Today is my birthday. I am a woman of a certain age and I think it is worthy of celebrating, so I made one of my favorite candies, chocolate covered toffee, with a hit of coffee. I never buy Health Heath Bars, but every year I manage to convince my boys to give me them from their Halloween bags. This year was no different. Then on my travels for the book tour I ended up with the ultimate version, which has completely ruined me to the Hershey’s product. Not so sweet, a powerful kick of coffee and really lovely bittersweet chocolate. The maker is Poco Dolce and Samantha at Omnivore Books in San Fran turned me onto them after our book signing there. I love her and hate her for that! I bought several varieties and all them were delicious, but the little bag of coffee toffee was like a bag of chips, you can’t eat just one. I brought them home and considered not sharing with my husband, but after leaving him at home for 9 days with the boys I figured it was the least I could do to share my candies. Big mistake. He ate them all. Well not really, but they were gone. I had only one choice, make my own. It is surprisingly easy and perfect for wrapping up as holiday gifts or just hiding in your desk drawer, or both.
Every year my husband and my boys set off on the loving task of baking my birthday cake. This year my husband out did himself and made a devil’s food cake with cream cheese icing and a fresh raspberry filling. You can see his lovely work at the end of the post.
Chocolate covered Coffee Toffee – inspired by Poco Dolce and Emily Luchetti’s Four-Star Desserts
(a must have book)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon molasses
3 teaspoons instant coffee powder (I like to use the new Starbucks VIA)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled to just above room temperature.
Prepare a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment or wax paper
In a medium sized heavy-bottomed sauce pan, with a Candy Thermometer attached, bring all the ingredients, excluding the chocolate, to a boil over medium low heat.
Continue to cook and stir the mixture until it reads 275 on the candy thermometer.
The mixture will be much thicker. Stir constantly until it reaches 315 degrees, which will happen pretty quickly. Remove it from the heat and stir until very smooth, just a few seconds.
Pour the toffee onto the prepared cookie sheet.
Using a spatula spread the toffee out into a 1/16-inch thick rectangle. try to keep it as even as possible. Work quickly because the toffee will set fast.
Using a Pastry Wheel or pizza cutter, VERY GENTLY (you don’t want to cut so deep that it actually reaches the bottom or you may destroy your silpat) score the toffee into bite sized pieces.
You should get about 60 pieces. Again work quickly so the toffee doesn’t set before you are done.
Allow the toffee to sit until it is room temperature and then break apart the pieces.
Melt the chocolate over a double boiler until perfectly smooth. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to just above room temperature. If the chocolate is too hot it will run off the toffee and not give you a nice coating, if it is too cold it will be too thick to work with.
Set up a second cookie sheet with a sheet of parchment or wax paper.
Drop a piece of the toffee into the chocolate. If the chocolate is a touch warm the toffees may crackle a bit, but that is fine.
Using a fork flip the toffee over to coat the other side.
lift the covered toffee from the chocolate and shake gently to allow the excess to fall away and any large air bubbles to come to the surface. As the chocolate cools down the air bubbles may have to be popped by hand. once this starts to happen, just return the chocolate to the double boiler and reheat for a minute to soften the chocolate slightly.
In order to get a nice smooth bottom, without a bunch of excess chocolate (otherwise known as a “foot”) you want to scrape the bottom of the fork on the edge of the bowl before laying it to set on the parchment.
Lay them on the parchment until they set up.
Continue dipping until they are all covered in chocolate. Allow them to sit out in a cool spot to set up. Because we are not tempering the chocolate (that is another post) you may want to set them in the refrigerator for a few minutes until they are firm.
You will have a bit of chocolate left over so you can add some decoration to the tops if you wish with a parchment bag. Allow the decorations to set up and then serve or
Fill decorative Treat Bag as gifts for teachers, co-workers, family or yourself.
Thanks Graham, it is the best cake ever. I love you!