I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m just not going to maintain a diet during the holidays. My attempts will be futile and I should just give up now.
I mean, let’s face it: yesterday I kinda sorta engorged myself on turkey, stuffing, and the like. And today, I’m having leftovers of the same meal as fuel for Black Friday madness.
Then there’s all the holiday baking coming up. Christmas cookies left and right, homemade candy (toffee and fudge are my weakness) and all the usual suspects like peppermint Oreos and Hershey Kisses. Oh, and don’t forget Chex Mix or candied nuts or that popcorn that comes in those large tins. I freakin’ love that stuff!
So while I had the best intentions to maintain a decent diet, I’m just going to quit while I’m ahead and enjoy the flavors of the season. I already know my resistance around peppermint is poor, and Christmas cookies have a hold over me like somethin’ fierce, so bye-bye, diet. It was nice knowing you. Let’s get back together after the holidays, shall we? I’ll love you again once I need you to fit back into my clothes
Speaking of delicious holiday treats: homemade toffee! The idea of making my own toffee used to scare me, but now I embrace the surprising ease of it. My recipe for toffee requires no candy thermometers and has a secret ingredient that makes it oh-so memorable: vanilla bean paste! If you guys haven’t cooked with vanilla bean paste before, you must hunt down a bottle! It’s thick and syrupy unlike your standard vanilla extract, but it is jam-packed with vanilla bean flecks that offer an amazing, more concentrated vanilla flavor and those gorgeous bits of vanilla bean. It also gives this toffee that deeper, rich vanilla flavor you taste in chocolate chip cookies. That’s a win-win, my friend!
So what are you waiting for? Break up with your diet already and make this toffee!
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 1 cup white sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
- About 16 crunchy chocolate chip cookies (like by Chips Ahoy)
- 3 squares Chocolate CandiQuik
- ¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Line an 8x8" baking pan with foil, extending the sides of the foil over the edges of the pan. Mist the foil with cooking spray. Arrange the chocolate chip cookies over the bottom of the pan in 3 rows of 4 cookies. Use the remaining cookies to break into pieces and fill the cracks as best you can, so the entire bottom of the pan is covered with cookies.
- In a large saucepan, combine the butter, white sugar & brown sugar over medium heat. Melt the mixture together, stirring occasionally. Once melted, bring the mixture to a boil. Boil the mixture, stirring constantly, for 7-10 minutes or until the toffee turns a light amber color. Mine usually turns this color around the 7-minute mark. Do not over-cook!
- Remove the toffee from the heat and quickly stir in the vanilla bean paste. Because of the alcohol in the vanilla bean paste, the mixture may bubble up or pop, so don't be alarmed! Immediately pour the mixture on top of the chocolate chip cookies and allow it to set at room temperature for about an hour or so.
- After it has set for a little bit, melt your CandiQuik according to package directions or until smooth and melted. Pour the CandiQuik on top of the toffee mixture and immediately sprinkle with the chocolate chips. Allow the mixture to set before breaking the toffee into pieces to serve.
Hope you guys had a great Thanksgiving! If you’re going out today, be safe!