This post is part of my cornerstone content, written years ago, updated today, inspiring wisdom and deep understanding.
For the past 20 years, right after Thanksgiving, I have started making about 50 eight-ounce boxes of English toffee and peanut brittle to send to family and friends.
Using fresh ingredients and sticking to a well-practiced process, I sing along to Christmas music while standing in front of the oven and stirring for hours.
The most important ingredient I add is love.
Yes, that’s right, I stir in love. I know it sounds corny, but it’s true!
The English Toffee takes 15 minutes of constant stirring and must be pulled from the heat at precisely 290 degrees Fahrenheit. For those 15 minutes, I keep the spoon moving steadily while thinking of the faces of all the happy people opening their box of candy. I imagine the squeals of delight when they open their mailbox, followed by joyful savoring of the first bite.
I believe everyone has the ability to share their hope and joy with others. It’s the gift we have from the Universe to connect and expand beyond our thoughts, to be a light in a dark world.
Especially with the darkness of the season and the drama of current events threatening to overwhelm, I focus on tuning into the energy of my Captain to share my love and joy in the form of homemade English Toffee and peanut brittle. It’s nice having fresh, delicious candy in the house for the holidays, too.
Now it’s your turn.
Here’s the recipe for those of you interested in making candy for yourself and your loved ones. Don’t get discouraged if your first batches don’t turn out perfect. Just keep trying, and soon you’ll be spreading happiness and joy along with your gifts of candy!
*Make sure you use a heat-resistant (up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit) silicone spoonula to make these recipes. It’s a bit expensive (around $12) but necessary to make this safely.
*Use a sturdy 3-quart saucepan. The sides need to be tall enough to clip the thermometer on, and you need enough space to stir without slopping over the sides. Don’t use a non-stick pot. The heat will kill it.
When Blake realized I was good at making the English Toffee, he asked me to start making peanut brittle. Although it takes twice as long, the process is the same and uses the same ingredients, so it wasn’t difficult to incorporate this recipe into my ritual.
- 2 cups white sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 1/2 cup raw peanuts
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda, sifted.
Butter 2 large baking sheets; set aside. (sift baking soda and set aside). In a three qt saucepan, melt butter and add sugar, corn syrup, and 1/2 cup water. Cook and stir over medium-high heat to boiling. Clip candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Cook and stir over medium-high heat to 275 degrees Fahrenheit (about 30 minutes). Add nuts; cook, and stir to 295 degrees Fahrenheit (about 15 minutes more). Remove saucepan from heat; remove thermometer.
Quickly sprinkle soda over the mixture, stirring constantly. Immediately pour onto prepared sheets. Let it cool completely; break into pieces. Store tightly (Ziploc bags work fine) makes about 2 1/4 lbs of candy.
Toffee Butter Crunch
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
- 1/2 cup finely chopped toasted pecans
Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over edges. (I use the disposable aluminum ones from the grocery store). Sprinkle the 1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts in the pan. In a saucepan, melt butter. Add sugar, corn syrup, and three tablespoons of water. Cook and stir over medium-high heat to boiling.
Clip your candy thermometer to the pan. Cook and stir over medium-high heat to 290 degrees Fahrenheit, soft-crack stage (about 15 minutes). Observe after 280 degrees to prevent scorching. You only have a 30-second window to do this. It won’t be crispy if you don’t cook it long enough. If you cook it too long, it will be greasy and scorched. Both results are disappointing.
Remove the saucepan from the heat; remove the thermometer. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Let stand 5 minutes or till firm; sprinkle with chocolate pieces. Let stand 1 to 2 minutes. When softened, spread chocolate over the mixture. Sprinkle with the finely chopped nuts. Chill till firm. Lift candy out of pan; break into pieces. Store tightly covered; this recipe makes about 1 1/4 pounds of candy.
Let me know if you made this and how it turned out! In the meantime, I wish you all a happy holiday season and all the best in the coming new year!
P.S. If making candy isn’t your thing, I’m hosting a Creative Arts workshop at Rochester Holistic Arts on January 16 from noon to 4 pm. It’s a fantastic way to tap into your creative Source and focus on making something beautiful, fun, and meaningful. Read more by clicking here. Sign up at RHA by calling (248) 330-9569.