Yesterday, I had to deal with a worker person in my house. I’m very particular with worker people being in my house. It’s not worker people, in general, that I have a problem with…they are, in all the instances I’ve worked with them, hard working, honest, friendly, and kind. Usually, they tend to be a tad fatherly or grandfatherly.
But, you know, there tends to be the off chance that you’re welcoming a vampire or axe murderer into your home. You never know.
I still don’t actually invite them in. I mean, vampires can’t enter your home without an invite (creepy stalker Meyer vampires, notwithstanding), so if they can walk right in without an implicit invite, then at least I know I won’t be drained of all my blood.
Yesterday, I was certain that a vampire had descended upon our home at last.
It was a young man, dressed quite nicely. I suspected immediately that this was a Meyers breed of vampire (obviously they still prefer the Pacific Northwest), because he came right in, no invite necessary, and he was wearing skinny jeans and a blazer over a schmancy hooded sweater.
Who does manual labor dressed like that? The Edward Cullens of the world, that’s who.
Being the classy, smooth talker that I am, I blurted out, “You don’t look like a handy person.”
Truly, my awkwardness knows no bounds.
Well, he was all, “Yeah, I know.” Hm. In keeping with a Meyers vampire, he was arrogant.
But then he proved once and for all that he was no vampire.
He said, “I work with this one man, and he wears his pants, like, up to his chest. I could never dress like that. I mean, but, he’s, like, old, though, so I guess I get it. I mean, he’s, like, 40.”
And so, the elusive Meyers vampire remains a myth, thank goodness.
He actually called 40 old, though.
I needed comfort, and since that requires chocolate, I made buttercrunch toffee. Obviously.
Alright, so this toffee is very basic and easy to make. It’s just a matter of combining the ingredients, boiling them, and pouring the whole mixture into a parchment or Silpat mat lined pan. I like to warm my pan slightly in the oven, so that when I pour the hot candy in, it stays soft a little longer, allowing me to spread it evenly and easily.
Once the toffee is spread evenly, I add the chocolate on top by sprinkling chocolate chips on top, and allowing them to sit for five minutes.
I prefer to use semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate with my toffee, because the darker flavor compliments the sweet toffee perfectly.
Whike the chocolate is still soft, sprinkle two to four tablespoons some chocolate covered cocoa nibs over the candy.
the Hubster and I preferred slightly less cocoa nibs, while the kiddo like more.
Next, evenly distribute chopped almonds over the toffee. I prefer to to use finely chopped, roasted nuts; I love the look of the fine pieces of golden almonds, but I also think that they offer the best flavor and texture this way. Roasting them adds a nice crispness to the texture, and the almonds have a light and lovely toasty flavor.
Now all you have to do is wait…
…until the toffee is cooled, and the chocolate has hardened. Then, all you have to do is break the candy up into pieces. This is a very precise process. After each piece is broken, it’s essential that you taste test each small shard that falls away from the larger pieces. It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.
I prefer a thinner toffee, because I don’t like super crunchy foods, but if you want a thicker toffee, just double the candy recipe. It’s your call as to whether you want to double the chocolate or not. But I mean…why wouldn’t you? After all, it’s chocolate.
People are so often afraid of candy making for fear it’s very difficult, or because it takes all day, but truly, this is simpler than simple. It’s truly just mix, boil, spread, and top with goodies. Plus, this took less than 30 minutes to make, from the very beginning (chopping almonds) to the very end (placing the pan in a cool place to set up).
Now, it’s fast and easy sure, but how is it?
Well, my boys ate the entire batch after dinner, so I’m thinking pretty dang good applies here.
Cocoa Nib Almond Buttercrunch Toffee
Makes 1 9×13 pan
1/2 cup (1 stick or 113 grams) unsalted butter
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon (15 ml) water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons (about 1 ounce or 25 grams) chocolate covered cocoa nibs (or more, if desired)
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds, roasted (*directions below recipe)
Line a 9×13 pan or rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat mat; set aside.
In a small saucepan set over medium high heat, combine the butter, sugar, water, and salt. Stir until the butter is melted and the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches about 250 degrees (120 C) on a candy thermometer. Continue boiling, stirring gently (be sure to get in the corners of the pan), until the mixture reaches 298 degrees (about 150 C).
Remove the mixture from the heat and pour onto the pan. If necessary, use an offset or heatproof spatula to spread the candy evenly.
Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the hot toffee and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Spread the now soft chocolate over the top of the toffee using an offset spatula. Before the chocolate sets, sprinkle the cocoa nibs and chopped almonds evenly over the top of the candy.
Allow to cool and set completely before cutting or breaking into pieces and serving.
*To roast the almonds, preheat the oven to 350 degrees (180 C). Spread the finely chopped almonds even over a rimmed baking sheet, and toast in the oven for 6 to 8 minutes, until lightly golden and fragrant.
Recipe by Darla