Salted Chocolate-Almond Buttercrunch Toffee

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This recipe makes a salted toffee, studded with toasted almonds, and then coated in chocolate, sprinkled with a light coating of fleur de sel and/or ground cocoa nibs, with more toasted almonds sprinkled on top. I met David Lebovitz a long time ago,  and I have adapted this recipe from him. About this particular one he writes: "I like to add a sprinkle of fleur de sel, French salt, which gives it a pleasant salty edge...A few cocoa nibs, available from ScharffenBerger and Dagoba Brands, are really good too. They add a good crackly crunch of chocolate."

2 cups (8 ounces) chopped and toasted almonds or hazelnuts; measure, chop and then toast 

1/2 cup (1 stick) salted or unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons water
pinch of salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped, or 1 cup chocolate chips

optional: Fleur de sel (or any coarse salt) and/or Ground cocoa nibs 

1. Lightly grease a baking sheet with rims, with vegetable oil, preferably canola or grapeseed oil because it imparts no flavor.

2. Sprinkle 1 cup nuts into a rectangle about 8- x 10-inches on the baking sheet.

3. In a medium heavy-duty saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer, over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the sugar, brown sugar, water, and the salt, and stir until the brown sugar dissolves.

4. Then cook under medium-high heat, stirring as little as possible, until the thermometer reads 300 F degrees. Have the baking soda and vanilla handy.

5. Immediately remove the pot from the heat and stir in the baking soda and vanilla. Hold the pan at arm's length as the mixture will steam and bubble up in the pan.

6. Quickly pour the mixture as evenly as possible over the nuts on the baking sheet. Once or twice, gently but quickly spread with a large metal icing spatula.

7. Sprinkle the chocolate pieces evenly over the top and let stand 2 minutes. With a large metal icing spatula, make sure its spread in an even layer.

8. If using, sprinkle with a small handful of fleur de sel and/or cocoa nibs.

9. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup nuts over the chocolate and gently press them in with your hands. Be careful - the candy will still be hot.

Cool completely and break into pieces. Serve. 

Store for up to 10 days in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

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