One of my fave food blog reads is Foodie With Family, written by the duo Rebecca and Val. Some of the dishes that come out of their kitchens are truly hearty (yet budget savvy) family fare and in my mind, I like to imagine that their kitchens are reminiscent of those warmly lit, cheery, pots bubbling on the stove & cookies and cinnamon scents wafting in the air types.
This Xmas, they were sharing time tested recipes of simple do-it-yourself gifts and as soon as I spotted the pics of the English Toffee, I knew I wanted to try it. Since I prefer the crunchy toffee versus the chewy type, I popped the pieces in the freezer (an old trick) and after that used it in various ways like putting it into a ziplock bag and crunching them as ice cream topping as well or constantly sneaking a piece whenever I passed the fridge (I am still in denial at the amount of sugar/butter is in these things...).
(Original recipe from Foodie With Family here, with much more detailed & better explanation)
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
Chopped nuts (I used almonds)
Half a teaspoon of vanilla essence
1. Line a tray with wax paper (I didn't have any, so I just flattened a couple of muffin wrappers).
2. In a small heavy bottomed saucepan, melt butter and sugar over low heat.
3. Add vanilla essence. Keep stirring occasionally (every minute or two) for about 10-15minutes on low heat when it gets golden brown and thick or if you're not sure, do the test by dripping a small amount into ice water and it forms brittle strands. Note of caution: Don't try to speed things along by raising the heat it will get hard and burn!
4. Pour onto the paper-lined tray and spread it out as evenly (and thinly) as you can. Sprinkle chocolate chips and leave for about five minutes then spread it over on top. Sprinkle chopped nuts and leave toffee to cool completely (this takes a couple of hours).
5. Break toffee into smaller pieces and enjoy!
P/s: Somehow the combo of vanilla ice cream with fruit cocktail (canned pineapples, grapes) and topped with toffee crumbs went really well. Even got the seal of approval of those who came for Sham & Andreas' New Year's Eve Potluck.