Monday, March 14, 2011

Irish Coffee Toffee

by Darla

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Well, almost. Happy early St. Patrick’s Day! We don’t usually have big St. Pat’s celebrations at my house. Usually, the day amounts to each of us making sure that we’re sporting a bit of green, me baking something “Irish-ish” (typically always soda bread), and as much pinching as we can get in (completely disregarding the wearing o’ the green, in most cases).

This year will be especially quiet on the home front because the hubster is away, in the States, for training. I imagine he’ll try to have a green beer or two up there to celebrate, and I’m still making some yummy treats down here for the kiddo and myself, but it’ll be mostly just another day for us. Although, were he here, I’m not sure things would be so very different…we’re just awfully laid back. No, no…I didn’t say lazy. I said laid back. ;)

One of my favorite St. Patrick’s Days, though, was one of the few times that we did go out to celebrate. We were still in Maine at the time, and we went into Portland for some drinks. There are a couple of Irish pubs in downtown Portland, but they were jam-packed, so we made our way down this narrow little side alley, following the prompting of a small chalk board sitting out on the sidewalk of a main street. We emerged to see a small crowd of people standing around on a terrace above a hidden little beer bar called Novare Res. It was the perfect place to spend the holiday for us. We sat at the bar, sampling beers and hard ciders, talking, and laughing with fellow patrons. If you’re ever in the Portland (Maine) area, I highly recommend a little detour into Novare Res. They have many, many beers in all varieties to sample and enjoy, and it’s a fun, laid back atmosphere.

Anyway, though, you’re here for treats, right? And have I got one for you…I decided to take an Irish classic and reinvent it. Irish coffee is coffee with whiskey and sugar, topped with cream. My twist has the coffee, whiskey, and sugar, but also the addition of chocolate and mint…all wrapped up in toffee! Say hello to Irish coffee toffee…

No, really…lucky you.

For this candy you’ll need unsalted butter (margarine for vegan/dairy-free), brown sugar, Irish whiskey (optional), molasses, semi-sweet chocolate chips (be sure to buy vegan chips for vegan/dairy-free recipe), sugar, finely ground espresso, and salt. You’ll also need about half a cup of Andes mints, chopped coarsely. A fantastic substitute for the Andes mints, if you don’t want mint, or need a completely dairy-free recipe, is finely chopped hazelnuts (YUM). Andes mints also come in a baking chips version, which is actually what I used to make this, but chopping the whole candies is the same thing, just a little more work.

In a small saucepan set over medium high heat, combine the butter, sugar, brown sugar, molasses, whiskey, espresso, and salt. Stir until the butter is melted and the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches about 250 degrees on a candy thermometer. Continue boiling, stirring constantly (be sure to get in the corners of the pan), until the mixture reaches 300 degrees.

Remove the mixture from the heat and pour onto a pan lined with parchment paper or a Silpat mat. I only have 11- by 16-inch pans, so I only used half the pan for my candy. You can double it and fill the sheet, or use a smaller pan. If necessary, use an offset or heatproof spatula to spread the candy evenly. Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the hot toffee and allow to sit for 5 minutes, then spread the now soft chocolate over the top of the toffee. Before the chocolate sets, sprinkle the chopped Andes mints evenly over the top of the candy. Allow to cool completely before cutting or breaking into pieces.

I didn’t really anticipate liking this candy. After all, I’m not a coffee drinker, and I’m not a toffee fan. Of course I won’t like it, right? Wrong. I love this stuff. Seriously love it. I love it more than the hubster does, and he’s crazy about toffee. It has a fantastic toffee flavor and a good punch of coffee, but it’s the chocolate and mint that make it for me. It’s just wonderful!

I’m not a big fan of super crunchy treats, so I like to make some of this on the thin side. I get to enjoy the thinner, crispy pieces while everyone else has the pieces with thicker, crunchier toffee…and everybody is happy.

I loved this candy so much that I’ve been brainstorming ideas of what I can do with it and other kinds of toffee flavors I may like. You’re going to die when you see what I came up with! That’s another post, though. Today, take the time to go make this. It’s a speedy treat, and it’s irresistible. Enjoy!

Irish Coffee Toffee
Makes 1 9×13 sheet of candy
Ingredients

*If you want to make this vegan be sure to buy vegan sugars and chocolate chips.

1/2 cup (1stick) unsalted butter (margarine for vegan)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon Irish whiskey (optional)
2 teaspoons finely ground espresso
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 to 1 cup chopped Andes mints (I used about 1/2 cup) or 1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts (roasted)

In a small saucepan set over medium high heat, combine the butter, sugar, brown sugar, molasses, whiskey, espresso, and salt. Stir until the butter is melted and the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches about 250 degrees on a candy thermometer. Continue boiling, stirring constantly (be sure to get in the corners of the pan), until the mixture reaches 300 degrees. Remove the mixture from the heat and pour onto a pan lined with parchment paper or a Silpat mat. If necessary, use an offset or heatproof spatula to spread the candy evenly. Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the hot toffee and allow to sit for 5 minutes, then spread the now soft chocolate over the top of the toffee. Before the chocolate sets, sprinkle the chopped Andes mints (or hazelnuts) evenly over the top of the candy. Allow to cool completely before cutting or breaking into pieces.

