Categories
Dessert

Feel like you’re on ‘toffee’ the world with three ingredients

Homemade Toffee
With just three ingredients and a little patience, you can easily make homemade toffee that has a great flavor and can be eaten alone or incorporated into baked goods.

As a complete sweets addict, it figures I would marry somebody who would rather have an extra portion of a savory main dish than eat dessert.

That being said, Joey does still have a sweet tooth—it’s just fairly particular.

So, while most sugary concoctions I share with you are decidedly something I made because I wanted to try it or share it outside our household, this one was 100% made with Joey in mind: homemade toffee.

He loves toffee, and when I found a recipe that promised to be an easy way to make it with only three ingredients, I decided to give it a try.

This comes from the blog “Cook With 5 Kids,” but this recipe appears to only exist on Pinterest. You can find the original post at https://www.pinterest.com/pin/564427765807969699/ or visit her website at http://cookwith5kids.com, if you’re interested in her other stuff. I didn’t change anything, because it was so simple that there wasn’t anything to change.

Homemade Toffee
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Homemade Toffee

With just three ingredients and a little patience, you can easily make homemade toffee that has a great flavor and can be eaten alone or incorporated into baked goods.
Course Dessert
Keyword brown sugar, butter, salt, toffee

Ingredients

  • 1 stick butter 8 tablespoons
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Prepare an 8-by-8-inch pan or dish by lining it with waxed or parchment paper.
  • Combine the butter, brown sugar and salt in a medium-sized skillet or saucepan over medium heat.
  • Stir regularly, making sure everything is smooth and well-combined.
  • Continue stirring until the mixture reaches 300 degrees on a candy thermometer.
  • Once the mixture reaches 300 degrees, remove it from the heat and pour evenly into the lined pan.
  • Place the pan in the freezer for at least 30 minutes to let the toffee set up and harden.
  • Once the toffee is set up, remove it from the paper and then smash it into bite-sized pieces. (I used my meat mallet.) Store in an airtight container.

If you wanted to turn this up a notch, I’d recommend melting some chocolate and spreading it on the top of the toffee before breaking it into pieces. Let the chocolate harden, and then break it. You could include a sprinkling of nuts on top, too.

This is great to eat on its own. It’s super crunchy (like peanut brittle), but it also dissolves in your mouth like hard candy if you don’t want to chomp on it.

The recipe’s author also suggest smashing it into much smaller pieces and incorporating it into chocolate chip cookies. I think it would also be great in brownies or sprinkled on top of a frosted cake.

For us, it’s just hanging out on our counter in a little sealed bowl, and every day, each of us savor at least one piece and try not to go back in for more.

I have to admit, I haven’t done a great job of eating only one at a time. Maybe, if I’m being honest, I did make this for myself more than for Joey. Just don’t tell him. He doesn’t need to know.

This piece first appeared in print on June 17, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Dessert

It will be nice ‘toffee’ these bars on your dessert plate

Chocolate chip toffee bars are sweet with lots of rich flavors.

I finally worked through the last of several bags of Heath toffee baking chips I had hanging out in my freezer. I can never resist a sale, and I hadn’t resisted one featuring those yummy bits several months ago.

It was the first time I’d purchased them—especially since I’m generally too cheap to buy most name-brand items—and they did not disappoint.

I have to admit, there was probably a time in my childhood when I would have said I didn’t really care for toffee. I think it probably stems from the Heath bar being one of my least favorite in a variety bag of fun-sized candy bars and it always seeming to be a “grown-up” kind of candy bar to choose from the array of brightly colored packages.

I suppose I can say I’ve reached the level of maturity where a toffee candy bar sounds pretty nice, though, and when I finally cracked that last bag of toffee bits, I might have snuck a few of them into my mouth.

Quality control, you know.

The recipe I used comes from the blog “Can’t Stay Out of the Kitchen.” You can find the original at https://cantstayoutofthekitchen.com/2013/03/12/chocolate-chip-toffee-bars/. I stuck to the recipe but did try to give a bit more clarity to the directions.

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Chocolate Chip Toffee Bars

Chocolate chip toffee bars are sweet with lots of rich flavors.
Course Dessert
Keyword bars, chocolate, toffee

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter melted
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/3 cup flour
  • 12 ounces chocolate chips divided
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or nuts of your choice, divided
  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • 8 ounces toffee bits baking chips or chop 8 ounces Heath bars into small pieces, divided

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 9-by-13-inch baking pan by coating with cooking spray.
  • Beat the brown sugar and butter together until smooth. Beat in the egg, and then beat in the flour.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the chocolate chips and nuts and then incorporate about 1-1/2 cups of them to the batter (it will be crumbly).
  • Set aside 1-1/2 cups of the batter and press the remaining batter into the bottom of the prepared pan.
  • Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Pour the sweetened condensed milk over top of the baked crust, and sprinkle all but 1/4 cup of the toffee bits on top, then sprinkle on the rest of the batter, chocolate chips and nuts.
  • Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Top with the final 1/4 cup of toffee bits, and press them gently into the top. Cut into bars once the pan has cooled completely, and store them in an airtight container.
  • You have to trust the golden brown color on these bars to know they’re done, because it’s impossible to use the toothpick trick with the gooey sweetened condensed milk in the middle.

These turned out really well, and I highly recommend enjoying one with a hot cup of coffee. They were a hit with family, too. I noticed, though, that some of the kids in the group were much more interested in the other desserts on the table than my toffee bars.

