1 Tbsp. vegan butter substitute, room temperature
½ cup pecans
¾ cup vegan butter substitute, I used Earth Balance Organic Whipped Buttery Spread
¾ cup cane sugar
1 ½ cups almond milk
¾ light organic corn syrup (organic recommended to avoid GM corn)
¾ tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 - 10 oz. (283.5g) bag semi-sweet non-dairy chocolate chips
You Will Also Need:
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F.
Place pecans on a baking sheet and toast for 8 minutes.
Add toasted pecans into a food processor, and pulse a few times until the pecans are coarsely ground. Alternatively, you can chop pecans or crush them in a zip top bag.
Grease generously a 9x13 inch pan with 1 Tbsp. vegan butter substitute.
Sprinkle the chopped pecans evenly over the bottom of the greased pan. Set aside.
Measure 1 tsp. vanilla extract, and set aside so it is ready to add to the caramel as soon as it comes to temperature.
In a deep sided pot over medium heat add ¾ cup vegan butter substitute, sugar, almond milk, corn syrup, and salt. When the ingredients combine turn heat up and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
Insert a candy thermometer to gauge the temperature of the caramel. Continue to boil and stir the caramel until the temperature reaches 285 degrees F, soft crack stage. Please use caution it is very hot.
When the caramel has reached 285 degrees F, remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Poor the caramel over the chopped pecans. It helps to spread the caramel by pouring it around the pan because it hardens quickly. You may want a second set of hands to hold the pot while you scrap the caramel out. Spread the caramel as evenly as you can with a metal spatula or butter knife. You’ll need to move quickly.
Set aside and allow the caramel layer to harden.
Meanwhile, in a food processor add the chocolate chips. Pulse the chocolate chips about 40 times until they resemble crumbs. Scrap down the sides, and run the food processor for one minute. Scrap down the sides and allow the chocolate to rest for 1 minute. The chocolate will become a solid mass.
Using a clean, dry spatula break the mass apart.
The process of running the food processor for 1 minute, scrapping down the sides and letting the chocolate rest for 1 minute is going to be repeated 4 or 5 times until the chocolate becomes a smooth, fluid consistency. This is a method for tempering chocolate that I learned from watching Alton Brown.
Ideally you want the chocolate to reach the temperature of 88 - 91 degrees F but not rise above 94 degrees F. When the chocolate becomes a melted consistency use a candy thermometer to check the temperature. If it is not close to 90 degrees F you can run the food processor for 30 seconds or so longer, and check the temperature again.
Tempering the chocolate gives the chocolate a pretty shine and makes it snap when it is hardened and you break it.
If you don’t have a food processor you can alternatively melt the chocolate in a double broiler, or in the microwave stirring every 30 seconds until melted.
Spread the melted chocolate evenly over the hardened caramel, and allow the chocolate to set and become firm. I did this by placing it in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Using a thin metal spatula or butter knife, pop the toffee out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Using a heavy sharp knife cut the chocolate caramel pecan toffee into large chunks. Start by cutting the toffee into large chunks because you can always break them smaller if desired.
My personal favorite way to store the toffee is in an airtight container in the fridge. Toffee makes a wonderful homemade Christmas or hostess gift.