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Orange-Chocolate Toffee

Say “I love you” with a sweet bite of almond and pumpkin seed toffee.

Valentine’s Day­—whether thought of as a day for honoring a Christian martyr or an excuse for greeting card companies to pump out pink and red lovable gifts­—is all about love. Loving your family, your friends, your sweetie, and yourself, it’s a day set aside to say I love you to everyone who needs to hear it. Going out of your way to be nice is the easiest way to make someone else feel wonderful, it comes along with that little burst of feel-goodness, and best of all, it doesn’t cost a thing. As lovely as fancy or thoughtful gifts are, the gift of a smile, a friendly conversation, or a happy hug can go a long way to making someone feel great, and I like to think that’s what Valentine’s Day really is all about.

Another reason why I love Valentine’s Day? There is no hiding that I have a massive sweet tooth, and toffee is pretty high on my list of favorites. This recipe is easy to put together, a great way to use up extra nuts or flavorings, and makes a lovely gift, no matter what the occasion. So whether you are making sure your partner, your sister, or your best friend knows you love them today, perhaps we can all take a lesson from Valentine’s Day, and remember to let them know it more often, with sweet gifts of candy and by remembering to say I love you more often.

Orange Chocolate Toffee, adapted fromComparte’s
10 to 12 servings

16 ounces butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1 orange, zest and juice
1 cup toasted almonds, chopped
1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds, chopped
1 vanilla bean
1 teaspoon Maldon salt
16 ounces bittersweet chocolate


1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Combine the sugars, corn syrup, and orange zest in bowl. Add to the the melted butter and stir well, then add the orange juice.

2. Cook the mixture over medium heat until the toffee reaches 240°F. Add the nuts and pumpkin seeds, reserving 1/4 cup total for garnishing, and scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the mixture. Lower the heat at 260°F and continue cooking to 300°F, stirring occasionally and being careful not to burn the toffee. The total process should take between 15 to 20 minutes, and the mixture should be bubbly and golden brown.

3. At  300°F turn off the heat and pour the toffee onto a sheet pan with a non-stick liner or parchment. Use a spatula to evenly smooth out.

4. Temper the chocolate. Pour chocolate on top of the hard toffee and use an offset spatula to cover the entire surface. Sprinkle the remaining nuts, pumpkin seeds and salt on top. Allow to set completely, then break into pieces and serve.

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