Friday, December 13, 2013

Chai Toffee for the Pregnant Blogger

If you've seen me recently, you've likely noticed I'm getting bigger. A LOT bigger. And for once, it doesn't have to do with my deep-rooted love of cookies. The Hubster and I are pregnant (well you know with biology being what it is, I'm the one that's actually pregnant. But people always say "we," maybe to make the morning sickness and bloating a bit less bearable, so "we" it is). Both grandmothers went a bit bonkers at the news of a girl (we don't have any girl babies in our family) and immediately rushed out to start buying dolls and dresses. I asked for some blocks and plain onesies but was wholly ignored. And since I plan on reusing much of the stuff we got for Little Man, this poor girl will be wearing pink, frilly dresses half of the time and faded camo onesies the rest of the time. Don't worry, I'll just put the money I save in to a therapy fund for her.

The Hubster and I feel incredibly blessed by all of the calls, emails, and texts from our friends and family reflecting our unbridled joy. But it's also a bit hilarious for us because we vividly recall how that joy is often surpassed by the sheer terror and exhaustion of having a newborn. Add a toddler relishing his Terrible Two's and well, it promises to be interesting ride. Of all the people we've told, perhaps the ultrasound technician had the best response when we told him we also had a two year old son. His eyes widened and he chuckled. "That is going to be challenging," he said. It was clear he too lived in a house ringing with toddler shrieks and Disney's Mouseketools on repeat.

I feel a bit more prepared knowing what I want and don't want this time 'round. Want: More ice cream.  Don't want: Hospital food. At all. Want: More massages. Don't want: A maternity photo shoot. I really don't need evidence of how I look like a bloated leprechaun. Want: More ice cream. Oh wait, I already said that. Well, it bears noting twice. Don't want: A freezer without ice cream.

For now, I'm appreciating the relative calm before the storm and enjoying all the stuff you can only get away with when you're pregnant. For one, I've pretty much given up on pants. No, this does not mean I'm going pantless (though I really love that part in an old episode of Everybody Loves Raymond where the dad comes home from work and announces, "I'm going to take off my pants and get comfortable, in case you all want to leave"). These days, I pretty much distinguish my formal and casual outings based on whether I'm wearing leggings or flannel pajama bottoms.

I'm also eating more than my fair share of treats. Like this chai toffee. Since I've cut back on my caffeine intake, I've had to figure out other ways to get my chai fix. Presenting, this gloriously buttery toffee filled with fragrant chai spices like ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom. And while I can't guarantee that this toffee will help with swollen feet, I'm hopeful it will make the 3 a.m. wake up calls easier.

Chai Toffee

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
3/4 cup chopped almonds
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
 2 tbs. water
1/8 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. cardamom powder
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger powder

Preheat oven to 350F. Toast the chopped almonds on a baking sheet for 5 minutes, or until fragrant.

With heavy-duty aluminum foil, form a 10-inch square shell with 1-inch high sides. Place the foil shell on a baking sheet, and set aside.

In a heavy saucepan, cook the butter, sugar, water, and salt over medium heat until the temperature reaches 305F (hard-crack stage), stirring occasionally (watch closely after it reaches 290F because the temperature will increase rapidly). When the mixture becomes golden brown, remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the vanilla extract and spices. Pour the mixture into the foil shell. It will spread but may not reach the edges of the square. Cool at room temperature for 45 minutes, or until hard.

Melt the chocolate according to instructions on the side of package. Spread melted chocolate over the cooled toffee, and sprinkle with the toasted almonds, pressing lightly to set pecans into chocolate. Let set at room temperature 1 hour, or until the chocolate is set. Break toffee into pieces.

Adapted from Ghiradelli's English Toffee.


Dixya said...

this is such an exciting news, more excited that its a girl. Congrats you guys!

Haddock said...

Congrats on that good news.
Yes.... enjoy the calm before the storm :-)

Gwen said...

How exciting!!! I have 3 boys and then a little girl, as excited as I was for girlie things she wore a whole lot of blue those first few months ;) The grow like weeds! I will have to make this for my hubby's stocking! He l.o.v.e.s toffee! OXOX

J+K said...

