You should invest in a candy thermometer. Trust me, you should. I, however, decided that I couldn't stand to buy one more kitchen tool that I would only use once in a blue moon. Let me tell you, trying to gauge hard ball stage from soft crack stage from every other stage is quite the challenge without a thermometer. Especially since I'm not a professional candy maker. Not even close. So lets just call this an experiment. It actually turned out pretty well despite my stubbornness. But I won't go down this panic-stricken road again. Learn from me!
By the way, this coffee toffee is really great.
adapted from Southern Living magazine
2 cups chopped pecans (use whatever you like here, the actual recipe calls for walnuts)
1 1/4 cups butter
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
2 teaspoons instant espresso
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk chocolate morsels
1 cup white chocolate morsels
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted, stirring halfway through. Let cool 30 minutes.
Butter a 15 x 10 inch jelly roll pan. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat; stir in sugar, next 5 ingredients and 1/2 cup water. Cook, stirring constantly until a candy thermometer reads 290 degrees (soft crack stage), about 20 minutes. Remove pan from heat, and stir in pecans. Quickly pour mixture into prepared jelly roll pan and spread into an even layer. Immediately sprinkle milk chocolate and white chocolate morsels over top. Let stand 5 minutes. Swirl chocolate using an off-set spatula.
Cover and chill until firm, about 1 hour. Break toffee into pieces. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 7 days. Serve cold or at room temp.