Who doesn’t love candy? Whether you have a sweet tooth, want to celebrate in a memorable way, or need to soothe a bad mood, candy does the trick. Chewy, gooey, hard, with nuts, toffee or marshmallows, filled, fruity or sour, candies definitely deliver what they are intended to: great taste that produces happy feelings. You can purchase candies almost anywhere, from your local grocery store and mass merchandiser, to special gourmet candy shops offering one-of-kind treats from around the world. But nothing beats homemade sweets. They are inexpensive to make, you can be creative with the ingredients and presentation, and they can be personalized for any occasion as well. Homemade candies make great gifts and say “I care” like nothing else.
Here is a simple homemade candy recipe for peanut toffee. It uses simple ingredients from your cupboard and can be a fun way to bring family and friends together. Have a candy-making party, and the end product will be even sweeter with the memories made while preparing the delicious confection. After the creations are complete, package and personalize to any occasion, with festive paper, bags, and ribbons. These treats make great gifts for many holidays, can perk up a depressed friend, or even offered as yummy wedding favors.
Heat 1 cup of sugar with a half-pound of butter on high heat in a medium saucepan, stirring constantly until the butter is completely melted and sugar is dissolved. Remember, the success of making homemade candies depends on the temperature, so keep a constant watch with a candy thermometer. For toffee, the mixture needs to get hot enough to reach the hard-crack stage. This is where the sugar breaks down and then reforms. By adding butter, the product becomes stronger with bigger pieces that are also crunchier. A clue to watch for is the color; it’s ready when it turns a light brown and reaches 300° F.
Next, add 1 cup of peanuts and immediately remove from heat while stirring constantly. Adding the peanuts stops the cooking process and lowers the temperature. Transfer the mixture into another pan and press the top until it’s smooth. Allow the mixture to rest for 5 minutes. Sprinkle at least 7 ounces of crumbled chocolate on top and allow to melt thoroughly. Once chocolate is melted, allow to rest for another 5 minutes. Cool mixture in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before slicing and serving. This recipe yields 5 to 6 servings.
Candies have evolved over the years. Even talking and dancing M&M’s® have made their way onto our TV screens with their very own commercials and cameo appearances. Candies have changed and will continue to change, but what will never change is their loyal customer base. The world loves candy. And no candy is better appreciated than homemade treats. Try this delicious peanut toffee the next time you need a special gift and see what joy it brings.