Round about 8 years ago we traveled to Lancaster, Pennsylvania to meet the parents of the young man whom Erin would marry. While we were visiting Tim’s parents; Tim was right then flying to Europe to surprise Erin with a proposal and a ring.
Erin had graduated with her degree in nursing at 18 and then had been working in hospitals for a few years and had decided it was time for a little sabbatical. So she bought a ticket and plunked down in Madrid where she knew absolutely no one and went to language school.
Meanwhile, Aileen and Caitlin were staying in Germany with my sister and took a quick little plane trip over to visit Erin. Tim conferred with Aileen and Caitlin now back in Germany about the surprise visit having seen the lay of the land, so that one day when Erin thought she was meeting up with some new found friends at a lake; Tim snuck up from behind and surprised her to death.
There we were meanwhile perchance with Tim’s parents and Cindy was teaching me the delectable results of browned butter in mashed potatoes, my little sabbatical too. The nutty richness is sublime.
So, when this recipe called for browning butter and sugar until amber colored, it made all the sense in the world to me; I’d learned from Cindy the heavenlies to which butter can ascend. Honestly, even if you were to leave off with spreading the chocolate chips on top, just the butter and sugar cooked to a burnished brown would be enough deliciousness to be called a treat. You could maybe just sprinkle a little Maldon salt on it.
This is another recipe of wonderful simplicity from Shauna Niequist’s book, Bread & Wine:
Chocolate Salted Toffee
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 cup chocolate chips
1 tsp coarse sea salt
In saucepan, combine butter and sugar, and bring to a boil. Over medium-high heat, keep stirring until it turns a deep amber color.
Remove from heat and pour onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper,. refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or until cool and solid to the touch.
Melt chocolate chips in a glass bowl over a pot of gently boiling water. When the chocolate is smooth, pour it over the toffee and spread with a spatula. Sprinkle sea salt, and then refrigerate until cooled and solid. Break into irregular pieces.