Pecan Pie Day or Pecan Sandie Day), celebrate.
Several years ago I found a fabulous recipe in Sunset Magazine, December 2007, for Salted Chocolate Pecan Toffee. I've been a subscriber to Sunset for more years than some of you have been around, and they really test their recipes. This is a no-fail recipe that I've tweaked only slightly, and you'll love the results. Remember to use the freshest pecans and the best chocolate. If you have a pecan tree, that's even better! And, as always, experiment with different chocolate.
Too much work? Make Margaret Maron's Chocolate Covered Fried Pecans.
SALTED CHOCOLATE PECAN TOFFEE
2 cups pecan halves
3 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
12 ounces DARK chocolate (65-75% cacao)
2 tsp fleur de sel or coarse sea salt
Preheat oven to 350°. Place pecans on rimmed baking sheet and cook, stirring occasionally, until toasted, about 8 minutes. When cool enough to handle, chop roughly. Divide into 2 batches; chop 1 batch finely. Set both batches aside.
Put sugar, butter, salt, and 3/4 cup water in 4-qt. saucepan over medium heat. When butter and sugar are melted, increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is deep golden brown and measures 310° on a candy thermometer, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully stir in vanilla (mixture bubbles up) and finely chopped pecans. Pour into a 10x15 rimmed baking sheet. Let toffee cool until set, at least 30 minutes.
Chop chocolate and put in medium metal bowl. Fill 8x10 frying pan with 1/2 inches water and bring to boil. Take off heat and put bowl of chocolate in water. Let sit about 5 minutes. Stir chocolate until melted. Pour over toffee, and with knife or spatula, spread evenly. Sprinkle chocolate with roughly chopped pecans. Let sit 20 minutes, or until chocolate is cool but still a bit soft. Sprinkle with fleur de sel. Chill until set, about 1 hour.
To remove, gently twist pan to release toffee, then chop or break into chunks.
Store in airtight container.
A warning from Sunset, and it's true.. be careful!
Use caution when working with sugar syrup, as it can cause severe burns. Set out your baking sheet so it's ready to use, and keep ice water nearby to cool any burns.