XO Marks the Spot

Espresso Walnut Toffee with Cocoa Nibs

Bridging the miles between friends...nothing says love like a care package!

I'm sending confectionary hugs with this delicious toffee...all dressed up in a beautiful box from Nashville Wraps.



This simple recipe is gets rave reviews every time. It also stores easily...making it a great candidate for traveling care packages.
Inspired by a toffee recipe on Epicurious.com, my version coats the entire top with semisweet chocolate, walnuts, cocoa nibs, and a final dusting of Kosher salt. Salty, sweet, and bitter are in perfect balance here.

Tip: Once your toffee is ready, things move very quickly. Mise en place is key, so get yourself properly set up before you begin.

Espresso-Walnut Toffee with Cocoa Nibs

2 cups walnuts
1/2 cup cocoa nibs
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed golden brown sugar
2 tsp instant espresso powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
1/3 cup water
1 Tbs dark unsulfured molasses
9 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely choppped (Valrhona 56%)
1 ¼ cups (2 ½ sticks) unsalted butter
Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Spread walnuts and nibs on a cookie sheet and toast in the oven until the walnuts are fragrant, about 5-10 minutes, making sure they don’t burn. Allow to cool for ten minutes; then coarsely chop. Remove 1 ½ cups to a bowl. Finely chop remaining ½ cup; then place in a separate bowl.

Prepare your mise en place: in a medium bowl, combine sugars, espresso powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine water and molasses. Place chopped chocolate in a separate bowl. Butter a sheet pan or line with a Silpat.

Melt butter in a heavy 2 ½-quart saucepan over low heat. Add sugars, espresso powder, cinnamon, salt, water, and molasses; stir until sugar dissolves. Attach a clip-on candy thermometer to side of pan. Increase heat to medium; cook until thermometer registers 290 degrees (and no less!), stirring slowly but constantly and scraping bottom of pan with a silicone spatula, about 20 minutes.

Remove pan from heat, and quickly stir in 1 ½ cups coarsely chopped nuts. Immediately pour mixture onto prepared pan; do not scrape saucepan. Spread toffee to ¼-inch thickness.

Sprinkle chocolate over hot toffee. Let stand one minute. Using the back of a spoon or an off-set spatula, spread chocolate evenly. Before chocolate cools, sprinkle with reserved ½ cup finely chopped walnuts (and cocoa nibs, if using). Press lightly across the top to ensure nuts and nibs adhere to the warm chocolate. If you prefer toffee salty-sweet, dust the top lightly with kosher salt.

Refrigerate until toffee is firm, about one hour. Break toffee into pieces then store in an airtight container.
For those days when you need a taste of something sweet...I keep a bag of toffee in my freezer. It's delicious chilled or at room temperature.