Can I hibernate? Like big ol bear style with fur and caves and brown fat. I want the whole shin dig, brown fat and all. Especially the eating in preparation for said winter hibernation. Bring it on. I am down for some total bear getting ready for a long winter inside a cold cave eating prep. I can eat more than just berries and whatever else a bear might scavenge for…which would be…ummm. OK, in whatever grade I was supposed to learn that information is failing me at the moment and I have little desire to Google this information because
I am lazy that would give the impression that I know anything about bears, in which I do not.( or that I didn’t know basic information about a freakin’ bear) Fish? Yes, berries and fish. I bet their cholesterol numbers are make your cardiologist happy good. Because my idea of scavenging for a long winter sleep would include … cookies and toffee and pizza and cinnamon sugar cake doughnuts (this is not an all inclusive list since I left out brownies, ice cream, and tootsie rolls). But the idea you get. Me and the bears in garbage cans would totally be friends…seriously, berries or leftover pizza?
I can only hibernate on weekends…from any given Friday night until the dreaded ugly face of Monday morning, in the dead of winter, I can be found in sweat pants and t-shirts, one in which might have a large steak on it with a face that says ‘Pleased to meat you‘. (its a pun, I hope you get it…because it is hilarious!) I am a proud owner of one too few t-shirts from woot.com. There will be a go-to sweatshirt near by that I undoubtedly wore in high school 12 years ago and is way oversized because, well either I was a 6’2” giant in high school or oversized clothing was ‘in’…oy. And I will be rotating between three activities….1. Movie watching, anything from a Godfather marathon to Dirty Dancing. 2. Reading/napping…the piles of books staring at me since mid-June start to diminish, however this list, whoa nelly! 3. Baking/cooking/eating – which should be of little surprise to anyone …i am writing a food blog/you are reading a food blog …for goodness sake.
Already this hibernation season…There has been this movie and this one. I have started this book, in the middle of this book, and finished this one. There has been cookies. Lots of cookies. And brownies…Oh the brownies. And toffee. Several batches of toffee. Because once you realize that toffee only takes sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt and merely 20 minutes of standing at the stove and a bit of patience…then, well …. you will find yourself in front of said stove more times than you would like to confess to.
It is a bit nerve-racking…the holy crap there is a pan of hot liquid sugar/molten lava on the stove top and a cat swirling between my legs and is the candy thermometer touching the bottom of the pan, because it shouldn’t be, so let me fiddle with it a bit more with the leet hand while I continue to stir with the right hand being careful not to splatter because have I mentioned the sugar is equivalent to stuff that flows from a volcano? yeah…that is a bit sweat inducing. And that cast iron skillet - THE HANDLE IS SCREAMING HOT! I need to paint a red STOP on that silly handle…or have a brain. But, hey the end result toffee…worth every last sweaty second…and the more you make the toffee, well the more comfortable you become with the process and then the more toffee you make…and then the larger pants you will need come spring…oy. Oversized sweatshirt?
- 1 lb Granulated Sugar
- 1 lb Unsalted Butter ( 4 sticks)
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
- 7 ounces Chocolate (milk or bittersweet - your taste preference prevails), finely chopped
- 1 Cup Chopped Roasted Pecans
- Flaky Sea Salt (Maldons) - optional
- Line a small rimmed cookie sheet (about 10 x 15in) with parchment paper.
- In a 10 inch (or larger) cast iron skillet or large heavy bottom saucepan, melt butter over medium- high heat.
- Once melted, stir in sugar and salt using a wooden spoon and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
- Cook over medium-high heat until candy thermometer reaches 300F. It will be deep auburn in color - be careful not to burn.
- Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
- Pour mixture onto parchment lined cookie sheet. Let sit for 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle finely chopped chocolate onto toffee and let sit for about 10 minutes. With a butter knife, smooth chocolate out over toffee. Sprinkle chopped pecans over melted chocolate and lightly sprinkle several pinches of flaky sea salt over the chocolate and pecans.
- Let cool completely and set (several hours) before breaking into bit sized pieces.
- Store in air tight containers.