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Chezkaren

Chocolate Separating from Toffee

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Here's the deal: I'm making English Toffee to sell in tins at our stores. It's your basic toffee recipe -- sugar, butter, corn syrup and water -- and is topped with dark chocolate and chopped walnuts. I'm having problems with the chocolate separating from the toffee. Mind you, this isn't as simple a solution (at least in my mind) as "she must have messed up a tray" (or something along those lines). It separates on the same sheet tray! Some times not at all but most of the time it's separating on about 1/4 of the tray.

1. I made 15 sheet trays of it today. Some I made with Plugra and some I made with regular unsalted butter.

2. I've put the chocolate on some of the trays while the toffee was still warm and on some of the trays after the toffee had set up.

3. I've varied the amount of chocolate I'm putting on it.

4. I've tried breaking the toffee up right after the chocolate has set up, after it has sat out room temperature...I've put it in the walk-in to set up and I've put it in the freezer to set up. Doesn't make a difference.

Please help. This is the first day of 4 that I'll be making it -- I'm taking the weekend off because if I have to look at another tray of toffee right now, I might just go insane. I'm seriously thinking that IT senses my frustration and is just separating now to spite me.

Any help will be much appreciated.

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Sometimes some of the butter separates out of the toffee and concentrates on the surface. If it does, the chocolate isn't going to adhere to the toffee. Try blotting up the butter with paper towels - the surface should be matte, rather than shiny. Then you can spread the layer of chocolate on top.


Edited by aprilmei (log)

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Sometimes some of the butter separates out of the toffee and concentrates on the surface. If it does, the chocolate isn't going to adhere to the toffee. Try blotting up the butter with paper towels - the surface should be matte, rather than shiny. Then you can spread the layer of chocolate on top.

I ditto that response. I have to blot my toffee with paper towels before adhearing the chocolate.

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I have a related question. An Amish women in my area makes "Cashew Crunch" for me. It contains sugar, butter and roasted cashews. She usually uses salted butter, buying the least expensive brand available at the market. The toffee always comes out shiny, which is the way we want it to look. For the last batch, I gave her unsalted butter and she added a little salt. It came out looking dull. It wasn't really noticable until we compared the two batches side by side. We assumed the difference was due to the difference in butters but didn't understand why. Would salt content affect the shinyness? Any thoughts? Thanks.

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For the chocolate separating issue, when I make mine at home, if I have the patience and time to spend grinding nuts, I dust (dust, not smother) each partially set tray of toffee with ground nuts of whatever variety I am using. This gives the chocolate something to cling to and soaks up a bit of the oil.

My other method is to wait until they are partially set and run over the tops with a docking roller to make perforations for the chocolate to grab onto. Blot after docking.

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I really like the suggestion of a thin layer of ground nuts on the top. Will try today and report back either in frustration or elation. Thanks everyone! Karen

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can someone post or link to a good recipe? I know it's easy, but I have a party later tonite and am making Peppermint Bark in one pan... toffee in the other pan would be cool too.

I'll be using unsalted, unroasted almonds (that I could salt and roast if you all think I should).

Thanks!

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This is the recipe I use.

1 cup sugar

1 cup butter

3 tbsp. water

1 tbsp. corn syrup

Bittersweet or Semisweet Chocolate

Nuts of your choice -- I would roast them but I wouldn't salt them.

Combine sugar, butter, water and corn syrup. Stir to combine. Once boils, stop stirring and boil until it reaches the color you desire (I shoot for a lovely amber color and it never does me wrong) -- or you could use a candy thermometer like most normal people do. If you use the thermometer, I think you need to boil it until it almost reaches hard crack stage -- someone please correct me if I'm wrong. After I remove from the burner, I slowly whisk until it comes together (you'll see what I mean). I've been finding out that if I don't whisk it after removing it from the heat, I have separating butter issues.

Pour onto buttered jellyroll pan and spread with a off-set spatula (be careful not to drag your pinky through the hot toffee or else you will get a nasty burn....not that I've ever done that!).

I've been using Badaine's suggestion to dust with some ground nuts prior to spreading the melted chocolate on top. It's been working great. Spread with melted chocolate and sprinkle with almonds. Let the chocolate set up and then break into pieces.

Karen

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Thanks for the recipe, Karen! Sounds good. I'll have to add toffee to my list that I'm working my way through. :biggrin:

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I cook a pound of butter and a pound of sugar to 290 and pour it over roasted almonds.

If you stir it while it cooks you can keep the toffee emulsified. Just don't get crazy and splash it around all over the sides of your pan.

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I add a cup of slivered (not sliced) almonds to my butter/sugar mixture when it hits 225 degrees, then continue with it until it reaches 310 degrees. You have to stir frequently but not constantly to keep the almonds from scorching.

The recipe I use is from a friend on the CI BB:

1 lb unsalted butter

1/2 tsp. salt

2 cups sugar

3 Tbs. water (I use rum)

12 oz. melted chocolate

1 1/2 cups chopped toasted pecans

Melt butter and salt. Add 1/2 of sugar, stirring, then add water, add remaining sugar. Turn heat to medium high and cook until 225 degrees (or until sugar is totally dissolved). Add almonds. Cook, stirring frequently with wooden spoon, until mixture is dark amber (310 degrees). Pour immediately into parchment lined jellyroll pan; smooth with offset spatula. In 2-3 minutes, when toffee has just set, add melted chocolate. Sprinkle with nuts, pressing down to adhere nuts. Cool until fully set; break into pieces.

