"Somehow not only at Christmas but all the long year through, the joy that you give to others is the joy that comes back to you."- John Greenleaf Whittier
I can tell you , if you start by making and sharing this Christmas Crack, otherwise known as Chocolate- Covered Almond Toffee, you will have giving joy to others well under way. This is a very easy confection to make for gift giving. Sometimes candy making can be problematic and depends on having a candy thermometer for cooking a syrup just so. Not this recipe, it is easy peasy and you probably have most of the ingredients already on hand. In our family this doesn't last very long (thus the moniker Christmas Crack because it is so addicting) so I usually need to make several batches. If you have a 3 qt. saucepan, you can easily double the recipe. Otherwise be prepared to make one batch at a time. You are going to want to add this recipe to your repertoire for making every year, I'm sure of it!
1 cup (2 sticks) COLD unsalted butter, cubed
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 ounces semi- or bitter-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 cup dry roasted, lightly salted almonds, coarsely chopped
1. Line a half sheet pan with 1 " sides with parchment paper; set aside.
2. In a 2 qt. heavy-bottomed sauce pan, place butter, sugar, salt and vanilla.
3. Over medium high heat, cook butter mixture, whisking constantly, until butter is melted and mixture is smooth.
4. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until mixture is almond brown in color. The mixture will go through various stages, even looking at one point curdled and broken. Keep whisking, it will soon come together and smooth back out again and is develops the rich deep color you are after. See photos:
Just coming to a boil then starting to get foamy and thick.
Here it is broken, Keep whisking until it smooths out and takes on the rich color as in the picture above right.
5. Once mixture is smooth and the proper color is reached, immediately pour toffee mixture onto parchment-lined backing sheet. BE CAREFUL-mixture is crazy hot- pan will absorb heat and become very hot too. Use caution and oven mitts!
6. As mixture sets and cools for a minute or two, take a metal fork and draw lines all over the surface of the toffee. I do this to help the chocolate adhere better, giving it grooves to sink down into.
7. Let toffee set 4-5 minutes. Sprinkle chocolate over top of toffee and let sit for a minute or two.
8. With an off-set spatula, spread chocolate evenly over top of toffee.
9. Sprinkle almonds evenly over chocolate and place in freezer (or if its wintery where you are, on the front porch or in the garage will do) for 5 minutes or so until chocolate has set. Remember pan may still be hot, so use care!
10. Once toffee has completely cooled, break into chunks. Store in a cool dry place until ready to eat or give as a gift.
I can't resist it. Can you?