This weekend we celebrated the holiday season with the Eighth Iteration of the Annual Ratskellar Holiday Party. The night each December when we pack a ridiculous number of people into 450 of our square feet (the feet on the first floor) and party it up with beer, wine, and about a million Christmas cookies. Always a fun time!
The party is always so much fun and I love hosting, but it is a lot of work. Luckily, all of my experience with hosting parties at the beach seems to have calmed down some of my hosting anxiety/stress over the last year, and I was pretty chill getting ready for this year’s party. I think it also helped that I was able to arrange my schedule to be off on Friday, which gave me a whole day to tackle all of the shopping, baking, cleaning, and other assorted party prep activities.
Most of the baking I did this year were some of my classics–whole wheat brownies, cranberry bliss bars, chocolate chip cookies. But I wanted to make something a little different too, and after hearing one of my friends talk about her annual toffee making marathon, I had toffee on the brain. And then I was flipping through my copy of the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, and I come across a recipe for Coffee Toffee. Coffee + Toffee sounds pretty much perfect in my book, AND I had all the ingredients, so before I knew it, I was whipping out my candy thermometer and making a batch while a batch of brownies was in the oven. And wow, was it worth the effort. Deliciously rich toffee, with a light coffee flavor. Wonderful!
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons molasses
1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped mixed nuts
Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In medium heavy saucepan with a candy thermometer attached, melt butter, brown sugar, white sugar, molasses, salt and espresso together over together. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a whisk until the temperature approaches 250¯F, at which point you should stir constantly until it reaches 300¯F.
Pour immediately into the prepared baking sheet and spread evenly with a offset or silicon spatula. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the toffee and let them sit for a minute until soft, then spread the chocolate evenly over the candy base. Sprinkle the chocolate with chopped hazelnuts and then place the tray in the fridge until the toffee is set.
Break into pieces and store in an airtight container. Store in the fridge until serving. And try not to eat it all at once!