Two very, very different blood lines for such sweet species.
The former from a niche lineage where almost all individuals bear some sort of resemblance to one another in their outer physical appearance- typically reflecting a red and green protective layer of wrapping or some sort of holiday accessory feature on their exterior to assist in their classification.
The latter boasts a more inconspicuous appearance, occasionally displaying its tribe’s black and orange colors but more often blending in with conventional candy, distinguishable merely by the night on which they get handed out.
It’s the basics of candy nomenclature, really.
And of the two, I have always eaten more candy on Christmas than on Halloween. Always.
Perhaps for several reasons.
The first, as noted above, is that Christmas candy is more committed. Committed to its moment.
What do I mean?
You see, on Halloween, I receive about 70% of the candy sporting their casual wrappers- devoid of the enticing black and orange garb indicative of the holiday.
At Christmas time, almost 99% of candy received comes in festive wrapping or packaging of some nature.
And I applaud such a committed cause by devouring the cause.
The second reason is that Christmas candy is significantly more rare. Less is given out at this time relative to the amount circulating in October thus lending a heightened, more honed excitement to the whole experience. This exotic allurement causes me to eat more on the day of Dec 25 than Oct 31.
Where I immediately dive into the limited Christmas candy supply, savoring every bite of jingle jangle I can before I pass out face first in my cheesy potatoes during the opening bells of dinner, I have a whole other strategy for my Halloween candy.
Longevity is the name of the game there. That one spooky evening is spent wheeling and dealing like a crazy cocoa stockbroker to unload the bad candy and acquire the good with as little overall loss of inventory as possible. Then it’s on to top secret storage for the following months- hey, that stash is the sole sugary sustenance during the drought before Christmas.
And the final reason I eat more candy on Christmas than Halloween, and perhaps most importantly, is the connection to the giver of the goods.
On Halloween, complete strangers (yes, this means you, neighbors-who-shall-not-be-named from across the street that once denied me candy for being out after curfew. You are nothing to me!) give out candy. There’s no sentiment or caring selection of one specific offering customized to our specific relationship. I’m but a sheep. One of many ridiculously dressed…umm.. other sheep.
Now Christmas. Christmas candy is hand selected- quite literally. You see, children seem to always get the candy that they like on this special day. That’s the magic that occurs when someone special picks out a gift for you. One pristine white glove reaches deep into that bottomless, red velvet bag and pulls out a special treat, packaged up exactly with you in mind.
And this year, I want you to know too.
I have you in mind. Whether you are a seasoned baker or just a beginner, I want to give you something that I think you’ll keep for a very long time- the recipe, not the candy. I am so excited to share this amazing Pistachio Packed Toffee with Salted Dark Chocolate.
Buttery and crunchy with a sweet ‘n salty note is the best way to sum up these classy pistachio shards of heaven.
They are elegant and sophisticated enough for fancy dinner favors but humble enough for someone to be found endearing when caught hiding in the corner covered in dark chocolate smudges and sprinkles of sea salt. No, don’t believe that they were feeling a bit under-seasoned when they attempt to explain their personal fleur de sel decorations.
You must be on your toes because someone will yield to the call of the toffee and such a scene will unfold. This is why I am forced to keep a private supply off the dessert table.
Regardless, I hope you enjoy this delicious confectionary treat. After all, this toffee shares a taxonomic kinship with Christmas candy by being festive in green, unique to this time of year and best when hand made for someone you love.
Grab your white gloves, red velvet bag and suit up. It’s toffee time!
From a bubbly liquid to a brittle bark- ’tis the magic of Christmas.
Pistachio Packed Toffee with Salted Dark Chocolate
Sparkling shards of buttery sugar envelop toasted pistachio pieces in this variation of a nut-packed holiday favorite. Flaky fleur de sel gets scattered atop the smooth layer of silky dark chocolate that covers each crunchy bite. There is absolutely no need to have Christmas bells ringing in order to make this- a door bell should be enough of an excuse to get the stove fired up for these- YUM.
- 1 C unsalted butter
- 3/4 C packed brown sugar
- 1/4 C granulated sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 and 1/2 C shelled and toasted pistachio nuts
- 1 C dark chocolate dipping wafers
- fleur de sel
- Line a 9×9 pan with parchment paper, making sure to go up half the sides with the paper.
- Roughly chop 1/2 C of the nuts and set aside. Put remaining 1 C nuts in food processor and pulse until you get chunks slightly larger than crumbs. Place these aside.
- Put butter, sugars and salt into a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Heat over medium heat until everything is melted and combined. Increase heat slightly and place a thermometer in the mixture while whisking constantly until the toffee reaches 290 degrees F.
- Immediately remove from heat, stir in 1 C of ground pistachios and pour into prepared pan.
- Once cooled to room temperature, melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Pour chocolate over hardened toffee and sprinkle with coarsely chopped pistachios and fleur de sel.
- Once cooled, remove from pan using the parchment paper for assistance and break toffee into pieces – enjoy!