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For the past 3 months I've explored, enjoyed and been successful with a butter toffee.  Where I consistently have issues is the chocolate layer shearing from the toffee during the breaking up of toffee stage.

Let's explore what's been done..

  • I began like many do and let the chocolate melt on the surface of the hot toffee.  This worked somewhat well but had some unpredictable outcomes. It would shear from 5% to 30% depending on batch and regardless the chocolate would bloom within the week.
  • I then went to the toffee cooling method; I would pour the toffee, score it multiple times, cool it, come back to it later, wipe off any excess butter sheen (and it's been pretty minimal) then use a microwave to prepare the chocolate.  This seemed to bring down my shearing to 0% to 15%.  However much of the time the chocolate would bloom again within the week.
  • Lastly I've gone to preparing it, scoring, cooling, wiping and then using tempered chocolate to coat the top and I get a 15% to 35% shearing.

I'm good at troubleshooting, I've got an engineering background so walking through steps and analyzing the situation runs in my blood but this.. this is head to wall bashing frustrating.

If you make toffee professionally what step am I missing?  I have my toffee down to a rhythm, no separation, beautiful quality, flavor, color--but this lack of chocolate adhesion drives me nuts.  I'm about to just start scoring and breaking then enrobing squares but that makes the time of prep go up which I'd rather not do on most of the line I'm working on.

I feel there is a tip or trick I've not been privy to--that eludes me--driving me up a wall heheh!

Tags: chocolate, shearing, toffee

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As a friend in the business once told me, "Welcome to toffee Hell".  If you think about it, tempered chocolate releases from a  smooth surface, i.e. molds. We want it to release from molds, but not from smooth toffee. I finally decided to place callets on very warm surface and not touch until about 90F. I put on a clean glove and smear. I want it out of temper. I then top with fairly fine almonds. This is to hide any bloom. I have very little if any lifting. I have heard of sprinkling with flour to absorb any oil, but I don't have an oil problem and don't want the gluten in it. I have also heard of dusting with cocoa powder to absorb any oil. Also, I use dark chocolate only on toffee-just personal preference.

As to the blooming after a few days, I had the opportunity last week of taking a class from Chef Greweling and Mark Heim of Hershey. I didn't catch the whole discussion, but it had something to do with leaving the finished product in an 86 degree room for a time and it prevented or made the bloom go away. Wish I would have taken better notes! I think Mark hangs out here on occasion. He would have a great answer for you. Mark?

Oh Ruth don't tell me that.. LoL!  I was betting with my wife that anyone who used chopped/ground nuts were covering bloom.  

I agree totally on your observation. This isn't a marriage made in heaven, a minutely slippery surface with a material that likes to shrink when cold, release well when tempered, and isn't that porous.

Right now I love a 60% chocolate sea salt but it's a rather naked product so you see a bloom happen.  Someone said they liked how it looked, like we did it on purpose. Heh, that gave me a giggle.

I do a white chocolate honey toffee and I have a consistent  <= 1% shearing of the white chocolate but since we know its composition is so much more--buttery and the honey is just a little more tacky I can't use it in comparison.

I've been real watchful of toffees since trying to solve this, there's got to be a knack for getting some greater consistency. I have 9# of toffee to make by the weekend so I'll attempt the cocoa idea and see if anyone else has some thoughts.

You could always use a little white with the dark and swirl it. Any bloom would look like you meant it:-) BTW I use a 61% and sprinkle with Fleur de Sel, then the nuts.

Ok, I've made about 20# since I wrote this and trialled out quite a few variants mentioned by Ruth. I found a little cocoa powder is helpful--enough to soak up whatever butter/oil wasn't able to be easily wiped off.  However, too much increases sharding, so much so I was nearly infuriated with a batch.  I ended up stripping it and redoing it as wafers.

Next I found probably the best method outside hand dipping and that was to ladle on your chocolate, add your inclusion, and right before its fully set, break it then.  The layer touching the toffee is still unset, so it pulls a bit gooey but it will not separate at this stage.

I have mixed feeling about this method. It works, sure that's good.  But it means I can't just batch process a lot and break later. It also means you can use tempered chocolate pretty safely.