Congratulations! It may be challenging for a while, but I'm sure brother and sister will enjoy having each other! The toffee sounds wonderful, too. I may finally have to try toffee make it sound easy!

themanhattanfoodproject said...

Congratulations! Enjoy the time now and do the best you can with well-meaning grandmothers who want to shower the little girl in all things girly, and hold fast to your requests for plain onesies and socks! While it seems like most of our friends have boys, I do know at least one couple who got clothes for their daughter both on the boys' and girls' side if they liked it, and so she was a girl who rocked mini motorcyle boots with pink frilly dresses. :)

Asha Shivakumar said...

Oh wow, CONGRATULATONS. That is awesome news, you guys must be over and above happy.
A girl, that's even cuter news. Enjoy every bit of it and the toffee.

Ameena said...

This post made me laugh so hard! The pants thing...totally get it. I had these hideously ugly Old Navy elastic pants...and I just shiver when I think of how ugly I probably looked in them.

As as far as the "we" are pregnant thing? I don't get that either. It felt like it was all me for 9 months.

Congrats again! I can't wait to see pictures. I bet she'll be as pretty as you are!

Parita @ myinnershakti said...

CONGRATS!!! I am so excited for y'all!! :)

Lawyer Loves Lunch said...

Thanks everyone! We're super excited (and terrified) :)

Monet said...

Smile. Girls are the best! So excited for you! And what a wonderful sweet treat to celebrate all the goodness coming your way. Thank you for sharing!

Jessica @ Jessiker Bakes said...

I'm SURE you don't look like a bloated leprechaun haha! But I totally understand, sometimes these maternity shoots like a bit weird. CONGRATULATIONS though! How exciting; in fantasy I imagine you baking endless pink and yellow treats celebrating the baby's first month of growth reality I know I myself would way be too tired! I wish you all the best! This toffee looks very tasty !!

Haffa Bexi said...

Nice blog! Following u.. wishing fr same :) Haffas Kitchen

Candace said...

Congratulations!! How exciting. The toffee looks great too! ;-)

Joanne said...

YAYYY!!! I saw this on facebook and just about squealed with happiness. Like SO MUCH. At least your daughter will be well-rounded with all the pink and camo-stuff? A modern day GI Jane.

Gina Stanley said...

This sounds like the perfect fix to calm your nerves. I know your little lady is going to fit right into the fray. I have no documented evidence from the finally stages of when I was pregnant, probably because I looked liked the little girl Violet from Willy Wonka after she ate the wrong gum. I'm positive that your will look way more chic than that the whole time. So glad I got to see you again and I was kinda wishing I had shoved a couple of your little appetizers into my purse for later. Merry Christmas.

Jessie said...

Oh my gosh, congrats to you and the hubster! A sister for Little Man! What a wonderful announcement for the holidays :) I have to say, your post had me laughing like a crazy person - you are so funny! I'm just trying to picture your future daughter in faded camo onesies. If I could send you ice cream, I would, for sure. In the meantime, this chai toffee looks amazing - it may not have caffeine, but it sure looks satisfying :)

Congratulations again, and happy holidays!

Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl said...

I love that you are still getting your chai fix, what a amazing idea! And many congrats to you and your family!

Lail | With A Spin said...

How exciting! Congratulations!! That is awesome news.

Enjoy every bit of it before the storm starts knowing the storm shall pass too.

Lisa {Authentic Suburban Gourmet } said...

This toffee looks and sounds amazing! Congrats again on the little one and so great to see you last weekend at the blogger brunch and cookie swap!

Honey said...

Congratulations! So happy for you. The toffee looks really delicious.

Shefali said...

Ahh this post made me nostalgic about my yucky looking Gap Maternity Pants- with their stretchy band and high comfy waist. Congratulations to you guys! Trust me girls are SO MUCH FUN. You will love it :)

Kristi @ Inspiration Kitchen said...

This toffee looks amazing! I love toffee, and I can just imagine that the Chai version is even better! Happy New Year!

Kelly LifemadeSweeter said...

Aaw, congratulations on your baby girl, that is awesome news :) So excited for you and your family - we are in the same boat with a 2 year old boy and baby girl due in March :) This chai toffee looks incredible - what a genius and delicious way to get in your chai fix - love it!

attaur rehman said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Papa, i want to go

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