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food

The Devil in Pan Form

Yesterday I decided to do some Spring Cleaning for my laptop. I reorganized folders, erased old files, and categorized my zillion-and-one bookmarks in my “Recipes” folder. If you’re anything like me, and you spend way too much time ogling over what my husband calls “food porn” (or as I’ve dubbed it, my “fornography”), then you can relate to having a bookmark list a mile long of glorious and taunting recipes you hope to try.  As the Type A freak in me came pouring out, I began culling the list and organizing it all into separate folders with a sense of total accomplishment.  In doing this, I also stumbled upon a few enticing recipes and decided it was high time I tried them.

One of these was for English Toffee Bark.  Although the ingredients list was short and the instructions simple, I had postponed trying this one because I don’t have a candy thermometer, nor have I ever used one. To be honest, I’m a little bit intimidated by the whole candy thermometer thing.

I don’t know if it was my grumbling stomach, my intense craving at the moment for anything chocolate, or what, but I somehow found it in myself to conquer my fear and press on. I grabbed my hubby’s meat thermometer (yes, it’s his…because let’s be honest, I don’t do meat — especially ones big enough to require a metal gauge to be shoved into them) and put my apron on.

After getting my butter, sugar, water and salt to the right temperature (so I hoped, the meat thermometer wouldn’t go past a certain point and I had to eyeball it), I poured it into a greased pan, spread Reese’s peanut butter chips on top and then poured melted milk chocolate all over top of that. For real.

A few things I learned in the process:

  1. When the recipe calls for a “heavy saucepan”, it means something better than my piece-of-crap IKEA pot.  Cheap pots don’t retain heat as well and won’t allow your mixture to reach the high temp that candy requires.
  2. Even though my meat thermometer only read 255 degrees (and the recipe calls for 290), the mixture was darkening and there was a hint of burning in the air so I made the executive decision and deemed it done. Turned out I was quite right. Perhaps I do have the candy-making-skills after all.
  3. Candy on a ceramic stovetop is as difficult as everyone says it is.  It took a looonnnnggg time to reach the right temp because the ceramic tops fluctuate to allow for a constant temperature…but with candy you just want it to be hot, hot, hot.
  4. Dark chocolate would be best because milk chocolate has a higher oil content and makes it sort of greasy.  That said, you’re going to be licking your fingers anyway after eating these so it doesn’t really matter!

Let’s get one thing straight, anytime you use an entire block of butter, you know it’s going to be good. Add sugar to the mix and it’s going to be great. Add chocolate on top of that and well, it’s the devil in pan form. I don’t know how many calories are in these and well, I just don’t care either. Let’s not ruin the moment.

Recipe: English Toffee Bark

Domestically Yours,
Natasha Kay

Discussion

5 thoughts on “The Devil in Pan Form

  1. I don’t know if I can stop myself cooking this recipe.

    Posted by Tes | May 15, 2010, 1:20 pm
  2. Mum and I made caramel for my birthday dinner last february and we did it without a thermometer because hers broke. i was happy to have a mum with me then cuz there’s no way i would have had the confidence to do it alone. but yah we waited for that smoked, almost burnt moment. and the sauce was amazing!!!

    those toffee bars look unreal!

    Posted by zenaritten | May 15, 2010, 1:57 pm
    • Oh yum…wish I was there for *that* birthday!!! In fact, I remember her telling me about it…next time, I’ll just make the same recipe on my end and we can video chat while we eat it together…oh, except I’ll be having mine for breakfast while you have yours after dinner! LOL! Nothing wrong with that!!! 🙂

      Posted by Natasha Kay | May 16, 2010, 7:22 am
  3. So glad you liked it as well as your husbands colleagues. Love your tips, additions and most of all DEVIL description!
    ~Mary

    Posted by foododelmundo | May 18, 2010, 9:15 pm