September 8, 2020
I came across this fantastic recipe while perusing David Lebovitz's book, "The Perfect Scoop." It is a DREAM. Buttery, crunchy, chocolatey, sweet, salty. It just hits ALL of the feels for me and I think it will for you too. I have zero defense against this though so, any stories I tell myself about only have a few bites are LIES! Laura, just go ahead admit that any time you make this you will eat most of it. Sorry Seth.
I love how versatile it can be too. Feel free to substitute milk or white chocolate, hazelnuts in place of almonds, or add bits of dried fruit and crystallized ginger. I made just a few adjustments to the recipe. It is easy to make and the only "special" piece of equipment you need to succeed is a digital thermometer. This is a wonderful treat to share with guests while social distancing over the holidays or, make it on a Tuesday after Labor Day.
1 cup whole almonds, toasted and finely chopped. (The first time I made this I chopped the nuts by hand, the second I did in a food processor. You can do either but I think I prefer by hand).
1 tablespoon water
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar, I used dark
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, discs, or chunks
Maldon sea salt flakes
Prepare your pan. Lightly butter or spray an 8-inch baking pan with non-stick baking spray. Line the pan with a piece of parchment paper, making sure it's long enough so that you can gather both ends when the toffee is ready. You can then pull it up and out of the pan and onto your cutting board.
Toast almonds and allow to cool. Chop by hand or in a food processor. Don't let the pieces get too small! Divide in half, this doesn't have to be perfect. Place half the nuts in an even layer in the bottom of the prepared pan. It doesn't matter if there are a few gaps here and there.
Mix the baking soda and vanilla in a small bowl and have that ready, right near your stovetop.
In a medium saucepan add the water, butter, and both sugars. Have your digital thermometer ready. Cook over medium heat, stirring gently until the mixture reaches 300° F. This will take 3-5 minutes so don't go anywhere. Remove from the heat and quickly stir in the baking soda and vanilla. Just stir gently, don't overmix this! Quickly pour the hot mixture over the nuts and do your best to spread the toffee evenly over the nuts and into the corners. I find an offset spatula works best for this. Don't fret, you may not be able to spread the toffee perfectly and evenly over every single nut in the pan. It starts to thicken up pretty quickly once it's off the heat. When all is said and done, this is going to be a hunky, chunky, nutty mess. Looks aren't everything.
Scatter the chocolate pieces over the toffee and wait 2 minutes for it to get soft and melty. Spread the chocolate over the toffee and nuts, sprinkle some Maldon over that, and then top with the remaining chopped almonds. Press the nuts gently into the still warm/soft chocolate. If you have time, leave the pan out on the counter until the chocolate is completely set. Or, you can pop it into the fridge if you're in a time crunch.
Once the chocolate has hardened, grab both ends of the parchment and lift the buttercrunch out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Rough chop into larger and smaller pieces. Pop some in our mouth while your chopping.