Over the past few years I have become known for my holiday toffee, making large numbers of batches for teachers, family and neighbors.
This year I decided to turn up the heat on my traditional recipe, smoking the chocolate chips that would coat a number of different toffee flavors.
By smoking the chocolate, I was able to bring a truly unique depth of flavor to the buttery toffee and wow everyone who was the recipient of a toffee gift box!
Here’s the “how to” if you want to do something really special for the folks on your grift list this holiday season!
12oz. dark chocolate chips
Heat 2-3 charcoal briquets. Place on one end of the grill’s bottom grate. Add 2 small chunks of your favorite smoking wood. Alternatively, a smoker tube such as this one can be used for creating cold smoke.
Fill a cake pan with ice. Place chocolate chips in a second cake pan or pie dish and set on top of the ice (this will help keep the temperature of the chocolate low enough to avoid melting).
Once the wood begins to smoke, place the layered dishes on the main cooking grate as far away from the charcoal and wood as possible.
Cover the grill and allow the chocolate to smoke for 30 minutes for a mild smoke flavor or 45 minutes for a stronger flavor. Remove chips from the grill and set them aside until ready to use.
SMOKED CHOCOLATE TOFFEE
1lb. unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. Kosher salt
¼ cup water
3/4 cup smoked chocolate
Coarse sea salt (optional)
High heat thermometer
Prepare grill for medium-high heat cooking (approximately 400 degrees). Place a large saucepan on the grill and add the butter, sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and water. Insert a high heat thermometer into the mixture, making sure that the tip doesn’t touch the bottom of the saucepan. Bring ingredients to a boil, stirring often, and allow the mixture to cook until it reaches 300 degrees.
Remove and pour the mixture on to a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Spread the mixture out evenly and allow it to cool for 2-3 minutes. Use the backside of a butter knife to score the toffee, making horizontal and vertical lines to create small squares or rectangles.
Pour smoked chocolate chips over the warm toffee and allow them to start melting. Spread the chocolate evenly across the top of the toffee.
Sprinkle coarse sea salt evenly over the chocolate (optional). Allow the chocolate covered toffee to cool before breaking in to bite-sized pieces.
Note: You can make a variety of different flavors but quickly mixing in ¼ cup of toasted almonds, pecans, cocoa nibs, bacon, etc. as soon as the hot candy reaches 300 degrees. Once the chocolate begins to cool, top with an additional ¼ of the mixed-in ingredient and/or broken pretzels, toasted coconut, dried and finely chopped cranberries, etc.