Hazelnut Espresso Toffee

One of my favorite quotes of all time is from Pablo Picasso: “Good artists copy.  Great artists steal.”  And it’s true.  Every great artist got his best idea from someone else.  This is along the same vein as every note already being sung.

for some lucky recipients

I stole this recipe from Smitten Kitchen.  It’s a blog I check obsessively.  Deb’s recipes never done me wrong, and I never hesitate to use her recipe for a crowd, even (especially!) if it’s the first time I’ve ever made it.  It makes my boyfriend nervous, but I know it will always come out great.

This recipe was special because I was making sure it was Kosher for my boss, who is Jewish.  Luckily I was already out of sugar and the like, and I have special dishes just for baking that I don’t let anyone else use.  So it’s not like I had to go completely out of my way to make it extra-special just for her.  But I would have, because I’m awesome like that.

Did you guys know this symbol stands for Kosher?

Yep, it's true.

Check it out.  I bet you eat a lot more Kosher items than you thought.

Smitten Kitchen’s Coffee Toffee x2 is BFN’s Hazelnut Espresso Toffee….because I wanted it to sound impressive.

4 sticks or 16 ounces (!!!!)

1 cup light brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

3 teaspoons molasses (can swap corn syrup or honey)

1/2 teaspoon salt (or a heaping 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt)

3 teaspoons instant espresso powder (I used Café Bustelo, which I’m not sure is instant or not, didn’t make a difference in the outcome)

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, or 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
(I actually probably ended up using about 3 cups, it’s slightly more like a candy bar)

1 cup chopped hazelnuts – or other nut of your choice, but hazelnuts are delicious.  (toasted, skinned, cooled,and chopped – yes, it’s a pain in the butt.  Do you have a friend or relative who needs an outlet for their anger?  Put them to work with a rolling pin or tenderizer.)

Line 2 small baking sheets (mine are 9×13, to fit in my teeny oven) with parchment paper or a silicon mat and set aside.

In medium heavy saucepan with a candy thermometer attached, melt butter, brown sugar, white sugar, molasses, salt and espresso together over together. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a whisk (an electric one would be really helpful – I tossed my hand blender because it was a hand-me-down from the early 80s – my hand cramped up doing this manually) until the temperature approaches 250F, at which point you should stir constantly until it reaches 300F-310F or what is known as the Hard Crack Stage.

Pour immediately into the prepared baking sheet — you can spread it more evenly with an offset or silicon spatula, but don’t worry if you have neither. Dump the chocolate chips over the hot toffee and let them sit for a minute.  When they look shiny, spread the chocolate over the toffee. Sprinkle the whole thing with the smushed hazelnuts.  Then just wait.  If you want it to harden faster, cover it loosely with plastic wrap and cram it into your tiny freezer, but do it fast before the other stuff starts falling out.


Break into pieces and store in an airtight container. If your kitchen runs warm, or has a gigantic leaky radiator in it, you might prefer to keep it in the fridge so the chocolate doesn’t get soft.

Notice how gorgeous the photos are?  This is mutually beneficial relationship.

I will give a jar of toffee to whoever can name the movie that the caption from the 2nd photo is from.

Coming Soon!

Hello friends + family.

Several of you have suggested I start my own food-related blog, and I’ve finally become motivated to do so.  Probably because of all my recent kitchen based projects… and failures.

My first blog entry will be Hazelnut Espresso Toffee, to be photographed by my marvelous neighbor Rebecca Teal.

Rebecca just got back from London, where she was shooting her first ever ad campaign for an organic underpants company.  Visit her website, then check back here in a few days for my first real entry.


photographer extraordinaire

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