Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Happy St. Nicholas Day!

"The more we love, the bigger we are." (The late William Sloane Coffin)

Does anyone out there celebrate St. Nicholas Day? Today is the feast day of the bishop on whom Santa Claus was modeled. Especially in German families, the tradition is to put your shoe out the night before and you get goodies. When we were kids, we usually got small stuff, like coloring books and candy. My mom and my sister and I still exchange St. Nick's gifts (they're in the mail!), though my Irish husband hasn't picked up the tradition. We are going out to dinner and a comedy fundraiser tonight, so maybe that counts.

I sent my Vintage Christmas Swap package yesterday to my partner Sarah. While I was initially excited to have an overseas partner, I wasn't that excited when the postage was $15! I sent her a bunch of cool things, which I won't mention here in case she is visiting my blog. Having learned from my last swap, I did wrap each gift in cute Christmas fabric and tied them with a yarn bow. That little snowman tin is not vintage, but it contains my yummy homemade toffee, the recipe for which I will share with you now. I make a dozen or more batches of this every year and it's quite the hit. The secret is that it's actually really easy, if you have a good candy thermometer.

Heidi's Christmas Toffee
1 c. unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1 1/3 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. and 1 tsp. white corn syrup (Karo)
3 Tbsp. water
The best chocolate chips you can buy (I often use Ghirardelli)
Chopped nuts (I skip because so many people don't like or are allergic to nuts)

Melt butter over low/med heat. Add sugar, corn syrup and water. Turn up to medium heat and attach candy thermometer to pan. Stir constantly and heat to 300 degrees, watching very carefully after 280 degrees. (You don't want it to be heating too quickly or you can't control the temperature). As soon as it hits 300, remove it from heat, remove the candy thermometer, keep stirring and pour onto cookie sheet. Tip cookie sheet to spread toffee as thin as possible (quickly, before it starts cooling). After it sets up a minute or two, sprinkle chocolate chips (about half a bag or little less) on top. Once they've melted (a few minutes), spread the chocolate to the edges of the toffee. Let harden over night. Break into small pieces and store in tins.


Anonymous said...

Now that's what I'm talking, what a yummy recipe Heidi, I need to get a candy thermometer first but will definitely give this a try. I might make it for my work Christmas party next Wednesday.

Ooooweee, Sarah looks like she is getting some "sweet" goodies! Lucky girl, and from the looks of her blog, her taste is vry nice as well, so I'm sure you are partnered up perfectly.

Barb said...

I tried to make a Macademia brittle, very similiar to this recipe (I posted about it around Thanksgiving) but the nuts burned and the brittle never hardened. I could tell by the taste that it would have been yummy though, so I'll try it again.
I appreciate the comments you've made on my blogs. I've tried to write you back, but the email address seems to no longer be valid. Pleeeaaassssee post your necktie chair :). I about fell over when you wrote about it.