Tag Archives: chocolate

By Brooklyn

Yesterday, taking advantage of a cool spring day, a friend of mine and I decided to go exploring on Smith Street in Brooklyn.  After meeting up at the Brooklyn Flea and taking a stroll along Atlantic Avenue, including perusing several antique shops, we headed over to By Brooklyn to check out their selection of locally-made products, both edible and non.  The store just turned one year old last week, which means my trip to it is long overdue.  Right away, I found some of my favorite artisan food items, which made me feel right at home.

Sodas by Manhattan Special and Fresh Ginger with tonic from Q Tonic sharing space with the terrific caramels by Liddabit Sweets

P&H Soda Co. – see the seltzer bottles peeking out from behind the display

These are some other syrups from Royal Rose that I’ve been interested to try. 

My friend was eyeing these bitters by Bittermens.  With summertime coming up, it’s time to think about some new cocktail ideas.

And we also spotted one of our favorites – Morris Kitchen – with their fantastic syrups.

Another of our favorites which had space on the shelves is the fabulous Anarchy in a Jar.

The Jam Stand also has some tasty flavors to try.

I didn’t see the buttery-sweet Caramelized Apple preserves by Maiden Preserves, but this one sounds delicious, too.

They had two kinds of granola available – Granola Lab and

Early Bird Granola – both of which would make a great breakfast to wake up to any morning.

Time to find some space in my fridge for these jars from D.P. Chutney Collective for some lazy summer meals.

These sauces remind me of the incredible dishes that I had at Saucey Sauce Co.‘s barbecue last summer.

These pickles from Brooklyn Brine Co. are perfect to go along with some of those summertime foods.

As are those from Sour Puss Pickles.

And don’t forget to include Tin Mustard on your list of condiments.

You could use a board from Brooklyn Slate, to display all of these goodies.

I really like these old-fashioned style hard candies from Brooklyn Hard Candy.

I was so tempted by these yummy-looking pralines by Sucre Mort –  for the moment sold exclusively at By Brooklyn.

This Pistachio Crack from Davis’ Famous’ looked amazing as well.

Oh, I so love these Stroopwafels from The Good Batch!  (They also carry some of her other products as well.)

Then, there’s the always incredible chocolate bars from Raaka.

Give yourself a treat and help out animals at the same time with Rescue Chocolate, created with Tumbador Chocolate.

Wonder how those might taste with a little extra sweetness from Spoonable Caramel drizzled on top.

Another snack option is one of my beach trip favorites: salt water taffy.  I’ll need to grab some of these from The Salty Road for my next trip to the ocean.

Or maybe I should grab a bag of Kings County Jerky Co. to take along with me instead.

Tuckfields Teas would be a perfect way to kick back after all this walking around and exploring.

The folks behind By Brooklyn have amassed a nice collection of some of the borough’s well-known food artisans.  It was wonderful to see some of the products that I enjoy keeping in my own kitchen or noshing on at the various markets that take place around the city all in one place.  I’ll definitely drop by again when I’m in the neighborhood again to discover what other Brooklyn treasures they have on display.

Buon appetito!

A Holiday Favorite – Almond Butter Crunch / Almond Toffee

Plate of Almond Butter Crunch

This is what happens when you read too many seasonal magazines and blogs. You end up succumbing to the “I must bake during the holidays” syndrome. My work team is doing its annual gift swap on Friday. So, I asked a few folks to contribute something sweet to the gathering. Of course, I had to chip in and make something as well, as the resident baker in the group.  I’m not sure why it occurred to me to dig out the recipe card for Almond Butter Crunch (or Almond Toffee, as I like to call it now) to attempt to recreate it.  I have vivid memories of my mother whipping up batches of this candy when I was in my teen years, but I haven’t even thought about it since then.

She had a phase during the early 1980s where she bought Almond Roca, which seemed so elegant at the time, as we didn’t generally have store-bought candy at home. Then, for some reason, she decided to try to make it herself, or at least a version thereof. I remember watching her put it together. From my fuzzy memory, it seemed simple enough that I could try it myself. Armed with a candy thermometer, wooden spoon, and all the ingredients, I set about to do just that.

Recipe card copied from my mother’s files

In trying to make this on my own for the first time, I discovered a few key points. One is that the baking sheet on which the molten mixture is poured must be greased liberally to keep the candy from sticking. I also decided not to use waxed paper or parchment paper on the tray for the initial candy-cooling phase. After re-reading my mother’s recipe card, I worked out, as well, that the Cadbury chocolate she used was probably too sweet for my tastes. Like many of the recipes that I’ve posted here, I tweaked this one, and I’ll probably fiddle with it some more before I think I have it exactly right. Still, I have a feeling that this candy will be well-received when everyone opens their presents on Friday.

The Candymaking Steps:

Here’s what the butter, sugar, syrup, and water look like mixed together

Everything starts to get foamy

 

After a few minutest, it gets more foamy and the color starts to darken

Ready to add the almonds and pour on the tray to harden

Work quickly to spread the mixture on the tray while hot then let it cool down

 Once the candy is cool, spread melted chocolate on both sides and sprinkle with chopped, toasted almonds

 

Oh, and don’t forget to have a “test piece,” just to make sure it’s o.k. to share with others

 

Almond Butter Crunch aka Almond Toffee

Prep time: allow 1.5 to 2 hours total with cooling and setting time

 

Serving Size: One standard cookie sheet worth which can be broken up into gift portions (depending upon how much of it you eat first)

Ingredients:
1 c. (2 sticks) Butter (I used Salted for contrast to the sweetness of the other ingredients)
1-1/3 c. Sugar (white or cane)
1 Tbsp. Light Corn Syrup or thick Simple Syrup
3 Tbsp. Water
1 c. toasted slivered, blanched Almonds
4-3 1/2 oz. Chocolate Bars (I used a ratio of 1:1 milk chocolate to semi-sweet sweet chocolate)
1 c. chopped toasted Almonds with skins

 

Assembly:
Prepare a baking sheet (you can also use a 13″x9″x2″ inch pan) by greasing it liberally with butter. Have the first five ingredients measured out and close at hand, along with a candy thermometer. Clear the children out of the kitchen.

 

In large saucepan, melt butter. Add sugar, corn syrup or simple syrup, and water. Cook on low heat. Stir once or twice to make sure the sugar is all melted and then leave it alone to let time and heat do its work. Bring up to a boil and watch carefully as it changes color. Do not walk away from the stove, as the candy will go from golden brown to burnt in a matter of mere minutes.When the mixture reaches the Hard Crack stage, about 300-310 degrees Fahrenheit, turn off the heat and add the slivered almonds. Stir once or twice to mix the almonds into the candy.

As fast as you can, pour entire mixture onto buttered baking sheet and quickly shake/tilt the tray to distribute candy evenly. This step must be done in a matter of seconds before the mixture starts to solidify. Let the candy cool until hardened.

Remove candy from baking sheet and place on waxed or parchment paper. Melt chocolate in double-boiler. Spread one side of the candy with half of the chocolate and sprinkle half of the almonds on it. Allow to cool on countertop or in refrigerator. Flip over the candy onto waxed or parchment paper and spread the rest of the chocolate on the second side. Sprinkle with the rest of the chopped almonds. Allow to cool; again, you can place it in the refrigerator to speed up the process. Once the chocolate is firm, break up the candy into pieces for serving or devouring.

 

Buon appetito!