Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Peanut Butter Honey Saltine Toffee ( a.k.a. my best culinary disaster yet!!)

"Ewww, what is that? It smells like cows!" That was the comment I received from my 11 year old , Blaize, after sniffing my newest culinary concoction: Peanut Butter Honey Saltine Toffee. Blaize has always excelled at being completely honest when it comes to my cooking, but I am hoping that, with practice, he can work on being slightly more diplomatic, too. Anyways, you are probably wondering what possessed me to make such a... different dessert. Well, all started when I was sitting in a restaurant with my JV volleyball coach, Mr. McNellis. (My team calls him Mr. Mickey). I happen to think he is pretty awesome... so awesome that every year on his birthday (November 8th) I like to bring some sort of goodies. BUT, even though Mr. Mickey IS a super coach and an even better Christian example, he does have one gigantic flaw... HE DOESN'T LIKE CHOCOLATE! As a result, it makes it rather difficult to decide what to bake for him when his birthday rolls around. So, the rest of the season, I keep my ears open to find out if there are any sweet foods that he does like. (not liking chocolate pretty much eliminates them all!) Well, there I was sitting in the restaurant him and my team, and somehow we got talking about saltines! He said that he loved saltines with peanut butter and honey. And I immediately took a mental note.

Well, a month later, it was two days before his birthday, and I could NOT decide what to make for him! But, I remembered that he had said he like saltines, peanut butter, and honey, and had an "inspiration." There is something I am learning about myself, though: the majority of my "inspirations" are more accurately described as "future disasters." This "inspiration" was one of them. Before I knew it, I had whipped out saltines, butter, brown sugar, honey, peanut butter, and sweetened condensed milk, and started cooking. Of course! I would make toffee with these ingredients! I could just replace the chocolate with peanut butter and sweetened condensed milk, and the corn syrup with honey, and voila! Perfection that Mr. Mickey would actually eat! I googled a recipe, and threw the butter, brown sugar, and honey in a pan and boiled it for eleven minutes. Now, generally when you make toffee, you COULD (and probably should) use a candy thermometer, but ours was broken, so... I decided not to. That was a bad idea. Toffee is supposed to be crunchy and sweet, but when mine was done, the toffee layer was chewy and stuck to your teeth like glue.

But, I figured, the peanut butter mixture will make up for it, right? I stuck a big glob of peanut butter in the bowl (what is the point of measuring, anyways?) and poured a can of sweetened condensed milk in. Then I microwaved it until it looked "right." The problem? I stuck in the microwave for four minutes and didn't stir it! When it came out, the top looked great, but what I stirred up from the bottom of the bowl was a mixture of grainy, slightly overcooked peanut butter. Well, it wasn't perfect, but I didn't want to waste it, so... you know the rest. I dumped it over the already messed up toffee, did my best to smooth it out, and then called my siblings for a "taste test." While I sell taste tests as " I'm being a nice sister today and letting you eat my goodies," I usually have alterior motives. Like, "Tell me if this is as bad as it looks" motives. Well, Blaize told me!
"Ewww, what is this? It smells like cows!" Then he takes a bite.
"What do you think?" I asked.
"It's... interesting." he said. That was the most diplomatic thing he had said all night.
"The toffee's pretty good, cept it sticks to my teeth, and the peanut butter doesn't taste like cows, so I guess that's good... but it feels kinda weird on my tongue. I think it'd be better if you scrape off the peanut butter part."

I got similar reactions from the rest of my family, and decided that I would make them scrape off the peanut butter, rather than giving it to my coach to do. I have a feeling that if he doesn't even tolerate chocolate that he probably wouldn't like toffee that you can't chew, and smells like cow manure. :) And I don't really want to find out!


  1. I loved your hilarious account of the story, Hannah! Let me first offer my sympathy as a fellow culinary-disaster-maker. I have not had any major catastrophes in the last couple years, but my time in college was the epitome of some of my most memorable cooking disasters. I am sure that you will look back on this memory and laugh...though it sounds like you are laughing already, which is very good and humble practice! :)

    Thanks for the great start to your blog! I look forward to reading more!

    1. Thank you so much for your encouragment. I love writing for you because your feedback is so positive. Your class is by far my favorite that I'm taking this year! Thanks for all the work you put into it.