Back when I was in high school my closest friends and I made a deal. Being young and in high school, we were typically strapped for cash, but wanting to show our appreciation for each other’s friendship during the holidays, we didn’t want to forego gift giving. So we did the smart thing: we decided that we’d make gifts for each other. This turned out to be way fun and yielded some incredibly creative creations. The first year I made pillows for everyone and used fabric paint to spell out their names and depict pictures of their favorite animals. I had to ask them all what said favorite animals were sneakily beforehand and was a little frustrated when my best friend told me that her favorite animal was a stingray. The stingray pillow actually ended up being kinda cute in the end.
Vegan Pecan Crusted Toffee Bites
For the Crust
- 3 cups pecans
- 2 tbsp. vegan margarine such as Earth Balance
- 2 tbsp. maple syrup
For the Toffee
- 1 cup vegan margarine
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 12 oz. bag of vegan chocolate chips such as Enjoy Life (I like the mini chips for this recipe because they melt faster)
Prepare the Crust
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Place crust ingredients in food processor and process until pecans are ground and ingredients begin to stick together.
- Spread mixture evenly over the bottom of parchment lined cookie sheet or baking pan. You can use a rolling pin and/or your fingers.
- If you use a cookie sheet make absolutely sure that it has a lip, otherwise the toffee could spill into your oven and create a grease fire. You want a layer of at least 9" x 13", but you can go bigger if you've got room.
- Bake for about 8 minutes or until crust begins to firm up and brown, but watch closely because it does burn rather quickly.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Prepare the Toffee
- Raise oven temperature to 400.
- While your crust cools, melt your 1 cup of vegan margarine and 1 cup of brown sugar in medium saucepan.
- Bring to simmer, and allow to simmer, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken. You will probably see a watery layer forming up top at the beginning. This should have evaporated by the time 5 minutes is up, and your mixture should have a smooth caramely consistency.
- Pour toffee mixture over crust and spread out to cover crust as evenly as possible. Stick the whole thing in the oven and bake for five minutes.
- Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle chocolate chips on top in an even layer. Once they begin to melt, take a rubber scraper and smooth out chocolate.
- Refrigerate for at least an hour, or until chocolate appears firm. Remove from refrigerator and cut or break into pieces.