Last Christmas I made toffee for the first time and it was a big hit. I knew as soon as I tried it I’d end up making it every year. I’ve already made two batches this week, and yesterday I made some caramels too. I’m sure I’ll end up making some Christmas cookies too, but this year I’m more interested in candy making than cookie baking.
When you go looking for toffee recipes you come across all kinds of horror stories about batches of toffee gone awry and debates about the chemical properties of various sugars and it’s enough to scare any one off. But it’s really pretty simple. As long as you’re careful and pay attention to what you’re doing it will work.
I’ve found that a candy thermometer isn’t much help here, at least not the thermometer I have, because the syrup isn’t deep enough in the pot for enough of the thermometer to be submerged to get an accurate reading. So I rely on the old fashioned drop of syrup in a glass of cold water method. It’s more fun that way anyway.
- 2 sticks salted butter, cut into chunks
- 1 1/2 cups natural cane sugar (or regular white sugar)
- 3 tablespoons brown rice syrup
- 3 tablespoons water
- about 3/4 cup unsalted roasted almonds, coarsely chopped
- 1 bar (5 to 6 oz.) dark chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup unsalted roasted almonds, finely chopped
Before you start, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and make sure you have all your ingredients measured and ready. Put the butter in a heavy sauce pan and cook over medium-low heat. Once the butter is mostly melted add the sugar, brown rice syrup, and water. Stir gently until the sugar is completely dissolved. Then turn the heat up just a little bit. Cook, stirring gently but continuously until it reaches the hard ball stage (300 degrees). The key is to keep stirring so that the butter doesn’t separate out from the syrup. Once the syrup reaches the hard ball stage, immediately remove from heat and stir in the coarsely chopped almonds.
Pour the toffee onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Let it sit for a few minutes, just to firm up a little bit. Usually a little bit of the butter separates out to the surface. You’ll want to mop it up before you add the chocolate so that the chocolate adheres better. Just take a clean, lint-free kitchen towel and blot the surface. Then while the toffee is still warm, sprinkle with the chopped chocolate. Let stand for a couple minutes until the chocolate starts to melt. Then use a butter knife to spread the chocolate in an even layer over the toffee. Sprinkle the finely chopped almonds evenly over the chocolate. Slide the toffee, still on the parchment, off the baking sheet and refrigerate unit the chocolate is completely firm. Use the point of a sharp, heavy knife to crack the toffee into pieces. The toffee will keep for weeks in an airtight container.