24 March 2013

Maple Toffee

The farm

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind.  We've been in New York, the Berkshires, Boston, San Francisco, Santa Fe, and back to San Francisco.  The highlight for me was finally being in CT for the sap season again.  I think the last time was back in 2006.  I know we talk about maple syrup quite a bit on this blog but it's just so much fun.  I love the family camaraderie of standing around the evaporator, everyone checking on the sap as it boils down, and sampling the most recent draw-off of syrup.  Neighbors also stop by, ostensibly to help out but mostly to chat with my dad.   I like to walk around the property and check out the early signs of spring.  The best were the snowdrops, which are these beautiful and delicate looking white flowers that poke through the snow.  

After a few days of rain and snow, we decided to lift our cabin fever by baking a cake and celebrating Rainier's 5-month birthday.

This maple toffee recipe is easy to make and highly addictive.  I usually just eat it plain, but you can also chop it finely and put it on ice cream.

Maple Toffee
2 sticks of butter
1/2 cup of dark brown sugar
1/2 cup of Mead's maple syrup
Coarse sea salt
Dark chocolate chips (optional)
Chopped almonds (optional)

1. Lightly coat an 8x8 or 9x9 casserole dish with butter.  
2. Melt the butter, sugar, maple syrup, and a pinch of sea salt in a pan over medium high heat.  Stir frequently with a wooden spoon.
3. Check the temperature with a candy thermometer.  The toffee is finished when it reaches 290-300 degrees.  You can also eyeball it, however.  When the toffee pulls away from the sides of the pan and begins to darken, it is finished.  If you pull it off too soon, it's still delicious, just softer and less crunchy.
4.  Pour the toffee into the casserole dish.  Wait 2-3 minutes and then top with chocolate chips, almonds, or coarse sea salt.  When I use chocolate chips, I let them melt on the toffee for about 3 minutes and then spread them around with the spatula.
Would you believe my Nana is a great-great grandmother!

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