Blood Orange Cranberry Toffee

So, it’s officially fall! All over Twitter and the blogosphere, people are talking about getting back to baking. It’s always fun to see what everyone’s up to. However, as someone who bakes year round, fall means something else to me, culinarily speaking – it means CANDY MAKING season.

Sure, it’s easy to make candy year round.. I just don’t, really. In the fall, you not only have the pretty colors and crisp air to inspire you.. you have references to Halloween – some subtle, many not! – all around you. Fall is when we here at Celebration Generation start looking forward to our annual Halloween trip out east, and plan trips to pick apples. Mmm freshly picked apples. Mmm freshly picked apples, dipped in molten, flavored sugar. Yum. Have you tried making candy apples at home? If not, click that link – our recipe is easy and tasty!

Well, I went on a candy making binge this past weekend, and will be sharing the recipes with you over the next few days. 3 different styles of fudge, plus one toffee… all flavored with blood orange essential oil, and crammed with sweetened, dried cranberries!

Blood orange essential oil is my favorite flavoring, by far. It’s the oil pressed from the peels of blood orange rind – not an alcohol infusion, such as vanilla extract. It’s sunny, it’s potent.. and it’s pure awesomeness. Yes!

If you don’t have blood orange essential oil on hand, I highly recommend ordering some online. A quick Google search yields a ton of results for ordering online. I now order bulk from a wholesaler, but when I first played around with it, I ordered small bottles from Anabell’s Escentials on Ebay. Good stuff!

Anyway, let’s get started!

Blood Orange Cranberry Toffee

1 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp water
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 – 1 tsp blood orange essential oil
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries, chopped
2 cups dark chocolate chips (Optional)

Before getting started, line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet.

Combine butter, sugars, water, and salt in a large, heavy saucepan. Heat on low, stirring until butter is melted, and all ingredients are well combined.

Raise heat to medium, bring to a boil, and affix a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Cook until temperature reaches 285 degrees F (137 degrees C), stirring occasionally.

Once toffee reaches 285 degrees, remove pan from heat and stir in blood orange essential oil and cranberries. Working quickly, pour toffee out onto prepared pan. Depending on the viscosity and your own preferences, you may want to spread the toffee out a bit, to an even thickness.

If using chocolate chips, allow toffee to cool for a minute or two. Carefully remove any excess butter from the top of the toffee, using a paper towel. Sprinkle chocolate chips over surface of toffee. Allow chips to melt, then use a spoon to spread the chocolate smoothly and evenly over the toffee.

Chill toffee for 15 minutes or so, until set. Break into pieces, and store in an airtight container. This is important – if the toffee is not stored properly, it will absorb moisture from the air and become gooey.

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