If you’re going to do something wrong, make sure to do it right…you know what I mean…like if you’re going to “take a break” on your diet, do it with triple chocolate cheesecake instead of a Hershey’s bar. Or if you’re going to skip work for the day, go to the beach or shopping instead of cleaning the house. Or if you’re going to buy (another!) pair of shoes, why not make them Manolos instead of Payless? (You’d be surprised at the deals you can find on eBay! ;) ) If you’re going to indulge during the holidays, why not indulge in salted pretzel toffee?
If you haven't done so yet, please check out Karyn's lovely blog, French Charming. Karyn is one of the most genuinely kind people I've had the honor of meeting in blogland. Karyn's company has done some amazing fundraising and food drives for the Salvation Army, and Karyn's company is now working with Feeding America...they'll be donating one non-perishable food item for each comment left on this post from now until Sunday...thanks so much for doing this, Karyn! You're truly an inspiration!
If You’ve Never Made Candy Before: Don’t worry, if I can do it, you definitely can! Make sure to read the entire directions before starting, since you’ll have to work pretty quickly with the toffee later.
Nuts or No Nuts: I enjoy the nutty flavor together with the buttery toffee and the salty pretzels, but you can skip the nuts if you like. I find that if I put the chocolate on the toffee when the toffee is still hot, the chocolate can dull when it cools…this doesn’t matter unless you’re not using the nuts (since the nuts cover the chocolate), which is why I give two different methods below.
Salted Pretzel Toffee
About 2 c salted mini pretzels (just enough to cover the bottom of the pan)
1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 c white sugar
2 TB water
⅛ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon vanilla
8 oz good quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (or about 1 ⅓ c chips)
½ c pecans, walnuts, or almonds (optional)
9 by 13-inch baking dish lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper
Arrange the pretzels in an even layer on the bottom of the pan. Cook the butter, sugar, water, and salt over medium heat until the temperature reaches 305F (hard crack stage), stirring occasionally. Stir in the vanilla and pour the mixture over the pretzels, spreading evenly (work fast because it starts to harden quickly).
If you’re not using the nuts: Cool the toffee at least to room temperature. Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler or in a microwave, then immediately spread it over the cooled toffee. Let the chocolate set, then break into pieces.
If you’re using the nuts: Toast the nuts, either in a dry pan on the stovetop, or in a 350F oven for oven for 6-8 minutes. Allow the nuts to cool slightly, then finely chop them. Right after spreading the toffee in the prepared pan, sprinkle the chocolate on top and let it sit for a couple minutes to melt the chocolate (you can cover the pan with a baking sheet to help the chocolate melt faster). Once the chocolate is melted, spread it in an even layer, then sprinkle with the chopped nuts, pressing lightly. Let the chocolate set, then break into pieces.