Thirteen years ago, for Valentines Day, my husband gave me toffee that was made at a little chocolate shop in Atkins, Iowa called: Temptations Fine Candies.   With each bite – I fell deeply in love with the buttery inside and the fresh lovely taste of the fine milk chocolate coating.  The box held half a pound of handmade chocolate. 

More….  I wanted MORE…  Three months later, we were the proud owners of a chocolate shop.   

Fast forward 13 years and here I am, standing in the kitchen of THE chocolate SHOP in Uptown Marion, helping my husband spread freshly cooked almond toffee evenly into six pans. By my rough calculations, this is probably the 700th batch of Toffee we have made together. We are old pro’s by now. 

We dance around each other during the final few minutes of the cooking  process – I’m getting pans and spatulas ready while my husband adds  the salt and almonds at precisely the right temperature.   Stirring Stirring Stirring…  At this point, it doesn’t take much time for the bubbling mixture to reach candy stage: hard crack – close to 310 degrees.   

On opposite sides of the stainless steel table in the middle of the kitchen my husband pours the toffee into the pans.  He’s also watching the scale that the pan is sitting on.  We both know the correct amount of toffee to pour in the pan so it’s the right thickness for coating with chocolate after it has cooled. 

We race the clock – He pours and places the pan on the table between us.  From my side of the table, I spread the toffee evenly in the pan and score the soft toffee with a stainless steel spatula.  If either one of us hesitates during this process, it will harden and we won’t be able to break it into the little square pieces that fit perfectly into our assorted boxes of chocolate.   

I’m trying an experiment today – I’ve decided to sprinkle the top of the warm toffee with Red Hot Pepper Flakes.  Because, dear friends…. I like it HOT.  Many years ago – The hot mixture of butter and sugar slopped onto my thumb.   THAT is not the kind of HOT I am suggesting.   

I’m looking for just a hint of heat that will blend with the buttery sweetness of the toffee, play gently with the toasted crunch of the almonds and explode like the grand finale of a great piece of music once the dark chocolate has melted in my mouth. Drum roll please…..

After tasting the end result of our new HOT TOFFEE –  I’m happy to say that it was a success.   Each batch makes approximately 20 pounds of finished, coated toffee.   Our customers love our milk chocolate toffee and our dark chocolate almond toffee – but would they like it Hot?    

We introduced our new toffee for Valentines Day 2017.  At the end of a successful day, my husband and I emerged from the kitchen to the sound of clapping and the cheers or MORE MORE…. we want MORE.  Arm and arm – we bowed.

Made in Marion – Made for You