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Let’s take a time out from all of the Safety Cone a Day posts for just a moment. Did I just say “time out?” What I meant was TimeOut! (I think that was a clever transition?) Anyway! I’ve written about Crafts and Crumbs, the sporadically-held crafting and eating afternoon I have at my apartment, but this may mark the first time someone else has written about it. (Don’t quote me on that–I’m a space cadet!) And that someone else is none other than TimeOut New York, a publication I’ve subscribed to for many years. They paid us a visit a few weeks ago and crafted a wonderful article about it for their Holiday issue. Behold, Saturday, 3pm at Crafts and Crumbs. Or take a look at the scanned version of the “real thing” on my Flickr. (Click on All Sizes to read!)

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Switching gears, I’ve been taking some time out (okay, last time I swear!) to make my handmade holidays happen. While I’ve been making gifts for other others, i.e., via Etsy and boutique sales, I’m gradually working on gifts for MY others. Crochet- and soap-wise, let’s just say that I’m a bit tapped out. Averaging 15 items a day can do that to you! Have I mentioned the craft thing is a side gig? Yeah. I’m going almost exclusively the edible route this year, specifically teaching myself how to make candy–toffee, taffy, caramels, pralines, peanut brittle, fudge and divinity–and maybe crafting up some containers or wrapping for everything. I absolutely LOVE the process of making candy because it is so precise when it comes to time and temperature. I have always been fascinated by the “science of food,” the hows and whys of meringue, bread rising, cornstarch thickening and the list goes on and on.

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After the jump is my English Toffee recipe. My rule of thumb for candy-making and pie-baking is this: don’t look for shortcuts, be patient and enjoy the process.

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Ingredients

1 cup sugar
1 cup butter
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup roughly chopped almonds (I used 1/4 cup sliced and 1/4 cup ground up)

Directions

Prepare a cookie sheet by lining it with parchment paper. Make sure it’s a cookie sheet as opposed to a jelly roll pan–I call them all cookie sheets, but you need one with edges on all four sides. Also get your amounts of chocolate chips and almonds all ready and measured out. When it comes to candy-making, you want to have everything set up because time is of the essence once things get cooking! I hate those recipes where you’re halfway through and realized you should have chilled a bowl or soaked beans ahead of time.

In a medium-sized pot, heat sugar, butter and water to boiling, stirring constantly (get ready for a work-out!). Then reduce the heat to medium and cook for approximately 13 minutes, stirring constantly, or until your candy thermometer hits 300 degrees. It should be a nice golden brown color and a little thickened.

As soon as it hits 300 degrees, turn heat off and pour toffee onto cookie sheet. Spread with a spatula so that’s it’s about 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle on the chocolate chips, wait a minute and then spread with spatula. Sprinkle with almonds and let stand at room temperature for one hour. Then, the fun part: break it into pieces!