I can’t remember a Christmas of late that hasn’t included chocolate toffee. It started when I was first married. Eager to prove I was a grown up and a successful entertainer. When my parents agreed to come to Delaware to spend Christmas with us I went nuts. I am sure I made fifty kinds of cookies, fudge, bars, candy, you name it. So much so that my dad and his sweet tooth were overwhelmed. Normally a very sensible man, he was mesmerized by so much confection . . . he ate it all. He liked to tell people that he was not a real “sweets person” but those of us who knew him knew better. A trip to the ER with stomach pains inspired us to give lots of treats to neighbors, friends, homeless people, etc.
I have calmed down a bit after that year but one thing that never goes off the list is my homemade chocolate toffee with almonds and pecans. It took a few years to perfect it. The toffee was too grainy. The chocolate didn’t harden. Nuts were not delicious (toasted nuts are much better). Now after about 35 years later I think I have it down pat. Just don’t eat it all in one setting.
The hardest part of this recipe is the patience and getting use to watching the different stages of toffee. Is it ever going to get the amber color? Is it suppose to get this thick? Why does it separating? Be patient. I tried to include some pictures of the stages the confection will go through. Literally times no time at all to complete.
OMG CHOCOLATE TOFFEE
1 1/4 c. unsalted butter
1 1/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
pinch of kosher salt
2 c. semisweet mini chocolate chips (if all you have is regular chips that is fine)
1/2 c. toasted chopped almonds
1/2 c. toasted chopped pecans
Sea Salt to top
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toast and chop your nuts. By the way you can sub almonds and pecans for other nuts, but why would you?
In a heavy duty saucepan over medium heat, melt butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Stirring constantly with a wood spoon. Continue cooking after the butter melts. You will go through several stages of color and texture. The continuous stirring keeps the butter and sugar from separating.
Let butter melt and then cook, stirring constantly with a spatula (so the butter and sugar don’t separate!), until mixture turns a dark amber, 15 to 20 minutes, maybe even more. If it takes longer than this you may not you may not have the heat hig enough so turn it up and keep stirring. Always stirring. Some prefer to use a candy thermometer to determine whether it is done. If so you should shoot for 288 degrees or the hard crack stage.) This mixture should be amber in color.
Pour toffee mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and immediately spread out the chocolate chips evenly on top of the toffee mixture. Let it set a minute to melt and using a spatula spread the melted chips evenly over the toffee mixture.
Sprinkle the nuts evenly over the top. Lightly press down on the toffee with your hand to embed the nuts. Top with sea salt. I like the flaky kind.
Refrigerate until set, about 2 or so hours. Then cut or break into pieces.
Hint: I store the leftover crumbles, from the breaking and cutting in a container to serve over ice cream.