Even with a toffee addiction, I’ve never made it myself. It’s partly because I don’t want to eat it all (I will eat it all) and I’ve always been a little scared of candy-making. I think I also equated toffee to caramel and that really scared me off because I have had multiple—multiple—failures with caramel-making. This toffee was surprisingly easy to make, though. And since part of it went to Tom’s work and my work and another part of it will be going to our neighbors, there’s not a whole lot left for me to gorge on.
A really nice thing about putting toffee in holiday treat bags is that it has a pretty decent shelf life, so you don’t have to worry about making it all the night before you plan on assembling packages or anything like that. Plus, if you have a candy thermometer, it’s incredibly easy to make. Once the sugar dissolves you literally don’t have to do anything until it reaches 300 degrees. I wrote some emails and went through Instagram, and then just stood at the stove watching it the last minute or so. Trust me, if I can make it, you can make it.
Adapted from Joy of Baking
1-3/4 cups raw almonds
1.5 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
3 Tbsp. light corn syrup
6-8 oz. milk or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 and place the almonds on n 11×17 a baking sheet. Bake the almonds for 8-10 minutes, until fragrant. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Coarsely chop 1 cup of the almonds and place the remaining 3/4 cup in a small food processor. Pulse until finely chopped; set aside.
Line the same baking sheet with parchment or wax paper and grease with butter or cooking spray. Scatter the coarsely chopped almonds over the sheet*; place over a cooling rack.
Melt the butter in a large, heavy saucepan over medium or medium-high heat. Once melted, stir in the sugar, corn syrup and water. Stir just until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a boil. Immediately stop stirring when it boils. (If there are any sugar crystals clinging to the side of the saucepan, use a pastry brush dipped in water to move them down.) Clamp a candy thermometer to the side of the saucepan. Cook the mixture until it reaches 300 degrees (the hard crack stage) without any stirring. This will take about 12-15 minutes.
Immediately remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the vanilla*. Pour the mixture into an even layer on the prepared baking sheet. Scatter the chopped chocolate over the top of the toffee; after a few minutes it will have become soft enough where you can use an offset spatula to spread it completely over the toffee. Top with the finely chopped almonds. Allow to set at room temperature or in the fridge before breaking into pieces.
*Note: You can stir in the almonds with the vanilla extract rather than scattering them on the sheet, but I found that stirring them in makes them difficult to distribute evenly and you have more control over their distribution if you just pour the toffee over them.