This is the Friday before Christmas, and foodwise, there should be only one thing on your mind.
Exactly. So hearing that the bûche de Noël is to die for at Angelina in Paris really does you no good, since there are people right outside, on the stoop with their fingers poised over the doorbell, and you need something fantastic to give them right this minute – and if not right this minute, certainly within the next 10, after which they will start breaking off table legs and gnawing on them in hopes they might be made of marzipan.
Okay. So let’s break from the usual Foodie Friday routine and help you out of that particular predicament, because believe us, we’ve been right there with you, more times than we’ve had hot meals involving sea cucumber.
We’re going to feed those people some toffee, and here’s what you do. Grab a stick of butter from the fridge. (You need to be far enough along in your foodie evolution that you have a stick of butter in your fridge. If there are people on your stoop with their fingers poised at the doorbell and all you have is a half-stick of Blue Bonnet and some squeeze Parkay, your only option is to hide behind your sofa for several hours until they wander away.) Pack brown sugar so that it fills a three-quarters-cup measuring cup. Grab a 9×9 or 8×8 pan and sprinkle a layer of pecans in the bottom. If you don’t have pecans any tree nut will do, this side of coconuts. (If you have coconuts but don’t have pecans we know what kind of person you are: the kind who makes bread out of eggs, cream cheese, and thin slices of mahogany, well seasoned.)
Find a heavy-bottomed pot, dump in the brown sugar and butter, turn the heat to medium, and start stirring. The butter will begin to melt and the brown sugar will start to liquefy. Perfect. When the mixture starts bubbling in the middle, start a timer and grab a beverage BUT DON’T STOP STIRRING. Who said you could stop stirring? Stir the mixture and drink the beverage for around seven minutes. The mixture will be a darker brown by then, and quite cohesive. You, on the other hand, will not be, if you make more than one batch of this in an evening and have a beverage per batch.
After seven minutes remove the mixture from the heat and pour it over the pecans in the pan. Sprinkle two-thirds of a package of chocolate chips over that, cover the pan with a metal cookie sheet and start eating the remaining chocolate chips, like you need our permission to do that.
After you’ve polished off the chips, remove the cookie sheet and spread around the melted chocolate with a spatula. When the chocolate chips no longer look chip-like, sprinkle chopped or powdered pecans over everything. Go answer the door, and invite your guests to burn their tongues on the barely not-boiling toffee, or have them wait half an hour until it’s edible. (When you put it that way they’ll want to wait, no question.)
After half an hour of cooling, break the toffee into pieces and enjoy. You can share it with your friends, but you won’t want to.
And that is our Christmas gift to you. We will be doing our own holiday-travel thing next week and will not be blogging regularly. Joyeux Noël, fröhliche Weinachten, and we’ll see you on the other side!