In seven days, it will be that most pink of holidays, Valentine’s Day. It’s one day a year where we officially celebrate love. Now while we always say you should celebrate your loved ones every day you are with them, we do value the idea of expressing such love or adoration for the ones that you care for most in your life.
And while traditionally people give sweets to their sweetie on Valentines Day, those boxed candies at the store are loaded with preservatives, sugar, and unethical chocolate. This year instead of buying a junk-filled treat, how about spending the time to show someone you care with a homemade box of candy, made with ingredients that won’t harm their body or the earth.
One of Matt and I’s favorite candies is toffee, and this year we were thrilled to be able to make it ourselves from Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind. No, it’s not quick or necessarily easy. But the art of making this multi-step treat is the appreciation for how special it is, and to show someone you love them enough to take the time.
Also, homemade is just insane. Vanessa’s recipe, which she generously offered to share with you all today, is dee-licious! You will not be disappointed, nor will the sweetie in your life!
A little word about this fantastic book: Finn is the self proclaimed cookie monster. He is a connoisseur of treats. He’ll always choose a sweet treat when faced with a choice. He bakes more often in our home than either Matt or I! And you know what book he loves the most? Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind. The photos are stunning, every recipe we’ve tried has been fantastic, and are always straight-forward and easy to follow.
So much of the complicated baking and making of desserts seems so daunting. “I have to use a candy thermo-whatsit?” “I have to wait until I see what?” That’s why having a clear and concise guide is so important when you set out on that journey. Vanessa’s book is great and while I’ve definitely made Marshmallows before, she took me beyond 240 degrees Fahrenheit and into the hard cracking candyland. And I didn’t get lost once!
Our point here is:
- If you like this recipe (or these Skillet Cookie Sundaes we’ve shared before), you’ll love this book.
- Maybe you’re not the treats maker in your house and you want to get your loved one a treat but not a junk-filled sweet. SOLUTION: This book will make a fantastic Valentine’s gift. I mean, c’mon, even the cover has flowers on it.
Alright, enough already. Equip yourself with heart shaped candy molds, and let’s conquer candy making.
And making these toffees was so much fun and so reasonable that the kids helped too (with supervision! boiling sugar is a no joke burn hazard for real!). Wesley in particular took great enjoyment watching the thermometer with me and calling out the numbers. And of course there’s always licking your fingers after dipping in chocolate, followed by “a sprinkle of nuts for the candy, a sprinkle of nuts for me”!
- 1 C coconut sugar
- 2 Tbsp water
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp fine-grain sea salt
- ½ cup of butter (for a dairy-free alternative, use ghee instead - same measurement)
- 1 12 oz bag chocolate chips
- ½ cup dry-roasted unsalted almond pieces (optional)
- Line a 2-quart oblong glass baking dish with parchment paper; set aside.
- In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the coconut sugar, water, vanilla, salt, and butter, in that order. Turn the heat to medium-high and stir the ingredients together in one direction, so the butter doesn’t separate, until the butter has completely melted and the ingredients are combined. Stop stirring and let the mixture come to 300°F (148°C) or the hard crack stage on a candy thermometer. Once it reaches temperature, remove from the heat and pour into the parchment-lined baking dish (or a heart-shaped mold like we did!). If you’re making toffee bark, jump ahead to Step 6.
- Place the toffee in the refrigerator for 60 minutes to harden.
- About 15 minutes before the 60 minutes is up, melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler over low heat or in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. Stir frequently, using a rubber spatula, until the chocolate is melted.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Once the toffee has hardened, break into pieces using your hands or a knife. Use a candy-dipping fork, or a plastic fork with the two middle prongs broken off, to dip the toffee into the melted chocolate, turning it over to coat on all sides until completely covered. Let the excess chocolate drip off the fork back into the bowl and place the chocolate-covered toffee piece on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with the almond pieces. Repeat the process until all the toffee pieces are coated. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes so the chocolate can set.
- To make chocolate-covered toffee bark: Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the hot toffee right after transferring it to the baking dish. Let the chocolate sit for a few minutes until the heat melts it. Use a rubber spatula to spread the chocolate evenly across and then sprinkle the almond pieces over the chocolate. Refrigerate for 60 minutes or until hardened. Once the toffee has hardened, break into pieces using your hands or a knife.
- Store any remaining toffee covered in the refrigerator for up to a week.
The toffee is buttery and crisp and exactly how you remember toffee. A perfect Valentine’s treat, thanks to Vanessa from Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind!