Foodie news | Pop’s candy makes the perfect basket treat | SierraSun.com

Foodie news | Pop’s candy makes the perfect basket treat

Simone Grandmain
Special to the Sun

Photo courtesy Simone GrandmainA Sierra Sun exclusive: Until today, Paul Grandmain's English Toffee recipe has been kept a family secret. Revealed here and now, just in time for Easter, for a real treat in the baskets.

My father Paul is popular for a lot of reasons: He is tall and handsome like Cary Grant; he’s intelligent and super funny; speaks several languages and (my personal favorite) he wears a T-shirt that says “Bank of Pop.” Yes, he has many endearing qualities appealing to a myriad of personalities and cultures but, across the board, every man, woman or child who has ever entered his sphere wants to be his BFF because of his candy. When I visit him in Hawaii I am inundated with requests for “Your dad’s candy.” From the lady at the post office, to the cashier at Foodland, to Rick at Wu’s Liquor (could the man show a little respect for a holy place?) it is the same old song: “Hey Simone. Glad you’re back in town. Your dad making any candy?” Then I return to Truckee and get it again, same show, different time-slot: “Hey Simone. Glad you’re back. Did you bring any of your dad’s candy?” Holidays I get it in stereo, with surround sound. “Your dad send any candy?” The answer is: Yes! I always have my dad’s candy, OK? He sends it to me in precious, huge Ziploc bags and I horde it, to buy friends and influence people. I divvy it out in miserly nuggets (just enough to get you started…) and save the mother lode for myself, in my walk-in closet. (Great. Now I have to find a new place to stash it.)

My father is French and has worked in the pharmaceutical business for decades, so the snide “French Connection” remarks in reference to his candy are really not a stretch. All it takes is one sampling and there you are – knocking on my door, looking for more. Always more! Really, my dad should sell this stuff. If he did, he could afford a “Bank of Pop” shirt for every day of week, for an entire year. But he has no plans to do that – at least not while the kids are still young and impressionable.

So, with Easter approaching and the stores rife with sweet, mediocre product, I have decided to share my dad’s candy recipe with the masses, thus getting the chunky monkey off my back. I am tired of keeping this family secret. Whew! I feel lighter already…

Paul Grandmain’s English Toffee

He says this is not the most original recipe, but what he does differently, to make it so much better than any other English Toffee is spread the chocolate chips on to the toffee while it is still hot, creating a perfect texture.

Ingredients for candy base:

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1 candy thermometer

1 1/2 cup coarsely chopped roasted almonds

1 cup (2 cubes) plus two tablespoons butter

1 cup sugar

1 Tbls. light corn syrup

3 Tbls. water

Ingredients for chocolate nut topping:

1 1/2 cups Nestles’ chocolate chips

1 cup finely chopped roasted almonds

Line bottom and sides of 13 x 9 inch glass pan with foil, cover bottom of pan with the coarsely chopped almonds, set aside. Rub down inside of medium sauce pan with the two tablespoons of butter. Melt one cup of butter in, over medium heat until melted. Add sugar, stir until dissolved. Add corn syrup and water, stirring until blended. Put candy thermometer in sugar mixture and continue cooking over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until thermometer reaches 290ยบ, about 15-17 minutes. Pour over nuts, smoothing to edges with spatula. While still hot, pour chocolate chips evenly over candy surface, let melt. Once soft, spread with spatula, evenly, to edges, then sprinkle with chopped nuts, gently patting down nuts to stick. Cool in fridge or a few hours in the freezer. Peel off foil, break into pieces. Your life as you once knew it will never be the same.