In my pantry today:
- 1 bag of honey-wheat pretzel twists
- 4 c crushed raw pistachio nuts
- 1/2 c large rocks of salt
- 1 bar of 60% cacao Ghirardelli baking chocolate
Ok. So. I don’t really have any photo documentation of this process, but I cannot only commit to admitting my successes (or near-successes, depending) if I am to expect any genuine learning from my errors. And I like learning. So. Start out with a fantastic idea. Fashion a double-boiler from a sauce pot and large metal bowl, melt your chocolate. Mix your salt and nuts, and after carefully drizzling chocolate over the top halves of the pretzel rods then roll said rod in the pistachio-salt mixture.
See that recipe up there? Don’t follow it. Do not use rock salt with rocks so large they barely stick. I mean they will stick. And perhaps it’s a blessing that they only stick so well; perhaps you might’ve thought to grind the rock salt into smaller bits beforehand the way you did with the pistachios. With that brand new food processor in which you are currently besot with love. Well, congratulations and I wish you luck with all of your future first attempts; I, myself, live more by the graces of hindsight than I’d like to admit.
So. Upon tasting the first cooled rod of the two dozen or so now resting on parchment paper, I gagged and threw it back down on the counter. When the OMGSALTATTACK! ebbed and my throat reopened, the first thing that came out was a spitting curse from my lips: “SALTY! FUCK! STICKS!“ And that is what they were.
Next, they all journeyed together into a freezer bag. Where I punched them and was glad for it. When my knuckles quickly became sore, I transferred the whole mess into the food processor. I was sure I could do something with the pile of delicious failure before me.
And I had it! Make a simple toffee and turn it into an awesome toffee.
So. To make simple-as-pie toffee with some butter and sugar, you need a candy thermometer. Which I do not have. I cooked it diligently, the way I had seen my mother always do it. “This is working!” I thought with glee as my sauce pot churned what was surely to be a delightful Christmas treat. I was afraid to take it off the burner too early, but even moreso to burn it. I flipped a coin and went with God.
The first and most obvious flaw with this plan came to light when the hot toffee hit the ground pretzels and, of COURSE, melted all the baking chocolate off. Would this effect the setting? Crap. The 28x18x5cm and 3lb pan went into the freezer and I walked away.
And when I came back, of course it hadn’t set properly. I had most certainly taken it off the stove too soon, and not helping matters was the chocolate melted into it. I scraped it all off the pan and threw it back into the food processor.
This is where I am now — 2 dozen or so delicious toffee cookies and still a full gallon freezer bag of ground “salty chocolate pistachio pretzel toffee.” Once I cool off from my failure-shame about all this (Oh, how far I have come from that original fantastic idea!) I am certain the silver linings will be evident. Evident, and most assuredly delicious. Because it is really super good. Just nowhere from my imagination’s intent.
- bake more cookies with it.
- bake brownies with it.
- put it on ice cream.
- re-melt it into a single entity