scraping the bottom of the pan with the spatula or wooden spoon, about 20 minutes.
  9. When the mixture reaches the temperature, remove the pan from the heat.  Stir in the 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts.  
  10. Quickly pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet so the toffee spreads to a 1/4 inch thickness.
  11. Sprinkle the chocolates by generous tablespoons onto the hot toffee, alternating rows of bittersweet and white.  Allow them to melt for 1 minute.  Using the back of a spoon, spread the melted chocolates, taking care not to mix them.  Drag the tip of a small kife or the tines of a fork across the chcolates, swirling them to create a marbeled look.
  12. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts and refrigerate 1 hour.  Break into pieces.

1 comment:

  1. That sounds like so much fun! After going to quite a few wineries in Italy, I definitely want to check out more local ones. Have to see if any near me offer this kind of service!