I love FaceTime. Thank you Steve Jobs for making your Apple/Mac products so…just so damn good.
Because of FaceTime I get to see my 6-month-old niece who lives in Austin chew her sock and smile at my feeble attempt to make her giggle. Hearing her giggle is the best sound in this world by the way.
Because of FaceTime I get to see Mark when he’s away on tour with his band Periphery. “So where in Europe are you today again? Oh, Prague, of course. How beautiful. I wish I was there too.”
And because of FaceTime I get to see my wonderful mother who lives in Spain. I always tell her that I love her and that I can’t wait to see her. And then she’ll say, “I know. I can’t wait to hold you, but isn’t it great that we can at least see each other so often through FaceTime?” Yes, it is mom.
Yesterday I was in the middle of making this recipe when mom called me on FaceTime. I pretended I had everything under control, but I still had to get my mise en place in order so that everything was ready to be added to the toffee when it reached the correct temperature.
However, I knew I didn’t have the situation completely under control: the sugar was already cooking and the butter still had to be cubed, the pecans still needed to be chopped, the baking soda and vanilla had to be measured out, the candy thermometer had to be placed on the side of the pot, a few recipe adjustments had to be marked down on my recipe book before they evaporated from my memory, etc. But when mom calls, everything can wait.
“What are you doing? You seem busy…” she stated (in Spanish, of course) as she heard the clanking of pans and sheet trays and saw how I turned my back on her a few times to check what was going on in the stove. I told her that I was in the middle of making toffee. “I can call back later or we can just talk tomorrow…”
“No! It’s okay. I can multitask…I swear!”
I told her a few things about my day. She told me a few things about hers. And through it all, I managed to show her how to finish the recipe. “Oh shit! Hold on mom! The sugar has reached 305 F and I have to add a few things to it before I pour it….”
“Really, we can talk at another time if you want to. You seem like you have a lot going on…Mmmmmmm…that looks delicious,” she stated as I poured the toffee over the chocolate and graham crackers.
And just like that, I got to feel extremely close to my mom. I always, always do, no matter how physically apart we are. But that moment was pretty special and magical. I never thought I would be able to share a such a spontaneous moment that involved doing something I love with all my heart (cooking/baking) with a person I love with all my heart while being thousands of miles away. I guess I’m just extremely thankful for it. That’s it.
Oh yeah, and I’m also very thankful for these delicious crunchy nutty choco toffee treats!
12 graham crackers (or 24 if they’re cut down the perforated line–as long as the dimensions of the rectangle you build is about 7.5″ x 9″).
3/4 C dark chocolate chips
4 oz (1/2 cup) sugar
1 oz (2 tablespoons) water
2 teaspoons honey
4 oz (1/2 cup) butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon baking soda, about a small pinch
1 1/2 cup pecans
*Yield: Anywhere from 12-24 pieces, depending on how you cut/break up the toffee. Cover toffee in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.*
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cover cookie sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick silicon baking mat (ie: silpat).
2. Place graham crackers on parchment paper or on silpat in rows and of 4 x 3 to end up with the dimensions of 9″ x 7.5″
3. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over graham crackers and bake for about 10 minutes, until chocolate softens and becomes spreadable.
4. Remove cookie sheet from oven and gently spread the melted chocolate chips over graham crackers with an offset spatula, trying your best to not knock the graham crackers out of place. The melted chocolate should cover entire surface of graham crackers. Refrigerate so that chocolate cools down and firms up.
5. Meanwhile, toast pecans at 325 F until they become toasted all throughout. Allow pecans to cool. Roughly chop pecans and set them aside for later use.
6. Cook sugar and water over medium heat and add honey when sugar and water mixture looses its murky appearance and it becomes clear, after about a minute or so.
7. Add butter and continue cooking until it reaches a temperature of 300 F–305 F (hard crack stage).
8. Remove from heat and add vanilla, baking soda, and toasted pecans. Stir and pour mixture over the prepared chocolate and graham crackers. Spread toffee gently over chocolate/graham crackers so that it reaches every edge and corner of the rectangle. Allow toffee to completely cool before cutting/breaking it up in pieces. Sprinkle sea salt over toffee. Enjoy!