Still holding out for a magic method.

What is the temperature of the Toffee before it gets enrobed? 

We were making chewy toffee disks and had plenty of problems during manufacturing, and I know from experience that toffee needs to be treated in it's own way. 

Can you describe the process flow, times from the manufacturing of the toffee up to the enrobing stage? 

Regards, Arthur

Arthur, I kind of describe the steps in the beginning of this thread.  The main two ways I deal with post-toffee creation is to either let it come down to room temp on speed racks or after scoring I'll chill it, then let return it to a rack to regain room temp.  

It really depends on how fast we need the material ready that day.  I've never just chilled and enrobed it, that seems counterintuitive.

Hi, I'm a new member but fully understand the frustrations of all of you. I have found that I have the least shearing when I let the toffee air dry a bit so the surface isn't as slippery.

The most shearing I ever had was when I made the toffee, scored the toffee, and dipped the pieces as soon as they were at room temp. I had someone to help me for a short period of time and couldn't wait. The chocolate slid right off a lot of pieces when I broke them into smaller pieces for packing,

I make the toffee early in the a.m. and and let the pieces air dry on sheet pans on a rack. In the afternoon I dip the pieces in tempered chocolate and lay them on a sheet tray covered with nuts. My husband or friend then drops nuts on the top of the pieces, and then I put the tray in a cooling cabinet. This way I don't get a lot of chocolate in the nuts. I know it's more time consuming to dip the pieces, but it's not as if the surface has to be perfect because of the nuts. I then break the pieces in 1/4s for packing.

I do not make toffee on a rainy or very humid day. Anne Bennett

Welcome Anne and thanks for your own insights.  I never thought I could be frustrated by one thing so much. I'm nearing the point where if I want to do it with utmost consistency I need it scored, broken/cut and then just toss it on our enrober when we do those production runs.

If I ever find something that works time and time again I'll definitely share it.

Hi all! I've been reading this forum on and off for some time now, and I finally made an account so I can add my two cents. I'll add a disclaimer, though: I've only been doing chocolate professionally for a year now, and this advice goes against the very nature of chocolate.

I discovered my solution on accident. I had the same problems as I see here, and sometimes worse--I once had an entire sheet of toffee lose its chocolate on the first break (and it was so nicely tempered, too). My shop, though, had no humidity control last year, and I live in the tropics. I made a batch of toffee on a particularly humid day (70RH, if I recall correctly). I had to cool the sheets directly in front of the air conditioner to get them below 25 degrees so I could apply the chocolate, and by the time they got that cool, they were a sticky mess. Still, the cost of the almonds justified taking a risk, so I coated it anyway. It was brilliant. There were a few rough spots where the chocolate seized too much, but for the most part, only the part actually touching the toffee was affected, and the rest kept a very respectable, though not perfect shine.

So now, since our new AC unit dehumidifies as well, after I wipe off the excess butter, I brush each sheet with about two teaspoons of water right before I coat. I rub it around a good bit to get a nice thin layer of stickiness across the whole sheet, and coat normally. I know, water is anathema to chocolate, but it's hard to argue with results. I still cringe every time I ladle that chocolate onto a damp, sticky surface.

Wow Tim. That is so counterintuitive I have to try it.  Thanks for your input and story. :D

Did you really mean below 25 degrees or is that a typo? That's below freezing. Do you coat just one side or flip your sheet over to coat the other side?

I'm just curious. My toffee seems to last longer when it's totally enrobed in chocolate.

Anne Bennett

If Tim is talking Celcius it's be about 76'F which is still rather warm for my liking it's more what I was considering his temp.

Double side coating is always something we've thought of but I've never liked the result.  Maybe if you have a thick toffee then two sides is good, if you have a near paper thin toffee (ours is about 1/8th of an inch) then the toffee itself will get lost with that much chocolate.  However you are right your shelf life will be extended due to the oxygen barrier that a full enrobing would do.  I think we get about a month or so while exposed.

Then of course you have costs to juggle depending on where/who you are sourcing from. So many variables..


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