Chocolate Almond Buttercrunch Toffee

On Saturday morning, I participated in Will Bake For Food, a food blogger’s bake sale organized by bloggers Jenny M. and Jenny R. to benefit the Emergency Feeding Program of Seattle/King County.

Food bloggers making treats to provide food for the needy?  It was just crazy enough to work.

The room hummed with excitement even before the sale started, with bloggers arranging their wares and chatting with each other.  Then the exciting news came that there was a line of customers already.  They had all brought canned goods or cash, which they traded for tickets to buy goodies with.

When the doors opened, the crowd surged in like it was Black Friday.  Hands full of tickets, they swarmed around the room snatching up pretty little packages of cookies, muffins, cakes, and baked goods of every sort.

The treat I decided to make for the bake sale was David Lebovitz’s Chocolate-Almond Buttercrunch Toffee.  Even the name sounds delectable, doesn’t it?  And aside from exercising a certain amount of vigilance to avoid burning myself with drops of molten toffee, it could hardly be easier to make.  And this toffee—well, let’s just say it puts store bought toffee to shame.  It has just the right amounts of chocolate and nuts to make a perfect vehicle for the smooth, crunchy toffee center.  Crisp, fresh, and with a smoky caramel taste that will have you going back for just one more piece, then another, then just a tiny last bit

Chocolate-Almond Buttercrunch Toffee

(from David Lebovitz)

  • 2 cups toasted almonds, chopped between fine and coarse
  • 2 tbsp water
  • ½ cup butter, cut into pieces
  • a big pinch of salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped, or 1 cup chocolate chips
  • Fleur de sel (optional, but recommended)

Lightly oil a baking sheet.  Sprinkle half the nuts into a rectangle about 8” by 10” on the baking sheet.

In a medium sized heavy-duty saucepan, heat the water, butter, salt, and both  sugars.  Cook, stirring as little as possible, until thermometer reads 300 F.

Have the vanilla and baking soda handy.

Immediately remove from heat and stir in the baking soda and vanilla.

Quickly pour the mixture over the nuts on the baking sheet.  Try to pour the mixture so it forms a relatively even layer.  If necessary, gently but quickly spread with a spatula, but don’t overwork it.

Strew the chocolate pieces over the top and let stand 2 minutes, then spread in an even layer.

If using, sprinkle lightly with fleur de sel.  Sprinkly the remaining nuts over the chocolate and gently press them in with your hands.

Cool completely and break into pieces to serve.  Store in an airtight container, for up to ten days.

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