Thursday, January 20, 2011

Vegan Toffee

While I was on my Christmas vacation, Tortellini was not the only veganization I decided to take on. Another tradition my boyfriend's Mama has is making candy. She makes toffee and peanut butter candy. She was feeling sick this year so we didn't get around to making the peanut butter candy. I gave her a hand and practiced making non-vegan toffee for the gift basket so I could not only help but also brush up on my skills and build my upper body strength.



I was surprised at how easy this was (especially compared to the tortellini process) and how simple the substitution was. Basically, all I had to do was sub Earth Balance buttery spread for the butter and use vegan chocolate chips.

That's it.

Seriously.


Vegan Toffee Recipe

You'll need:

  • 3/4 cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread
  • 3/4 cup Brown Sugar, packed
  • Vegan Chocolate Chips (I like these from Ghirardelli) -- about 1/4 to 1/2 cup ?
  • Nuts of your choice, chopped (I like pecans) -- enough to cover the bottom of an 8-9 inch round cake pan (or 8x8 square)


Notes:

First, let's talk pans. You're going to need a good pan that can take 7 minutes of constant stirring per batch. And you're going to need a compatible spoon. You can use non-stick, but if it's even the slightest bit flaky or if your spoon (even if it's plastic) is at all sharp, you could end up with non-stick flake bits in your toffee and ruin a pan. I suggest a pan w/o a nonstick coating and a wooden spoon, but experiment with what you have.

You will also need a pan to spread the nuts in like a cake pan. Then you will need a pan that fits over that pan and covers it completely (like a cookie sheet).

What to do:

  1. First, spread the chopped nuts in the cake pan in an even layer. You are going to be pouring the sugar mix over this once it's cooked so don't leave any large gaps of nuts it can seep through.
  2. Set the heat to medium and start melting the Earth Balance.
  3. When it's about half melted, add the brown sugar.
  4. Start stirring and pause every now and again to see if it's bubbling yet. When it's bubbly but not boiling insanely, start the timer for 7 minutes.
  5. Stir constantly (just a slow stir is fine, but it should be CONSTANT) till the timer goes off. It will look too greasy at first. Then it will fluff up and look pretty cohesive. Then right when it's ready, it will deflate and look shiny again. If you don't stir constantly or if your heat is too high, you'll burn it.
  6. Pour the sugar / Earth Balance mix over the nuts in ribbons. Don't glob it all in the center and try to spread it out. Move the pan all around as you pour. I usually start at the top of the pan and move from left to right, making slightly overlapping ribbons as I move down the pan toward me.
  7. Immediately dot the top of the mix with the chocolate chips. You want one chip about every inch or so. More if you like a thick layer. Cover the cake pan with the cookie sheet so that the heat from the toffee will melt the chips.
  8. Wait 3-5 minutes and remove the cookie sheet and use the back of a spoon to spread the chocolate in a layer all the way to the edges.
  9. When chocolate has set (this can be done at room temperature so that you don't discolor the chocolate in the fridge) take the point of a knife and press down to start cracking the toffee into bite-sized pieces. If you used a non-stick cake pan, move the toffee (it will lift out in one big chunk) to a plate or other dish before using the knife so you don't ruin your pan.

4 comments:

  1. That looks amazing. Like a need another great sweet recipe :P

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  2. I am so excited that this worked! Well, it is still in the cooling stages, so I haven't tried it, but I am glad it worked and looks like it should! I had tried to make vegan toffee using palm shortening by Spectrum and it failed miserably! The sugar and the shortening never came together. And all the recipes I had said don't use "margarine." I am glad I didn't give up and found your recipe. I will let you know how it tastes as soon as it cools...if I can wait that long. :)

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    Replies
    1. Came out awesome! I used Earth Balance's Soy Free Margarine and the margarine has a little bit of an off-flavor, but the toffee came out really good. I am impressed! And so happy...Thank you!

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    2. That is great. I'm glad you stumbled upon this post, because toffee is too good to miss out on! I, too, have had problems with other butter / shortening type concoctions but find that Earth Balance in the tub really behaves most like butter in almost every recipe that I try. Glad they have a soy-free version, too, because I know there are so many folks out there with allergies to that. Have you seen that they're doing Mayo now, too? The original and olive oil kinds are soy-free.

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