Ultimate English Toffee

We couldn’t let Christmas come and go without reposting this. It’s one of our earliest posts, but one of our very favorite recipes and something we make every single year for family parties. It just may be the toffee of your (my) dreams and while I may be indulging in a tiny bit of hyperbole, once you try it, you’ll know that I might be dramatic, but I am not a liar. In the past, I proclaimed this Salted Caramel Sauce the best thing ever and I stand by that. It’s just that there’s room on the pedestal for that sauce’s cousin from across the pond, real English toffee.  

FACT: This toffee is so good, it caused this face from Loki, this one from Arya, and best of all, this one from Matt. Okay, nerd business done.

While other toffee types are available, this toffee is hard and brittle, and thin enough that you won’t need a tiny hammer to break it up.

Why This Toffee Works

I’ve made a lot of toffee recipes over the years and this one is by far the tastiest and the easiest. It not only has a really nice balance of sweet and salty but a clever secret. The addition of a very small amount of corn syrup pretty much eliminates the danger of the sugar crystallizing (this has happened to us a few times, and can be a real bummer). This problem is caused when the sugar crystals start a chain reaction of crystallization (the process of sugar particles clinging together) which makes the mixture grainy. Once it happens there’s not much you can do about it, but there are a few things that will help prevent it from starting.

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French Onion Soup with Garlic Butter Croutons

French Onion Soup with Garlic Butter Croutons

(We’re busy this weekend working with Beacon Farmers Market’s “Soup4Greens” event, where volunteers cook up a whole variety of soups which are sold to fundraise for a program helping local people to buy healthy food. Come and join us if you’re in the area! We’ll be making Sausage, White Bean and Escarole soup, but since we’re on a soup kick, we decided to repost this article from a few years back: one of our favorites and we think it’ll become yours too.)


It. Is. Still. Winter.

Do you feel a disturbance in the force? As though millions of voices cried out in annoyance and were suddenly told to quit whining? That was the entire population of the east coast of the U.S. simultaneously accepting the fact that this winter will never, ever end.

You’ve made your point Nature! Sheesh. No reason to be such a weiner about it.

If you too happen to live in a frozen hell-scape (or just enjoy delicious French Onion Soup), this recipe is a great way to spend a frigid afternoon. Plus, it includes Winter’s top food groups. Bread, cheese and booze. Yes, there is lots and lots of alcohol in this soup. Three different kinds in fact, sherry, cognac and white wine. This might seem excessive (or if you’re like me, quite restrained), but the alcohol is entirely cooked out, leaving just a warm, rich decadence. Yum.

French Onion Soup with Garlic Butter Croutons
Booze, booze, booze!

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Sausage, White Bean and Escarole Soup

Sausage, White Bean and Escarole Soup

The classic combination of spicy sausage, creamy white cannellini beans and bright escarole has never been so satisfying. We go heavy on the garlic and herbs, add more vegetables, and give it a hearty, creamy texture by mashing some of the beans and adding a little cream cheese. 

Every year on the blog about this time we complain about the weather. It’s so cold right now, we’re watching the Hardhome episode of Game of Thrones, where Jon Snow and his pals are as far North as they’ve ever been, and they’re fighting through a vicious blizzard and the cold is literally making people’s hands drop off, and we’re thinking “mmm, that looks like a toasty vacation spot”.

This year, the weather gods have outdone themselves (it’s -16ºF / -27ºC with the wind chill. That’s an incomprehensible amount of cold.). So instead of shaking our fists at the sky and risking instant frostbite, we fight back by making the coziest, heartiest, most fortifying soup we can imagine.

Rare footage of Matt learning we’re out of milk for tea.

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Sticky Toffee Pudding (warm date cake)

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Sticky toffee pudding is a hallowed British dessert which translates to American as “warm date cake drizzled with toffee sauce”. Either way you say it, it’s a deliciously rich and comforting treat, perfect for a chilly evening. 

This is a line that (I will pretend) gets thrown at me on a regular basis by drive-by shouters at Nerds Farm: “Oy, mate! You, nerd with knife! I thought you were British! Where’s the sticky toffee pudding, eh? Call yourself a food blog?” Well, firstly, no, I don’t call myself a food blog, and secondly, ha, joke’s on you, fella, because I’ve been making sticky toffee pudding on a weekly basis, and damn good pudding it’s been, too, I just haven’t blogged any of it. I’ve been told this kind of churlish behavior is unnecessarily cruel to our readers, so at last, here is the proof of the pudding, be it both sticky and toffee-flavored.

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Our other winter warmer: Vanilla Old Fashioned

Like our Maple Syrup version, this modern update on the classic Old Fashioned combines the warmth of vanilla bean with fresh orange peel and citrus bitters. The result is a little sweet, very smooth and dangerously drinkable. I think my deep and long standing love of all things vanilla began in an unexpected place. A pharmacy, to … Read more

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