Recipe: Coffee-Pistachio Toffee

I came up with this toffee variation because I was remembering Greece — coffee and pistachios being so evocative of that place. Even in December, a piece of this candy reminds me of sipping hot, strong coffee and nibbling homegrown pistachios while looking out over the Mediterranean. It will definitely figure in my candy boxes this year.

Coffee-Pistachio Toffee i
Nicole Spiridakis for NPR
Coffee-Pistachio Toffee
Nicole Spiridakis for NPR

Makes about 2 pounds

2 cups shelled pistachio nuts

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons instant espresso powder

1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/3 cup water

1 tablespoon dark unsulfured molasses

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

4 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

4 1/2 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spread pistachios on a cookie sheet and toast in the oven until fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes, making sure they don’t burn. Cool for 10 minutes, then coarsely chop. Put in a bowl.

In a medium bowl, combine sugars, espresso powder and cinnamon. In another small bowl or measuring cup, combine water and molasses.

Butter a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. Melt butter in a heavy 2 1/2-quart saucepan over low heat. Add the mixture of sugars, espresso powder and cinnamon, and the mixture of water and molasses, and stir until sugar dissolves.

Increase heat to medium and, using a candy thermometer, cook until thermometer registers 290 degrees, stirring occasionally and scraping bottom of pan for about 15 minutes.

Remove pan from heat, and quickly stir in 1 1/2 cups chopped nuts. Immediately pour mixture onto prepared pan. With a spatula, spread toffee to 1/4-inch thickness. Sprinkle chocolate by generous tablespoonfuls atop toffee, alternating bittersweet and milk chocolates. Let stand for 1 minute to melt the chocolate. Using the back of a spoon or spatula, spread chocolate slightly to coat the toffee. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup chopped nuts.

Refrigerate until toffee is firm, about 1 hour. With a sharp knife, slice the toffee evenly, or break into pieces.

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