APC Holiday Toffee Photo-3

Pecan Toffee Bars

Homemade candy is the perfect way to share the love during the holidays. It’s a tradition I have appreciated since, well, as long as I can remember. We make candy, we receive candy, and everyone looks forward to their first taste of their favorite recipe. And since each family has their own signature recipe, you can only get that specific treat once a year in a gift wrapped box. So, if you’re looking for what your holiday go-to recipe will be, you can stop searching. This three layer candy bar has it all: a crunchy layer of nuts, a sweet center of brittle toffee, and a creamy topping of chocolate. And part of the wonder of this recipe is the pecans.

Pecans, man. Compared to other nuts, pecans are among the lowest in carbs (4 grams) and highest in dietary fiber (3 grams) per serving. Pecans are also among the highest in “good” monounsaturated fats, and include plant protein, fiber, flavonoids and essential minerals, including copper, manganese and zinc. So, the sheer might of the pecans helps offset some of the guilty indulgence of the toffee and chocolate, right? Possibly? Maybe, just a little bit? Well, regardless the decadence, the pecans are a vital component to the ensemble. Between the texture, how they compliment and ground the other bold flavors, and of course the nutrient facts, I wouldn’t recommend omitting or substituting them with other nuts.

The other part of the recipe’s charm is the homemade toffee. So, naturally, I have some advice for successful toffee making. Or, more accurately, I have a “don’t do what I did” story. When you heat the butter, sugar, and salt together, be sure to use low to medium heat the entire time. Do NOT turn the heat on high. That’s what I did. I saw that I had to bring it to a boil and thought (foolishly, as it turned out) that higher heat would be better, since it would boil faster. It did, but… bad things happened to my toffee. Turns out that the higher temperature actually kept the butter from fully merging with the sugar. Which left me with toffee on the bottom of my pot and a greasy layer of melted butter lingering across the surface. It was the opposite of appetizing. So, I made it again, on low heat the entire time, with much better results.

I my defense, I’ve never really made candy before; so I was learning as I went. And really, the principle made perfect sense after I’d experimented and seen what happened under high heat. I just had to witness the disasterous first batch before it clicked. But now I can say confidently that I’ll follow the directions better with any future candy I make.

AuthorMackieDifficultyIntermediate

 1 cup Pecans, chopped
 1 cup Sugar
 1 cup Butter
 ½ tsp Salt
 1 tsp Vanilla
 1 cup Milk Chocolate Chips
 Sprinkles, if desired

1

Line a 9 inch square pan with parchment paper. Spread the pecans across the bottom of the pan. Set aside.

2

Melt the butter in a saucepan on low heat. (The low heat is vital.) Add the sugar and salt, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil on medium low heat. Continue to cook until the mixture comes to a hard crack, at 300 degrees Fahrenheit. As soon as the toffee reaches 300 degrees, remove from heat and add the vanilla. (Fair warning, the new liquid will make the toffee spatter.)

3

Pour the toffee over the pecans and spread smooth. Add the milk chocolate chips atop of the hot caramel. Allow the chocolate to melt, then spread it smooth. If desired, add sprinkles and additional pecans on the chocolate. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until the dessert is fully set. Break into bitesize pieces and serve.

Ingredients

 1 cup Pecans, chopped
 1 cup Sugar
 1 cup Butter
 ½ tsp Salt
 1 tsp Vanilla
 1 cup Milk Chocolate Chips
 Sprinkles, if desired

Directions

1

Line a 9 inch square pan with parchment paper. Spread the pecans across the bottom of the pan. Set aside.

2

Melt the butter in a saucepan on low heat. (The low heat is vital.) Add the sugar and salt, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil on medium low heat. Continue to cook until the mixture comes to a hard crack, at 300 degrees Fahrenheit. As soon as the toffee reaches 300 degrees, remove from heat and add the vanilla. (Fair warning, the new liquid will make the toffee spatter.)

3

Pour the toffee over the pecans and spread smooth. Add the milk chocolate chips atop of the hot caramel. Allow the chocolate to melt, then spread it smooth. If desired, add sprinkles and additional pecans on the chocolate. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until the dessert is fully set. Break into bitesize pieces and serve.

Pecan Toffee Bars

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