I was raised by a single mom. It was just the two of us, and I was fine with that. My parents divorced when I was very young, so I really have no memories of all of us being together.
When I was 10 my dad remarried. We lived in different states, so I didn't see my dad too often, but I loved going to visit him in Wisconsin. He would drive to Iowa (where I grew up) to pick me up and drive me back to Wisconsin. Sometimes on our drive I would sing entire musicals from start to finish - we had several hours to kill.
Once in Wisconsin, I actually spent a lot of time by myself. I was fine with that, too. I could always find a way to keep myself busy; drawing, making jewelry, hand-sewing a quilt, designing clothes, and making toffee.
I didn't use a recipe, I just tossed a lot of butter and sugar in a pan and cooked it for a long time. I didn't use a candy thermometer, and I didn't really know what I was doing - I was only 12 though, so cut me some slack - so sometimes it was crunchy, sometimes chewy with unmelted sugar crystals. I poured it into a buttered pan and when it cooled a bit, I slathered it in melted chocolate.
It has been at least 15 years since the last time I made my toffee, so imagine my delight when I read through this week's SMS pick, and found that it was very similar to my childhood concoction!
This version uses brown sugar and vanilla for depth of flavor and baking soda, which gives the toffee an airy texture.
Thankfully, I only made 1/4 of the recipe. Even 1/4 was a lot, and it is quite a tasty thing to nibble on every time I walk through the kitchen.
I used pecans instead of almonds, as that is what I had, but that was the only change I made.
The recipe calls for taking the butter, brown sugar and a little water up to 290 degrees, but had I done so, it would have been completely burned. Even at 280 it had slightly bitter burned flavor. Maybe my thermometer isn't accurate, I don't know... Other than that, this was a really easy recipe to throw together, and a great treat to have on hand around the holidays.
Thanks to Kaitlin of Kait's Plate for this week's selection, please visit her blog for the recipe. Check out all the other SMSers toffee here.