I was a very righteously-opinioned child. For example, I took the mathematics curriculum as a DIRECT PERSONAL SLIGHT against myself and would injuriously huff about it at any given opportunity (and especially in opportunities that weren't given.) Like, in any schoolbook from my youth I'll take jabs at it - not least in the actual maths workbook itself where I'd constantly write evaluations of my work complaining about how unfair and stupid maths is, and take great pleasure in defacing each and every possible blue-lined square with colours and stars and patterns. God help the defenceless teacher if there was an "about me" section in any piece of work - I'd be all, "I'm Laura Vincent and I hate war, people who don't understand the genius of the Spice Girls, and the fact that I have to do pointless, irritating mathematics."
That's just one example. I was also vehemently against the colour pink, simply because I wanted to rebel against the generally held gender norms that pink was for girls and blue is for boys. I definitely went through a distinct Barbie doll phase (I was in it mostly for the fashion, but I do remember being with my cousins and pretending to burn a Shaving Ken at the stake while several other Barbies danced around him triumphantly as we sung Sacrifice by Elton John - "we've got a Shaving Ke-e-en, and he's our sacrifice") but after a point I truly felt like not seeking out pink things made me somehow more superior. Pink was obvious. Obviousness was weakness.
Tiny jerkfaced me could never have predicted that in the year 2017, I would embrace the very shade that I so long derided (okay so from the years like, 1999 - 2014 I was honestly neither here nor there on it) in the form of Millennial Pink.
Millennial Pink is a real phenomenon (there's a great article charting its rise to prominence) and I ADORE it. In these garbage times, this shade is soft, it's kind, it's calm AS HELL, it's really, really pretty. And it's increasingly charmingly genderless, which I feel lil no-wave feminism me might have appreciated. It's the colour of soothing tumblr aesthetics, of Drake's puffer jacket, of Rihanna wearing pyjamas in the club, of watching makeup tutorials till you fall asleep, of brutally plain late 90s slip dresses, of rose quartz crystals, of Jenny Holzer truisms, of the icing on top of cream buns and doughnuts, of peonies and rose petals, of bleached and coloured hair on Instagram, of sun-faded walls with bright green plants propped up against them, of fluffiness and softness and dreaminess.
All of which possibly sounds stupid but like, I like what I like.
Hence why I found myself starting with a colour as an inspiration point and working backwards from there, and ended up with this extremely delicious toffee.
I had some almonds kicking around from making orgeat for work and in the spirit of sustainability or the illusion thereof, I decided to surround them with crunchy, buttery toffee and smother them in rose-tinted white chocolate. Anything caramelly just bloody does it for me, and I sheepishly prefer white chocolate over the other sorts, so this resulting slice was extremely 100% my idea of a good time. Making toffee from scratch does require some patience and a healthy fear of getting too close to the relentlessly boiling sugar. What you get though is the most glorious stuff - your teeth sliding effortlessly through the silky, vanilla-y white chocolate into hard, almond studded salty toffee which shatters as you bite down into chewy caramel crystals. It's intense and it's wonderful.
millennial pink salted almond white chocolate toffee
a recipe by myself
- 250g butter
- one and a half cups caster sugar
- a decent pinch of sea salt
- one cup of toasted almonds, blitzed in a food processor so they're rubbly and chopped
- 250g white chocolate
- one teaspoon vegetable oil
- a few drops of pink food colouring
This recipe looks really really long but it's just a convoluted way of saying boil stuff then chill it then cover it in chocolate, it's all pretty straightforward I promise.
Line a regular sized brownie pan with baking paper . In a large saucepan, heat up the butter, sugar and salt and allow it to come to the boil. Let it bubble away, stirring only occasionally (it might seem like the butter won't absorb into the sugar but as it boils the sugar will take it in, give it a few gentle stirs though if it eases your mind.) After a while, take a spoonful of the boiling sugar and drop it in a glass of cold water. Let it sit for a few seconds and then taste it - the texture you're after is a good hard toffee crunch. If it's more fudge-like, then you need to let it carry on boiling.
Once you're at this point, remove it from the heat and dump in the almonds. Give it a quick stir and spatula it briskly into the waiting brownie pan. This is like, the hottest thing on earth and it will continue to bubble VERY disconcertingly in the pan so just let it settle down for a bit before you put it in the freezer or it will throw your entire ecosystem in there out of balance.
Once the toffee is cooled and firm to the touch, melt the white chocolate gently with a teaspoon of vegetable oil and add the merest droplet or two of pink food colouring. Stir gently and add more colour if you desire but go slowly! I used literally like, three drops for this stuff. Spatula it evenly over the surface of the toffee, and gently bang the base of the tin against the bench to settle any lines in the chocolate. Return it to the freezer, and then when that is finally set, slice it however you like and eat the damn stuff.
To be honest almost every time I make something starting with aesthetic instead of flavour or texture as the inspiration point I end up screwing up the recipe completely, as though the universe is admonishing me for being driven by such base instincts, but this worked out perfectly. Proving beyond the shadow of a doubt that wanting things to be pretty is like, not the worst. I ended up taking it around town and dropping off tasters of it at various beloved establishments before bringing the rest to work for my team like some kind of actual heroic angel. I know there's some still waiting for me tonight when I go to work and I couldn't be happier about it.
Just one woman's opinion, but go forth and embrace pink. Oh and maths really does suck, I was right about that one.
title from: Frank Ocean, Sierra Leone, from his extremely very perfect album Channel Orange.
I am regrettably completely head over heels for this guy from the UK called Rat Boy, who was clearly bred in a lab with the express purpose of being to my personal taste. Sample song: Revolution.
As well as being an absolute BOP, Charli XCX's song Boys is like...Millennial Pink condensed into one explanatory video.
next time: It's (SOMEHOW, and I suspect HIGHLY ILLEGALLY) September now, so like, let's shuck off the heavy winter food and get into spring (it's honestly colder outside than it has been all year but a gal can remain optimistic!)