I am a very big fan of homemade gifts !! Originally I did it because I had time but not a lot of money. I discovered that my family actually liked the stuff I made.
I began making this toffee when I was 26 years old, I have been doing it ever since, some people claim it's the only thing they want for Christmas ;-)
This may be the most challenging thing to make that I post. Making candy is tricky, I had been making fudge and popcorn balls since I was ten, so I was familiar with a candy thermometer. I also like to think that I am channeling my grandfather, he ran a confectioners store for a few years back in the 1920's.
That being said, if you feel brave give this a try, it does make amazing gifts. Be warned, once you start your friends may not let you stop. And if it doesn't turn out you can always buy it from me.
Ingredients for the toffee:
1 pound of butter
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
2 Tbsp. corn syrup( I know, yuck, but I have found an organic non-GMO version)
1 cup chopped almonds
Ingredients for the topping:
1 cup chopped almonds
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
a candy thermometer
1 rimmed cookie sheet ( lightly greased)
heavy bottom saucepan, at least 2 quart
lots of time and patience
|I know the photo shows two cookie sheets, I make two batches each time. I DO NOT double the recipe.|
In the heavy saucepan begin to melt the pound of butter.
Add the sugar, water and corn syrup and continue to cook over a medium flame.
|It will start out looking like this.|
He uses one of those chopper thingies.
Once you add the nuts the stirring gets very serious,you must keep it up and watch the thermometer.
You want it to reach 320 F. We are actually burning the sugar.
Once it reaches 320 F remove it immediately from the stove and pour it into the lightly greased rimmed cookie sheet. Be careful the molten sugar will burn you if it touches your skin.
Back to the toffee...once it has cooled slightly, it's time to cover it with chocolate.
You can use whatever semi-sweet chocolate you like, because I make many many batches to sell, I have to sacrifice quality for cost. I use the Trader Joe's chocolate chips. Melt 1 cup of chocolate in the microwave or over a double boiler. I prefer the former as it is quicker, the trick is to do it in short bits, a minute or less at a time until it is all melted.
Smear that melted chocolate on the toffee and sprinkle with 1/2 cup chopped almonds.
When the chocolate has set, get another cookie sheet or just place waxed paper on your table. Bend the edges of the sheet to loosen the toffee, then take the leap of faith and flip it out onto the table or cookie sheet.
The chocolate needs to set again before you are ready to break it into pieces.
You can put it into small tins or cellophane bags. Theoretically it lasts three to four months if stored in a cool dark place. At one show I do, the small bags don't even make it out of the garden.
I never put it in the fridge as I am afraid the moisture with get to it, however I do have a customer who keeps his in the freezer ( it keeps it away from his kids;-).
So there you have it my not so very secret almond toffee recipe. Good Luck.