Even my DH, who doesn't like much in the way of sweets, loves this toffee.

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Neither of the recipes posted above use baking soda. I've made peanut brittle with baking soda. What are the advantages of adding the soda and can you add it to any toffee recipe? Thanks.

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baking soda lightens the mixture which is what you want with brittle (thus the name).

toffee (although i don't see it mentioned in most of the recipes) benefits from stirring during cooking to keep the butter emulsified and when it cools, it "crumbles" when you bite into it.

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I have the same problem with the chocolate separating from the toffee. Thanks for the suggestions. :smile:

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I made a batch tonight and tried dusting it with fine nuts before adding the chocolate. I still had problems with it separating. But I think I found a solution. After pouring on the chocolate, I always throw the tray in the fridge so the chocolate can set up. I usually cut it up the next day. Well, as I did this, it started to separate. So I left it on the counter and waited for it to come to room temp and then I tried cutting it. Success! No separation! Maybe this will help someone else too.

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Made toffee the other day for the first time. Cooked it until 315 degrees as directed, then cooled for 3-4 minutes (as directed) before toping with my chocolate pieces. I then cooled the candy over night in the fridge and when I went to break it up (using the tip of a chef's knife), a large plane of chocolate separated from my toffee.

Was my toffee just too cool before I put the chocolate on or did I make some other error?

Many thanks.

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Bumping this up because I too am having trouble with the chocolate on my English Toffee. Although my trouble is of a different sort and I think it has to do with the tempering, or lack thereof, of my chocolate.

I made my toffee, which came out perfectly in taste and texture. The recipe I used simply said to take bittersweet chocolate, chop into chuncks, and to sprinkle it onto the hot toffee, about 10 minutes after you first pour it into the pan. After the chocolate chunks melt and are spread evenly, sprinkle with finely chopped nuts and put into the freezer to cool down. Apparently, at that point I should be able to flip the slab of toffee out of the pan and cover the underside with more melted chocolate and nuts. Um, no.

It has been at least an hour at this point, and I did lift the toffee our of the pan, because I had lined it with aluminum foil, but the chocolate on top is still almost as liquid as it was when it first melted! The instructions did not mention having to temper the chocolate, and I have no experience doing so I was happy to follow the instructions as written. What should I have done differently? I would like to make more toffee for Christmas goodies, but not if I am going to get melted chocolate all over everything!

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Bumping this up because I too am having trouble with the chocolate on my English Toffee. Although my trouble is of a different sort and I think it has to do with the tempering, or lack thereof, of my chocolate.

I made my toffee, which came out perfectly in taste and texture. The recipe I used simply said to take bittersweet chocolate, chop into chuncks, and to sprinkle it onto the hot toffee, about 10 minutes after you first pour it into the pan. After the chocolate chunks melt and are spread evenly, sprinkle with finely chopped nuts and put into the freezer to cool down. Apparently, at that point I should be able to flip the slab of toffee out of the pan and cover the underside with more melted chocolate and nuts. Um, no.

It has been at least an hour at this point, and I did lift the toffee our of the pan, because I had lined it with aluminum foil, but the chocolate on top is still almost as liquid as it was when it first melted! The instructions did not mention having to temper the chocolate, and I have no experience doing so I was happy to follow the instructions as written. What should I have done differently? I would like to make more toffee for Christmas goodies, but not if I am going to get melted chocolate all over everything!

You will need to temper. To your melted chocolate, add a bit of unmelted chocolate and stir occasionally, when that melts add a bit more. Stop when you reach 32º C (89 to 90 F).

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Thanks Kerry, I'm going to have plan on doing a little experimenting in the next week or two. I think think for the next batch of toffee I'll break it up first, then dip it in tempered chocolate and roll it in the nuts - it'll make it easier to adjust if the chocolate isn't working out right!

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Hi Liz,

Try it again as Kerry suggests...a shame to do all that extra work by breaking it up first and then dipping the pieces. And one thing Kerry taught me...always dust the toffee with cocoa before you put the chocolate on it. Helps tremendously for the chocolate to adhere properly.

Good luck.

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A method I've used before is too chop the chocolate and nuts into small chunks and scatter them on a sheet pan with a silpat. When the toffee is ready, pour it over the chocolate and nuts. Don't spread too much. Then while it's still hot, sprinkle more chopped chocolate and nuts over and let set until hardened. Break into pieces.

It's a little more rustic looking, but I've never had any problems with it separating or being oily.

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When I checked it this morning the chocolate had set up enough that I could at least pack it in a bax with layers of parchment between the layers. It won't stand up to really warm temperatures, but at least it doesn't start making a mess immediately.

I think it would have set up faster if the toffee had been fully cooled beforehand though. It would have been nice if the recipe had said that - as the intructions were written, it should have been fully set in an hour or two!

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A question about timing:

I'd like to make the trays of toffee a day or two ahead of the chocolate & nuts two-sided toppings.

Have not had any further troubles with chocolate separating after blotting and gentle dusting with cocoa. I am now making the toffee in two Perfect Brownie pans which turn out each 18 perfect little rectangles.

Should there be any problems if the toffee rectangles are made ahead of time?

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