Chocolate-Covered Pretzel Peanut Toffee

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Happy New Year! I hope you all had a great holiday. Ours was pretty quiet, which was good because all three of us got sick, one after the other – always a great way to spend one’s vacation. We have this week left to try to get as many things crossed off our to-do list as possible. We’re not holding our breath that they’ll all get done, but we’ll do our best.

In the meantime, here’s a quick little toffee recipe to help you combat those mid-winter blahs. I doubled the recipe, which I would not recommend, because the toffee sets so quickly it’s hard to get both batches flattened out on the pans fast enough.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and put it aside for a bit.

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In a heavy saucepan, combine 1/2 cup butter, 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon corn syrup, and 2 tablespoons water.

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Attach a candy thermometer to the side and heat that over medium until it reads 300°F. Try to avoid stirring as much as possible, and if you do, don’t use a metal spoon – wood or silicone will prevent premature crystallization.

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Next to the pot, place a little container of 1/4 teaspoon baking soda and another of 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. You’ll need to have those handy at short notice later on.

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While you’re keeping an eye on the sugar, crush up about 1 1/2 cups pretzel twists.I also had some salted peanuts on hand so I crushed and dumped those in as well – probably about 3/4 cup salted peanuts.

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And gather up 1 cup chocolate chips. I mixed mine with some dark chocolate for flavour.

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When your sugar has caramelized and gotten to the hard crack stage (that’s 300°F), remove it from the heat and quickly stir in the baking soda and vanilla. Try to resist screaming as it fizzes up and gets all terrifying. I promise that will pass.

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EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

Toss in the pretzels and peanuts and stir the toffee quickly.

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Then tip it out onto your parchment sheet and flatten it down as much as you can before it starts to set.

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Sprinkle the chocolate evenly over the top of the toffee and let it stand for a few minutes while the chocolate melts.

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Then smooth out the melted chocolate with a spatula.

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Sprinkle the top of the chocolate with fleur de sel and let harden in the refrigerator for about an hour.

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Once it’s hardened, break it up into chunks and eat it all by yourself! share it with your friends and family.

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Salted Caramel, Peanut Butter, and Chocolate Squares

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Um.  So.  I made these, with thanks to Midwest Living, and then suddenly they were all gone.  A heavily pregnant Atlas had a bunch of them, as did her recently-delivered sister (I guess babies need chocolate?), and then we took them to a Thanksgiving potluck and the cousins discovered them.  And then Rusty ate the rest.  I can’t even remember what they tasted like, they disappeared so fast.  So if you’ve got a Hallowe’en party on the go tomorrow night, this is a good way to incorporate candy into your cookery.  Go for it.

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Now, it’s best to get everything ready ahead of time for this because timing is key.  So.

Take 12 peanut butter cups (that’s four packs of three of the Reese ones) and chop them up.

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And a huge bar of chocolate, such that when you cut it up you get 1 1/2 cups chopped chocolate.  You’ll need as well 1/3 cup butterscotch chips.

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Grab 1/2 cup Skor bits (these were my own addition, and I liked them).

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Measure out 2 cups peanuts (salted or unsalted, your choice).

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You’ll also need 2 cups crushed graham crumbs.

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Okay, here we go.

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Line a 9″ x 13″ pan with aluminum foil such that the foil comes over the long edges (and you can use it as a handle later.  Then grab some large flat crackers (the recipe calls for “club crackers,” so I used Sky Flakes) and line the bottom of the dish with enough to cover the whole thing.

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In a medium saucepan, combine 3/4 cup butter, 3/4 cup honey, 1 cup brown sugar, and 1/3 cup whipping cream.

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Bring that to a boil, stirring the whole time.

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Add the graham crumbs and reduce the heat to a simmer, stirring constantly, and cook for a full 5 minutes.

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Remove that from the heat and pour in 2 teaspoons vanilla.

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Spread half this thick caramel stuff onto your cracker base in the baking dish.

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Sprinkle on the peanuts and the Skor bits.

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And then the peanut butter cup bits.

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Spread on the other half of the caramel stuff and press enough crackers onto the top to cover it.

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So then it looks like this and you can leave that for a little bit.

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In the bowl of a double boiler or in the microwave, melt together the milk chocolate pieces and the butterscotch chips.

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Add in as well 1/3 cup smooth peanut butter.

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Spread that gloriousness over the cracker top.

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Shake and tap the pan to get the bubbles out, then chuck it in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

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When it’s all set, take it out and use the foil handles to remove it from the pan.  Carefully remove the foil.

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Cut these babies into squares and watch them disappear before your eyes!

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