Almond Butter Crunch

In the winter, fresh crop almonds are plentiful at our farmers markets. Toffee makes a sweet holiday gift from your kitchen and is very easy to make!

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups raw almonds
1 1/2 cups butter (use fresh, flavorful butter)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 tablespoons tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
12 ounces semisweet or milk chocolate, chopped

METHOD:

Place almonds on a baking pan and bake at 350°F, stirring occasionally, until almond turn golden beneath skins, about 10-12 minutes. When cool, finely chop.

Melt butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan over low heat. Add sugar, corn syrup, salt and water and stir until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to medium high heat and continue cooking until mixture begins to boil. Wash down sides of pan with pastry brush and water to prevent sugar crystals. Continue to cook mixture over medium heat, stirring, until mixture is a deep golden brown and reaches 300°F (or hard crack stage) on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and half the chopped toasted almonds.

Immediately pour mixture into a well-buttered 10 x 15 inch rimmed baking pan. Allow toffee to cool until set, at least 30 minutes.

As the toffee cools, melt the chopped chocolate in the top of a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set over a few inches of hot (not simmering) water. Let chocolate stand, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth.

Pour chocolate over cooled toffee and spread evently with a knife or flexible offset spatula. Sprinkle remainder of almonds evenly over chocolate. Let toffee stand at room temperature until chocolate is completely cool and set, at least one hour. To remove toffee from pan, gently twist pan to release the toffee. Break into chunks and store in airtight container.

Toffee can be stored for two days at room temperature, or chilled airtight up to a month.