That Last BonBon March 07 2015

When I am making a batch of chocolate bonbons, spooning the perfectly tempered chocolate into all those little molds, the last one never turns out. This is not entirely by accident, but rather a result of that last bonbon being formed by the chocolate scrapings from the sides and bottom of a virtually empty bowl. Some of these chocolate leavings are already hardened, so that one bonbon is usually a real Quasimodo.  And it is mine.  All mine.  Mine to taste, to test, to enjoy, to do with as I please.

I am not a chocoholic, which surprises people. It should please people, because it means that I can be all up in the chocolate all day long and not lick my fingers. Which is a good thing for all y'all. But at the end of the day, I do enjoy that last bonbon.

Yesterday's last bonbon was of the Milk Chocolate English Toffee variety. And while I do favor dark chocolate, that bonbon was heaven. Pure heaven. So purely heavenly, in fact, that I am now writing about it. To be fair, my euphoria over this confection was due only in part to its deliciousness. My bigger elation was actually from the hard-won victory of Toffee Perfection. To explain: I have been making perfect toffee for a long time.  But, after moving from Chicago to New England a year and a half ago, I had some trouble with my "evaporated" candies -- namely the caramels and the toffee. The coastal climate here with its salty humidity is a real game-changer over what I was used to in the Midwest. Candy just doesn't cook the same. And I couldn't quite get used to it. During last year's spring chocolate season, I wound up with two batches of pretzel caramel and one batch of toffee that I couldn't use because they just weren't right.

But this year.....oh this year....... I am pleased to report that further experimentation coupled with keen observation has taken care of this problem. My East Coast English Toffee is now spectacular. I mean really spectacular. Toffee -- kitchen chemistry-wise -- is a hybrid of caramel and hard candy. Made perfectly, it is crunchy, buttery, caramel-colored and -flavored, and a tiny bit sticky, but perfect toffee should also "release" and leave your mouth with nothing to pick out of your molars. Mine is now all those things and more. And yesterday, at the end of a long day, oh, that last bonbon was just what I said: pure heaven!