Testing this buttercrunch toffee recipe was a nightmare – for our waistlines! It is easier than it looks (so you won’t be expending many calories) and then it beckons to be eaten. The crunchy texture of the center, with its extra-deep toffee flavor based on brown sugar, combined with the dark chocolate and sliced toasted-almond topping makes for one irresistible treat. Even if you have never made candy, give this one a try. Just read the directions carefully and all the way through before beginning. Note that we use salted butter for this recipe. It gives the buttercrunch a great counterpoint to the other flavors. A candy thermometer is helpful with this recipe (see Tips for making without a thermometer).
- ½ pound (2 sticks) salted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
- 10 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped, such as Callebaut or Guittard 61%
- 2 cups toasted blanched sliced almonds, roughly chopped
- Cover a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and smooth out any wrinkles. Use extra butter (or even just the butter wrappers) to coat the foil well.
- Place butter and sugar in a very heavy bottomed sauté pan. (We like to use a 10-inch cast-iron.) Begin melting butter over medium heat, stirring butter and sugar together very gently at this stage to encourage them to combine, but do not stir vigorously.
- Once the butter and sugar are combined and melted, attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and boil over medium-high heat. Occasionally draw a wooden spoon through the mixture to make sure it is heating evenly. When the mixture is approaching 250° F, combine the baking soda and vanilla in a small bowl and keep near the stove. Bring toffee to 305° F (hard crack stage). Immediately slide over to a cold burner, add soda/vanilla and quickly stir them in with a wooden spoon. Immediately pour mixture out onto prepared pan. Most, if not all, will come out of the pan. Do not scrape the pan bottom. The toffee should pool into a large oval shape. Use an offset spatula if necessary to create an even layer, about ¼-inch thick. Don’t worry about uneven edges. Place pan on rack to cool completely.
- Melt the chocolate in microwave or top of double boiler. Have nuts ready to use in a bowl on your work surface. Loosen the toffee from the foil in one big piece and then just lay it back down (you are just un-attaching it from the foil). Pour half of the chocolate on top of the toffee and spread in an even layer with an offset spatula. Immediately sprinkle half of the almonds evenly over the wet chocolate, patting gently with your fingertips to help them adhere. Refrigerate until completely set. Flip toffee over on foil and repeat with chocolate and nuts on second side of toffee. Chill again. Once it is completely chilled you may break it up into slabs. Refrigerate in an airtight container until serving time, up to 1 week.
- Candy can be fickle on a humid day, so we recommend making this toffee recipe when it is dry outside, and preferably on the cooler side. That said, one of our best batches was made during a summer heat-wave with no air conditioning. We just aimed an oscillating fan at our work station and it worked like a charm.
- Feel free to substitute the same amount of milk chocolate for semisweet and even pecans for almonds.
- If you are using a thermometer, which we suggest, unclip it and draw it through the mixture. All of the mixture must come to 305° F. Sometimes you get an artificially high reading in one part of the pan because of hot spots and if your toffee is not up to temperature, it will not set properly.
- If you do not have a thermometer, fill a clear glass with cold water and have near the stove. Drip a tiny bit of toffee into the water and it will harden instantly. Pick it up and feel it. It should be brittle and crack neatly in half when you break it.
- Note that you could temper the chocolate for a more refined candy, in which case it does not need to be refrigerated.