There’s a running joke around here regarding me and cooking. Namely, that I am prone to Aha! moments, especially in the midst of trying a new recipe. And it’s true.
Of course, I like to think it’s a funny quirk, you know, like the fact that I track every single thing I buy in my checkbook, or that I hate talking on the phone, even though I love talking.
Seriously, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cracked an egg into a blend of dry ingredients, only to look down and see the directions say not to use the yolk or, I’ve placed a cake in the oven, only to realize I omitted an ingredient.
It’s not so bad. I’ve gotten used to adapting and, also, I try very hard to learn from all these mistakes.
Take this recipe, for example: easy homemade toffee made from ingredients you probably have in your pantry.
Next time I make it, when the caramel glaze is sinking into the cracker layer in the oven, I won’t be worrying about the burning smell of caramel hitting the oven liner.
Instead, I’ll use a rimmed baking sheet (!) that will keep the crackers from spreading and the glaze from leaking. It’s just one of those funny things you learn by doing it wrong the first time.
Also, next time, I won’t expect this process to take anything more than 25 minutes – because it won’t, not even close. The bulk of time is the 15 minutes of baking and the cooling off afterward, both of which are ideal for working on something else or putting away the dishes.
Otherwise? All you’re doing is layering, heating, pouring and breaking. Simple as that.
If you’ve got Matzo lying around from Passover, which I personally can’t eat without mounds of haroset, this is just the ticket – substitute Matzo for the Saltines, and you’re set.
But what seems to make the combination work so well is the blend of salt from the crackers with the sweetness of the chocolate and caramelized toffee. It’s crunchy, like candy, but it’s also a little different than regular toffee, with the hint of salt surprising you.
Anyway, try these. And if you have any aha moments along the way, you’ll get no judgment from me.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna has a Masters in Writing through Depaul University. Her mantra? Restoring order and celebrating beauty through creative content, photography and food. Shanna's work has been featured in Bon Appetit, The Kitchn, MSN.com, Everyday Health, Better Homes & Gardens, Houzz.com, Food News Journal, Food52, Zeit Magazine, Chew the World, Mom.me, Babble, Delish.com, Parade, Foodista, Entrepreneur and Ragan PR.