Saturday, July 3, 2010

How Much Butter Can One Person Use in a Weekend?

Off to a healthy start for the Fourth of July weekend already. As if I don't have enough baking scheduled for this long weekend what with the trial cupcake batches for the upcoming Iron Cupcake competition and the banana cupcakes I plan to make with the bananas rapidly ripening on my counter. I wasn't ready to take on either of those tasks yesterday but I did have a hankering for some tasty dessert. Delicious and decadent toffee bars to the rescue! How could I go wrong with a recipe that calls for over three sticks of butter?

Although have a fear of making my own candy since it seems too fussy, I always prefer to make as much as possible from scratch. I decided on this recipe for almond brickle because it seemed nice and simple. I omitted the chocolate since the toffee bars already include a thick layer of chocolate and I substituted peanuts and walnuts for the almonds because I prefer the taste and didn't feel like blanching the almonds in my cupboard. It turned out great and I had to stop my husband from eating it all straight from the pan. Sometimes laziness can lead to good things. I did have a little trouble with the butter separating from the mixture, most likely due to my changing the temperature while cooking (apparently a no-no when making toffee), but I managed to recover most of it and it didn't matter too much since I wound up crumbling it all into bits once cooled.

The toffee bar recipe from Positively Splendid was wonderfully easy to follow. Click the link for her handy step-by-step photos. I did, however, have a few issues with cooking times as the base only took 18 minutes to brown and the condensed milk took closer to seven minutes in the microwave to thicken. Also, a word of warning about that step. Make sure you use a deep bowl as the mixture will bubble up like crazy and might result in an ungodly, gooey mess to clean out of the microwave if yours boils over like mine. You live; you learn.

Peanut Brickle
Recipe from

1/2 cup peanuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar

Sprinkle nuts over bottom of well-greased 13 x 9-inch baking pan.

Melt butter in medium, heavy-duty saucepan over medium heat. Stir in sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring constantly, for 7 minutes. Pour hot mixture over nuts; let cool for 5 minutes.

Refrigerate for about 20 minutes. Break into small pieces.

Utterly Decadent Toffee Squares
Recipe from Positively Splendid

1 cup butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 12-ounce package semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup almond or peanut brickle pieces

Preheat oven to 375˚. Grease 9x13-inch pan and set aside.

Beat 1 cup butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until combined. Add egg yolk; beat well. Stir in flour and salt, mixing well to combine. Spread dough evenly in prepared pan. Bake for 18-25 minutes, or until light brown. Reduce oven temperature to 350˚.

In a deep microwave-safe bowl, combine condensed milk and 2 tablespoons butter. Microwave in 1-minute intervals until thickened and bubbly, stirring after each interval, about 4 minutes total (may take longer). Mixture will part well with a spatula when it is ready. Stir in vanilla. Spread milk mixture evenly over baked cookie layer. Place in oven and bake about 12 minutes, or until top layer is golden.

Sprinkle baked layers evenly with chocolate chips. Place in oven for 1-2 minutes, or until chocolate is glossy and melted. Spread chocolate evenly over baked layer, and then top with an even layer of brickle chips. Place pan on a wire rack and allow to cool a bit before covering and placing in the fridge to chill until the chocolate is set. Cut into squares and store, covered, in the refrigerator.


Monet said...

These toffee squares look delicious! I'm so glad I happened upon your blog this evening. I am also somewhat afraid of making my own candy, but this post is giving me courage to take a chance. Thanks love!

Sourkraut said...

Yes, go for it! Your blog is lovely; thanks for the link. I just might try out some of your tasty-looking recipes in the near future.