So it’s been two months since Christmas, but it feels more like five months. Five months of trying to make up for a sugar induced Christmas. Read: five months of sugar cravings and not a good enough reason to give in to them apart from a few dark moments when the sun set at four and it was absolutely necessary to eat equally dark chocolate.
So after this deprivation we thought it would be nice to give you a reason to indulge – you are here because you love and want to explore coffee, so if there’s coffee in the sweet, isn’t that a good enough reason to indulge in it? We believe so.
We found this brilliant recipe at orangenette.blogspot.com and it takes you right back to the Christmas cheer.
Adapted ever-so-slightly from Bon Appétit Christmas (1994)
It may just be me, but anything that requires a candy thermometer seems daunting—and that’s even before taking into consideration the boiling, roiling, burbling sugar, something between molten lava and a swamp in a horror movie. But surprisingly, this toffee is remarkably easy and non-threatening to make, especially if you have your mise en place (your ingredients, prepped and measured) ready and waiting. If you’re like me, you’ll feel a goofy, giddy shiver as you happily dump into the pot little pre-measured bowlfuls of this and that, just like Julia or Martha would do. And remember, the candy thermometer is your friend. Trust it, and you’ll have a long, happy, toffee-filled holiday season.
2 cups walnuts
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed golden brown sugar
2 tsp instant espresso powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
1/3 cup water
1 Tbs dark unsulfured molasses
4 ½ ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used Valhrona 64%)
4 ½ ounces fine-quality white chocolate, finely chopped (I used Callebaut)
1 ¼ cups (2 ½ sticks) unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spread walnuts on a cookie sheet and toast in the oven until fragrant, about 5-10 minutes, making sure they don’t burn. Allow to cool for ten minutes; then coarsely chop. Remove 1 ½ cups to a bowl. Finely chop remaining ½ cup; then place in a separate bowl.
Prepare your mise en place: in a medium bowl, combine sugars, espresso powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine water and molasses. Place chopped chocolates in their own separate bowls.
Butter a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. Melt butter in a heavy 2 ½-quart saucepan over low heat. Add sugars, espresso powder, cinnamon, salt, water, and molasses; stir until sugar dissolves. Attach a clip-on candy thermometer to side of pan. Increase heat to medium; cook until thermometer registers 290 degrees (and no less!), stirring slowly but constantly and scraping bottom of pan with a wooden spatula, about 20 minutes.
Remove pan from heat, and quickly stir in 1 ½ cups coarsely chopped nuts. Immediately pour mixture onto prepared pan; do not scrape saucepan. Tilt sheet so that toffee spreads to ¼-inch thickness. Sprinkle chocolates by generous tablespoonfuls atop toffee, alternating bittersweet and white chocolates. Let stand one minute. Using back of spoon, spread chocolates slightly. Using the tip of a knife or the tongs of a fork, swirl chocolates to create a marble pattern. Sprinkle with ½ cup finely chopped nuts. Refrigerate until toffee is firm, about one hour. Break toffee into pieces.
Makes about two pounds. Can be made two weeks ahead and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Serve cold or at room temperature.