Friday, December 7, 2012

Aunt Molly's Shortbread

Around the holidays there are a couple of old family recipes that my mom always has to make. (because if she didn't, there would be protest). One of them is her famous toffee, and this shortbread is the other. At nap time a couple of weeks ago she was making a batch to bring to the relatives for Thanksgiving. So I decided to blog it, to save the recipe for posterity.

"This recipe is from Oma's best friend, "Aunt" Molly, who was from Scotland. This is real Scottish shortbread, not the pretend stuff you buy in the store. "Aunt" Molly's husband, "Uncle" Bill was the milk man. Sometimes if I got up very early I would see "Uncle" Bill putting our milk order into the milk box on our back porch." She told me while she was getting the ingredients ready. Oma was my great grandmother, in a previous post we have done Roladen recipe.

2 sticks of butter (must be butter)
1/2 cup of sugar
2 & 1/2 cups of flour

Put the sugar in the bowl first then cut the butter into small cubes and put on top of the sugar (can let it sit for 10-15 minutes so that butter starts to get soft, but you don't want it really soft.)

Cream the butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon.
"probably would go faster creaming the butter and the sugar with the mixer, but this is real Scottish shortbread so you make it by hand."

Gradually add the flour 1/2 cup at a time. Cut in the flour with a pastry cutter...

and eventually your hands when it gets too hard.

Mixture will be crumbly

Pour into the 8x8 pan

Squash it down with you hands, to make one big slab in the pan. (Push really, really hard to make it stick together)

Prick it all over with a small fork.

Bake in oven preheated to 300 for about 30 minutes, but watch it very closely. You want it to be very pale brown (seriously not even brown at all)

Remove from oven, score into squares with a sharp knife while still warm.

Also while still warm sprinkle the top with white sugar (generously)

Let cool completely then cut into squares. Store in a cool dry place in a covered container.
Recipe can be doubled to bake in a 13"x 9" pan, but baking time might have to be doubled.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Grandma's Toffee

The one, the only, the Grandma's Butter Toffee recipe!

My mom has been making this toffee during the holiday season for years. She would always bring a jar to anyone's house when we visited for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners. It just doesn't feel like the holidays without butter toffee! When I started getting "Guest Blog" recipes from my family I knew I had to get her toffee recipe in here, but she wouldn't make it til the holiday season, so I had to wait.
But now the wait is over!
Grandma's Toffee recipe (dictated to me while she cooks):

2 sticks "I can't Believe It's Not Butter" or butter
(note, I did not have good luck using regular butter, the toffee came out too grainy and not smooth, but my sister uses it in her toffee all the time with success)
1 & 1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon each of light corn syrup and water
2/3 cup coarsely chopped toasted almonds
(not salted if using pre-roasted packaged almonds)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup (or more) semi-sweet chocolate chips or my preference:
Ghiradelli 60% cacao chips

Gather and assemble all ingredients before starting to cook:
toffee must be stirred constantly while cooking.

Chop almonds and lightly toast if not already roasted
(watch them, they can turn from toasted to charcoal very quickly!) Set aside.

Bubba helped chop some of the almonds.
(He loved the chopper! Since she has been making mulitiple batches,
every time Bubba hears the chopper, he has to help,
and yells "Bang, Bang, Bang!" while chopping)

Here's the size you are looking for

Unwrap one stick of margarine and use it to lightly grease a foil covered cookie sheet.

Put the greasing stick in a sauce pan with the other stick of margarine
and start melting over low heat
add water and corn syrup.

Add sugar gradually to the margarine.

Stir as the margarine melts.

Keep stirring as margarine melts and sugar dissolves.

Keep the mixture on low/medium-low heat stirring constantly.
The mixture will go through several changes in consistency as it cooks


gradually thickening until it looks like vanilla pudding.

Briefly leave the pan to prepare a small ice water bath to use for testing the temperature.


Continue cooking and stirring the mixture until it is about the color of peanut butter.

(Peanut butter jar shown for color,
Do Not add peanut butter to the toffee)

Test the temperature by drizzling a little mixture into the ice water. It will cool very quickly and will harden. Taste it to see if it has a nice crunch.

When at the crunchy (hard crack) stage remove from heat onto a heat-proof surface and stir in 1/3 cup chopped almonds and the vanilla.
Stir quickly, the consistency will change again.

Pour mixture onto the foil covered pan.

Sprinkle the top with chocolate chips, add enough so that when melted they will cover the surface when spread.

I use an off-set knife to spread them.

Sprinkle remaining 1/3 cup (or more as needed) of toasted almonds over chocolate

Allow to cool completely, to cold. It goes faster if refrigerated (or put outside in the winter)

When cold break into small pieces 


Store at room temperature in a sealed container (if it lasts long enough!)