Scrap Happy Sweets

I have so much baking to do. Many, many cookies, to please the different members of the family this holiday, and to please myself.

And my sister and husband want turtle bark, with dark chocolate, caramel, pecans and fleur de sea.

But these all have to wait. I don’t have the ingredients on hand. Oh, I have the butter and the sugar and the vanilla . . . those scraps of ingredients we all have in our kitchens.

But what can I make from those scraps, while I wait for my personal shopper (Don!) to make a trip to the grocery store?

Only possibly the best Christmas candy of all—English toffee.

english toffee-2

It’s 6:30 a.m. at my place and the house smells great—all buttery and caramel-y, with slight burnt overtones. 

I’ve written about my toffee before, and given the recipe I use, so I won’t go through it all again here but, if you’re looking for a culinary scrap happy project, this might be the answer.

Ingredients? Butter, sugar, water, vanilla extract and a pinch of salt, for the basic toffee. For the coating, some sort of chocolate you really like. I temper Callebaut chocolate (which, yes, I always seem to have on hand) but quality chocolate melts or chips work fine, too. 

Want nuts? What have you got lying around? Almonds, walnuts, pecans? No nuts? The toffee is so good, you won’t miss them.

Really, the biggest scrap you’ll need for making toffee is a scrap of patience, since you need to be willing to continuously stir the cooking ingredients for 20-25 minutes, the time it’ll take to reach 300 degrees F.

But it is so worth it! No scraps will make you happier than these!

So, when you’ve used up the scraps of yarn and fabric and pretty paper and glitter, wander to the pantry—and find the sweet scraps for toffee.

english toffee-5

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month? Email Kate at the address on her Contact Me page. She welcomes new members. You don’t have to worry about making a long term commitment or even join in every month, just let Kate or Gun know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you’ll have something to show, so they can add your link. Regular contributors will receive an email reminder three days before the event.

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at).

KateGun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, JanKaren,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean, Johanna,
Joanne, Jon, Hayley, Dawn, Gwen and Connie

75 thoughts on “Scrap Happy Sweets

  1. I can spend hours in the kitchen, chopping and creating, but when it comes to being patient that’s where I chicken out… Have bookmarked your recipe in the hope that I’ll find patience after my last week at work before Xmas. If I don’t find the patience, I’ll just drool over your pics 😀

  2. Your photo of the toffee is making my mouth watering!

    I was looking to use a frozen pie crust that had been hanging around in the freezer too long. I wanted to use it for something savory for a main dish. What I came up with was a savory oatmeal pie…with sautéed onion, red pepper and celery, seasoned with sage. Added a cup of oatmeal, mixed in a couple of eggs, placed it in the pie shell and baked. A slice of that and salad and you have a very satisfying meal

  3. I remember how fabulous your toffee was the year I ordered some. Mmmmm. I may have to make it myself this year. Oh, yum!!! I used to make several kinds of cookies, but people don’t seem to want to eat many of them any more (all trying to be healthy), so I’ve stopped, but a little shortbread wouldn’t go amiss…

    • Oh, I’d forgotten you bought toffee–you could certainly make it yourself! And I know I shouldn’t bake so many cookies (or eat so many) but it’s one of my real pleasures at Christmas. So I do it. And I take the extras to the assisted living center where my mom lives–they always seem happy to get treats!

      • That’s a perfect solution! Yes, I got chocolate bark and toffee with almonds. Both were yummy and then you said you wouldn’t do it commercially. I’m going to try the toffee at some point…Merry Christmas!

  4. I just read your original post; your warning about the dangers of hot toffee are very real. I remember a school friend (now that’s going back!) got hot toffee on her finger. It was a terrible mess, and happened the day before her piano exam. Having said that…..I love toffee!

    • I’ve had that burn myself–at first you think “oh, that’s not so bad” but then it’s as if it keeps burning, down deep into the flesh. Awful. But I love toffee and caramel so I am just super vigilant when I make them.

  5. So when should your readers expect their toffee? The 12th of never, you say? The only cookie I’m making this year is cranberry shortbread, as it’s the only homemade cookie my husband will eat. Did I mention he weights 160 pounds soaking wet?

  6. What a fabulous ScrapHappy post! I think you’ve just raised the bar in the creativity stakes; who’d have thought of food, but you’re so right. I make ScrapHappy food all the time. I find my own ScrapHappy pantry offering is nearly always peanut butter cookies. This house always has a single egg, half a cup of brown sugar, a handful of sultanas or chocolate chips, 3 or 4 tablespoons of crunchy peanut butter at the bottom of the jar and the world will come to an end the day I no longer have cinnamon.

    • I think we all make ScrapHappy food–it’s so obvious we just didn’t think to write about it! I could make cookies like you describe right now now, too–and they sound tempting. And TOO true about cinnamon!

      • But you know, it’s not so obvious to some people… I know plenty of women who can’t look at the contents of the fridge and conjure a meal out of them, or who need a package of mix of some sort to create a cake or cookies – or a ‘proper’ recipe at the very least…

    • I’ve had a lot of practice with the candy, over the years. But I can’t make divinity. Can you? My grandmother made it every Christmas and, though I’ve tried, it never comes out right.

      • No! Candy is something I never had a desire to make,or decorate cakes . It’s interesting though that both of my daughters are very talented at both . I like to pull the taffy though when they make it.😄

  7. A wonderful meditation on the concept of scraps! Just like the beauty which can come from a bag of scrap fabric or yarn, your scrap toffee sounds magical. My sort-of-equivalent (ie using whatever is in the cupboard) is this recipe, for which I have always got the ingredients hanging around. It is a marvellous ‘Chuck it all in’ recipe – my favourite baking method! And in less than an hour, it produces the most delicious springy cake. Yum 😋

  8. Oh yum! My friend makes wonderful toffee. I have never much liked what I make. Somehow hers is a bit chewy, which I adore. I guess it’s the temperature you heat the sugar to? At the moment, though I have all the ingredienst and you tempt me, my candy thermometer needs batteries!
    I am thinking of the wonderful mint meltaway candy you made for Peter. That was delicious too!

  9. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth but I certainly wouldn’t refuse a piece of this deliciousness. Scrap happy meals in this house are usually things like pizza or frittata. I love recipes which can be made with the basics which are available in the house.

  10. Kerry, I dont have a sweet tooth at all, but when you talk about your candy shop, I suddenly feel like candy, cookies and chocolate! And you can really make the magical wishlist of your sister???? Is there no end to your talents??? Xo Johanna

    • It’s nice that my sister and my husband like the same chocolate concoction, so I can make it once and please both. The cookies are more complicated–everyone wants a different kind! I hope you have a wonderful holiday with your family, Johanna! XOXO

  11. Thanks, that was a surprising and enjoyable read. I like toffee, but my crowns don’t, so I don’t eat it any longer. Fortunately, I can still eat all the ingredients in other forms. =) Thanks for doing something a little different this month! It reminds me that with this cold, probably a stew with whatever I find lying around would be a great plan. =)

    • It’s funny–the toffee doesn’t bother my crowns at all! Sticky caramel is another issue, though. But, luckily, there’s no lack of ways to eat the good ingredients, as you say!

  12. What a terrific scrap happy post. I never thought of this as a culinary endeavor, and here you are showing us the way. My husband loves toffee, so I usually buy him some fresh from a vendor at a local Christmas fare. This is the first year in awhile that I didn’t make it to one. Lovely post!

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