Apparently, the hesitancy to choose toffee over other desserts is a family trait.

I was perfectly OK with it, though. Those kids don’t know what they’re missing, and that leaves more for me.

This piece first appeared in print on Feb. 27, 2020.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Dessert Uncategorized

Candy bar cheesecake brings king-sized flavor

If you’re in a hurry, a no bake toffee cheesecake pie comes together quickly and is a crowd pleaser.

We have a yearly tradition of getting together with our friends for the first round of the NFL playoffs. We eat, yell at the TV and have a good time.

It’s one of the few times during the year we all set aside to spend time together.

This year, we decided to wait for our party until this past weekend, when the Chiefs would be playing for a spot in the Super Bowl, and as is common knowledge by now, we were not disappointed.

Our basement was full of a big group of friends, and Joey even borrowed a second television so that we had great sight lights for everyone in the room. We had a pretty nice spread on our snack table, of course.

I made a new kind of cookie bar I was excited about and decided I’d just take a photo of them for my column after the game was over. Surely there would be leftovers, right?

Yeah. There were not.

So my plan to give you an idea for a great Super Bowl snack kind of backfired on me, since they were clearly such a great football snack that I couldn’t keep even one to photograph, so I’ll be making them again in the near future to get a good photo to share, but I’m going to give you another idea instead that, thank goodness, I did manage to photograph before it all disappeared.

This recipe comes from the blog “Together as Family.” You can find it at https://togetherasfamily.com/toffee-cheesecake-pie. I added extra vanilla in my version.

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No Bake Toffee Cheesecake Pie

If you're in a hurry, a no bake toffee cheesecake pie comes together quickly and is a crowd pleaser.
Course Dessert
Keyword candy bar, cheesecake, no bake, toffee

Ingredients

  • 9- inch prepared graham cracker crust regular or chocolate
  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened (I used fat free)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 ounces frozen whipped topping thawed
  • 8 ounce bag of chocolate toffee bits OR 6 Heath bars chopped

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until it’s smooth.
  • Beat in the whipped topping, and then fold in the toffee pieces, saving a handful to sprinkle on the top.
  • Spread the mixture into the prepared crust and top with the remaining toffee pieces.
  • Cover the pie and refrigerate for six to eight hours or overnight. (For some reason, I never realized that the plastic insert in a pre-made graham cracker crust is meant to be flipped over and used as a domed lid for the fridge, so I was pretty excited about finding that out.) Slice and serve. Refrigerate any leftovers.

When you slice this pie, you may want to opt for smaller pieces, as it’s pretty rich, and a little goes a long way. Plus, if you’re hosting a big party, it will let everyone sample more goodies.

I shared this pie with friends awhile back for a different gathering, and it was a big hit. It was also a nice respite from having to deal with the oven for a bit. That’s one thing I often don’t like about baking right before company comes over—heating up the house more than necessary.

When the Super Bowl comes around in February, I think I’ll plan on some more cookie bars, and this pie might make another appearance on our snack table as well.

One thing I’ve learned as a Chiefs fan is that you may not always be happy after every game, but as long as you have a paper plate full of something delicious, you can get over it pretty quickly.

Go Chiefs!

This piece first appeared in print on Jan. 23, 2020.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Dessert Snack

Don’t be a goober; make candied peanuts

Candied peanuts are a bit addictive, make the kitchen smell heavenly and are quick to make.

We have a tradition of hosting a number of our friends on the first weekend of the NFL playoffs. We yell at the TV together, share snacks and always have a great time.

This past weekend was especially fun as we watched the Chiefs advance to the next round, and we’re planning on repeating the festivities this weekend for their next game.

No one in our friend group knows how to skimp on the snack table, and I have to admit that I’m as guilty as everyone else of bringing way too much food.

One snack that I tried recently that goes over well is also super easy to accomplish, which is nice for a quick treat.

The recipe author calls these toffee peanuts, but I decided to just refer to them as candied peanuts, since we all agreed that the flavor profile didn’t seem to be what we’d expect in something with “toffee” in the title.

I found this on the blog “Genius Kitchen.” You can find the post at https://www.geniuskitchen.com/amp/recipe/toffee-coated-peanuts-269296. I doubled the spices in my version.

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Candied Peanuts

Candied peanuts are a bit addictive, make the kitchen smell heavenly and are quick to make.
Course Dessert, Snacks
Keyword peanuts, toffee

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup I used dark
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups unsalted dry-roasted peanuts

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  • Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy cleanup.
  • In a bowl, stir together all the ingredients except the peanuts. Add the peanuts and toss to coat.
  • Dump the mixture out onto the baking sheet and spread it into a single layer as much as possible.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Once the peanuts are golden brown and the mixture is bubbling, remove them from the oven.
  • Allow the peanuts to cool completely and then transfer them to an airtight container, breaking the larger clumps into smaller pieces if you desire.

After these were finished, Joey and I both taste tested them and declared them a moderate success. But then we kept going back to the container over and over.

I suddenly realized I should probably upgrade their success level, and they didn’t last very long after several of us got our hands on them.

I have another jar of peanuts sitting in my pantry right now, and I’m thinking they may need to get a nice coating of sugar and spices before Sunday’s game.

There’s no guarantee the game will be a good one, but I know for certain the snack table will be on point.

This piece first appeared in print on Jan. 17, 2019.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.