I’m not a big sweets eater. I think it was childhood overload. My parents always had a lot of parties, and when the guests arrived they would always bring cookies, Hostess cupcakes, Twinkies, candies and soft drinks for us. I’m talking huge, brown paper sacks! After a while, the thrill was gone and now I will only occasionally binge on a very few favorite sweets. English toffee is one of them. Not all the time, but when I get the craving, I can eat an embarrassing amount of English toffee.
There is no English toffee in France, or I haven’t discovered it. France has a lot of beautiful, artisanal chocolates and candies that make great dinner party gifts but don’t excite me beyond that. I’ve been craving English toffee for the last 3 months. That’s why I, no candy/cookie/cake maker, decided to make my own. I had to buy a candy thermometer. I bought the almonds with that brown skin on them and had to de-skin and sliver them before roasting and chopping. I looked for almond slivers (hello?!) but they only had thin slices or whole. I live in a small town, practically a village, but I chose it and there it is. Still, I was slightly annoyed.
The candy making was sort of fascinating and interesting; if I hadn’t have been so nervous about it, I would have taken more pictures of the process but I lacked confidence in the outcome. The “hard crack” stage was an intimidating definition. However, the toffee turned out beautifully with that heavy butter taste and mega almond crunch. I will probably make it again but will ask my husband to bring several family sized bags of almond slivers from Costco when he goes to the States. They can sit in the freezer with the pecans, pine nuts and walnuts.
English Toffee http://www.joyofbaking.com/
2 cups slivered almonds
1 1/2 cups good, unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
3 tbsp light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla
6 ounces chocolate chips
Toast the almonds for about 10 minutes in a 350 degree F oven, then coarsely chop 1 cup. Finely chop the other cup in a food processor.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan, then stir in the sugar, water and corn syrup. When the mixture boils, stop stirring and cook until the syrup reaches 300 degrees F.
Remove the pan from the flame and stir in the vanilla and coarsely chopped almonds. Pour onto a buttered baking sheet and spread evenly. Sprinkle with the chocolate chips, wait a few minutes, then spread the melted chocolate over the toffee, then sprinkle with the finely chopped almonds.