“Still Life with Cake.” Raphaelle Peale (1774–1825). American. Oil on wood, 10 3/4 x 15 1/4 in., 1818. Maria DeWitt Jesup Fund, 1959 59.166
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Seasonal Treats: Holiday Baking with The Met Store

Presenting some tasty recipes and colorful kitchen accessories for the holidays

New at The Met Store for 2019 is our richly illustrated treasury, “Christmas Is Coming!” The delightful book brims with pages of original artworks from The Met, along with classic Christmas tales, songs and music, poetry, and—last but not least—holiday recipes, both sweet and savory (such as the Cranberry-Thyme Shortbread recipe accompanied by the featured image at the top).

“Christmas Is Coming!” is a new holiday-themed book from The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Sure to be a seasonal favorite the whole family will enjoy, year after year, this lively volume was created in collaboration with Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Abrams.

Among the book’s festive recipes is one for English toffee, which was contributed by Randy Eastman, the current pastry chef at The Dining Room at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Chef Randy graciously demonstrated his toffee-making technique for us; the delicious results are shown below.

English Toffee recipe from Chef Randy Eastman, as shown on page 144 of “Christmas Is Coming!” Published in 2019 by Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Abrams. All rights reserved.

English Toffee by Randy Eastman

1 1/8 cup unsalted butter (255 g)

1 ¾ cups granulated sugar (351 g)

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt (28 g)

1 tablespoon honey (21 g)

  • Line a 13″ x 18″ baking sheet with a silicone baking mat
  • Make the toffee: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat, but don’t let it bubble. Add the sugar, salt, and honey and stir constantly with a heatproof spatula. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the saucepan frequently, until the mixture is light brown and its temperature meets 320°F (160°C) on an instant thermometer, 12 to 15 minutes.
  • Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and spread it evenly to the edges of the pan. Let cool about 10 minutes. Pull the toffee from the silicon sheet and break it into large pieces. Transfer to an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to a week.
  • Optional chocolate-almond topping: Melt 12 ounces (340 g) of chocolate in a double boiler or microwave. Set aside to cool. Toast 10 ounces (230 g) slivered almonds until light brown and cool for about five minutes. With a spatula, spread the melted chocolate over the entire toffee surface. Sprinkle on the toasted almonds and refrigerate until set, about five minutes. Break into pieces and store as above.

Adults and kids can prepare the toffee together while wearing our coordinating cotton aprons, below. These charming accessories feature an original textile pattern by artist Rebecca Clarke, who was profiled on our blog earlier this year. The matching aprons, oven mitt, and pot holder boast adorable hand-drawn images of art treasures in The Met, including the medieval unicorn from the Unicorn Tapestries, a stained-glass lamp by Louis C. Tiffany, and “William,”our unofficial mascot.

Met Sketches by Rebecca Clark: Adult Apron, Cookie Plate, Oven Mitt and Pot Holder, Kid’s Apron

When you have finished with your toffee baking, don’t forget to set some aside for Santa. Leave the treats out on Christmas Eve on our special ceramic plate (shown above)—along with a glass of milk, of course!  

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