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My Dad always loved English toffee, and kept it out of kids’ reach, high in a cupboard in the dining room, to ensure it would last a little longer. My homemade version is a walnut-studded brittle rich with molasses, dipped in dark chocolate, and sprinkled with more toasted nuts. My simple method for removing the walnut skin—rubbing the toasted nuts in clean tea towels–takes away the mouth-puckering tannins you sometimes get with walnuts. To make the candy, you’ll need a candy thermometer to monitor the bubbling syrup until it reaches 300 degrees, the hard crack stage. Use any good quality melted dark chocolate for dipping—or milk chocolate, if you prefer. When cooled, store the finished brittle in an airtight container in the fridge, or high up in that cool cupboard—to make it last a little longer : ) For more Holiday treats? We’ve got lots to choose from. Try our Holiday Brandied Fruit & Nut Bars, Coffee and Molasses Dream Bars, Christmas Pudding, Mincemeat Tart, Grandma Bertha’s Apricot Delights, Marshall Fields’ Chinese Chews, Gingerbread Cookies, Old-Fashioned Butter Cookies, Lutz’s Raspberry Nut Bars, or Jam Tart Bar Cookies.
- 5 cups walnuts, divided (4 cups will be used for the brittle; 1 cup for the topping)
- ½ cup molasses
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 cups butter (four sticks) cut into chunks
- ½ cup water
- 2 bars of good quality dark chocolate OR milk chocolate
- Preheat oven to 350. Spread walnuts on a baking sheet and toast 12 to 15 minutes until fragrant and golden brown. Remove walnuts to a very lightly dampened kitchen towel. Gather into a ball and firmly rub nutmeats with the towel until the skins separate from the nuts. Discard walnut skins. Coarsely chop 4 cups of the walnuts and set aside. Finely chop the remaining 1 cup and place these in a shallow bowl.
- Wipe out baking sheet and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, stir together molasses, sugars, butter and water. Continue stirring until mixture heats to boiling. Stop stirring. Attach a candy thermometer to the inside of the pot and continue boiling, without stirring, until candy thermometer reaches 300°F or "hard crack" stage. (Note: This will take a while.)
- When the syrup reaches the hard crack stage, stir in the four cups of coarsely chopped walnuts. Immediately spread onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Cool. While the candy cools, melt chocolate in a microwaveable dish for 45 seconds. Set aside. Once cooled and hardened, break brittle into chunks. Dip one side of each piece of brittle into melted chocolate; sprinkle with the reserved 1 cup of finely chopped walnuts. Chill in refrigerator until chocolate is well set. Serve.
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