Friday, December 21, 2012

English Toffee

When I was a kid, my mom's favorite candy was Almond Rocha. The distinctive pink round tin, the little gems of butter, almonds, chocolate and sugar wrapped in gold foil. They were so fancy to this suburban kid. Any it was expensive, or so my mom said. So every once in a while, she'd splurge and buy some, and stash it somewhere to be enjoyed solo. A private moment of indulgence, just for her. And then. . . one day. . . I found her stash. And as much as I'd like to say "I didn't", I did; I pilfered one and scarfed it up. Then expertly disposed of the damning gold foil evidence. So tender, so buttery, so forbidden. I was hooked. I was instantly an "English Toffee Junkie". But to feed my new desire, I would have to be careful. If I pinched it all, I'd be caught. So I waited, and waited before pilfering another piece. Never letting on that I'd found the stash. Oh the cleverness of me. Eventually I quit lifting from mom's stash. A little maturity and a lot of guilt bettering my addiction. I wonder if my Mom every knew. She may have and never let on. We'll never know. Mom was like that. I miss her!

Imagine my delight when my friend Amy shared her grandma's family recipe for English Toffee. I could now make this once forbidden treat for myself. What I love about this recipe is it's simplicity. Just a few ingredients and some patients and you'll have English Toffee for yourself. It's getting close to Christmas but it's not too late to whip up one last batch of treats. . .

Four simple ingredients: butter, sugar, whole RAW almonds (They need to be raw or they will burn.), chocolate chips (semi-sweet is my pick, but you could use milk chocolate if you wanted.)

Put the butter, almonds and sugar into a large saucepan.

Heat over low heat until all the butter melts and the sugar dissolves.

Bring to a low boil and clip on a thermometer. Cook, stirring frequently, until temperature reaches 295°F.

It will take a while to get there. Maybe 20-30 minutes. Just stick with it. When it's done, it will be this rich amber color and the almonds will be toasted. YUM!

Remove from heat and immediately pour into a buttered, rimmed, 10 x 15 cookie sheet / jelly roll pan.

Allow to cool a bit until the top just begins to set up. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top. You can see I didn't have enough "regular" sized chocolate chips so I made up the difference with minis. In the end it won't matter.

When the chocolate has melted, spread evenly over the top. It will be a thin layer.

While the chocolate is still soft, sprinkle with chopped almonds and then let the whole thing set up overnight until cool and firm.

Break into pieces and enjoy. Buttery, toffee-y, almondy, chocolaty and delicious. So good, you'll never buy toffee again. It will be an instant holiday classic.

English Toffee
3/4 lb. butter (3 sticks)
2 C. sugar
2 C. whole raw almonds
1 lb. chocolate (semi-sweet or milk chocolate, chips or chopped)
1/2 C. finely chopped almonds

In a heavy 4 qt. saucepan, cook butter, sugar and whole almonds, over low heat, to 295°F.
Immediately pour into a buttered 10x15-inch rimmed cookie sheet. Allow to cool slightly.
While still warm, sprinkle chocolate over surface. When melted, spread out evenly and sprinkle with chopped almonds. Allow to cool overnight. Break into bite sized pieces and serve.

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