Recipe and “Happy St. Patrick’s Day” banner by Darla, “Lucky You” tag from The TomKat Studio

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sarah March 14, 2011 at 8:21 am

Sounds delicious, but I hate how almost everything St. Patrick’s Day has to include either beer or mint :(.

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2 Darla March 14, 2011 at 8:29 am

It’s excellent without the mint also…that was my choice. I love mint and chocolate! The hubster prefers it without any mint. It’s great with chopped hazelnuts on top.

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3 Rita March 14, 2011 at 8:34 am

at least it’s not potato flavoured toffee! :D

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4 Rita March 14, 2011 at 8:34 am

oh hello hello! This looks great! Does anyone have an idea of what Aussies could substitute Andes Mints for?
Or could you please give me a better idea of what they actually are so I can try something similar? :D
Yummo!

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5 Darla March 14, 2011 at 8:50 am

Hi Rita, I linked Andes mints in the post to try and help you out a bit. They are a chocolate mint candy, usually a semi-sweet type chocolate with a green mint layer in them. I’m not sure what you may have in Australia that’s similar, but some other candies that I know of around my neck of the woods that could work too are York Peppermint Patties or Junior Mints. They’ll give the same flavor, but the texture will be different since they both have a soft filling and Andes mints are solid. I hope this helps a little bit! Sounds like I need to come spend some time in Australia…purely for research purposes, of course! ;)

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6 Rita March 14, 2011 at 7:44 pm

Hahaha yes that would be good! It’s confusing sometimes, because the local sweets are totally different to ones from overseas. Australian lollies seem to be a little sweeter or there’s something different. Definitely worth a research trip! I might even try the local lolly bar, they have a lot of imported sweets there, so they might have the andes mints. I’m so gonna make this!

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7 The Blue-Eyed Bakers March 14, 2011 at 8:48 am

Oh gosh we love this idea! Irish coffee and toffee?! Superb!

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8 Stephanie March 14, 2011 at 10:51 am

This looks fantastic! Thanks for making and sharing!

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9 Mary Anne March 14, 2011 at 10:55 am

Okay, yum!
And thanks for the Portland tip! We are just starting to plan a weekend trip up there for the summer, and this sounds like just our kind of place!!

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10 betsy March 14, 2011 at 10:56 am

I LOVE toffee and this recipe sounds fantastic!

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11 Kathia March 14, 2011 at 11:42 am

I love toffee, this one looks delicious. I am book marking the recipe.

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12 Britney March 14, 2011 at 12:36 pm

You are so incredibly creative! Its inspiring.

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13 Karin / bevemyrs blogg March 14, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Definitely a treat to be enjoyed bite after bite!!:)

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14 Liz@HoosierHomemade March 14, 2011 at 9:29 pm

Looks delish! Happy St. Patty’s Day!
~Liz

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15 Beauty & the Feast March 14, 2011 at 11:30 pm

This candy has just about every single one of my favorite flavors all in one delicious bite. Looks absolutely delicious!! Great recipe.

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16 Jun March 15, 2011 at 5:54 am

Wooow! Looks so delicious! My mouth waters at the sight of them!

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17 Andrea March 15, 2011 at 6:26 pm

Oh.My.Yum! I just love toffee! I made it for the first time last year and I was hooked! Can’t wait to try this one!

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18 Avanika (Yumsilicious Bakes) March 16, 2011 at 4:24 pm

Oh yum! This just looks awesome!! Can’t wait to try it.

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19 Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen March 17, 2011 at 7:46 am

I am just loving this. Really stunning pictures too! ♥- Katrina

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20 Aanya @ A Toast to Taste March 17, 2011 at 6:29 pm

Oh my goodness!! Gorgeous pics and that toffee looks outstanding!

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21 sara March 17, 2011 at 10:37 pm

Mmmmm, so yummy! I adore toffee but have never tried to make it myself…definitely may have to try this version! :)

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22 Amanda @ Martinis At Six March 23, 2011 at 11:38 am

Hi Darla! I made a variation of this toffee and it turned out so nicely! I linked back to your site, and you can check out my version here http://www.martinisatsix.com/2011/03/irish-cream-toffee.html

Amanda

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23 Amanda Lynn March 16, 2012 at 12:23 am

I tried out the recipe with a few variations and it turned out awesome! I didn’t have molasses or whiskey so I used maple syrup and brandy. Thanks for posting the recipe! I had no clue it could be this easy :)

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24 Janina March 16, 2012 at 3:11 pm

I made this today and it looks perfect. I used mint chocolate and hazelnuts. Thank you for this recipe, it’s awesome.
Greetings from Germany (:

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