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Almond Toffee Revisited

by on October 27, 2009 · 92 comments

If you lived close by, we could meet at your house, pull out all the gear, arrange the ingredients and walk through this recipe together. I’d guide you every step of the way and after one try – or maybe two, because after 24 years of making this toffee I still screw it up sometimes, you’ll be master of the toffee making universe. You think I’m joking now, but when you taste this you’ll understand.

Reality is, I can’t be in your kitchen with you in person and you might not want me there anyway, so I’ve done my best to share the recipe with you here and hope you go on to winning state fairs and office cook-offs like others who have learned to make this recipe.

Here we go. Rather than re-write the whole post, I’ve simply updated my lesson from October 2006 so that the comments from the prior post will still be available.

— Anna, October 2009

——————————————————————————————-
Now that the holiday season is here, I feel it’s time to bump up a really good almond toffee recipe. I’ve played with the recipe over the years and feel it’s finally perfect, though you can still swap out almonds for pecans or try different brands of chocolate.

What’s funny about this recipe. Or maybe not-so-funny, but definitely interesting, is that some people can’t make this no matter how hard they try while others have made it perfectly (using the directions below) and have won state fairs. Most of the people who master this most-excellent toffee end up making it year after year because friends and family start begging for it at holidays and birthdays. I am not kidding.

Please give it a try, and don’t feel too bad if your first batch doesn’t work out. You’ll know you’ve failed if it never sets and the toffee is chewy. The toffee should be thick, yet very crispy and kind of light. And of course, it should have a very strong butter and almond flavor.

Some tips. Forget the “attach-to-the-pan” kind of candy thermometer and get a deep fry one like this. If you have a fancy digital candy thermometer, that might work too. However, part of making this recipe is watching the mercury steadily rise and I’m not sure the most recent digital thermometers let you do that. Or maybe they do. I’ve grown attached to my deep fry thermometer and like that I can rest it on the bottom of the pan.

Sliced almonds look like this.

sliced almonds.gif

For years, I topped the candy with Cadbury milk chocolate and it kind of became the signature flavor. However, I’ve started changing up the chocolate quite a bit, sometimes using white, dark, or both. I’ve been known to sprinkle chocolate covered espresso beans on top as well.

A good way to pack this is in little cellophane twist-tie bags or of course, Paper Mart’s (see packaging ideas section) tin-tie bags.

The finished candy should look something like this, though sometimes it’s lighter in color. I think different brands of butter yield different results, but I haven’t experimented enough to give you a definite reason. I’m usually so swamped with toffee requests I don’t have time to be that methodical, and by the time the holidays are over, I’m tired of making toffee and can’t deal with it until the next holiday season.

almondrocaforblog.jpg

The recipe below is a fairly small batch. Once you master this size, you might want to double it and use a larger pot.

High altitude? Check out the note at the bottom.

deepfry.jpg

Almond Toffee Revisited
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Best-Ever Almond Toffee
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds, divided use
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter -- 1/2 pound (salted works too)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 8 ounces good quality dark or milk chocolate, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread about 1/2 cup of the almonds on a non-stick cookie sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes or until toasted and aromatic. Set aside.
  2. Line a 13x9 or 15x10 inch pan with parchment paper and set next to stove.
  3. Place butter in a heavy bottom, medium sized (3 qt) saucepan and melt over medium heat. When butter is mostly melted, stir in sugar, warm water and salt. Set a deep fry thermometer in pan, being careful that bulb is not touching bottom of pan. Cook mixture over medium heat, stirring once in a while, until mixture reaches 240 degrees F.
  4. At 240 degrees, add the remaining 1 cup sliced almonds to sugar mixture. After adding almonds,
  5. stir constantly
  6. , keeping heat at medium, until mixture reaches 295 degrees F. If temperature is not rising at a slow and steady rate,
  7. raise heat a tiny bit until mercury starts rising
  8. When mixture reaches 290 (make sure it's no less than 290 and no more than 295 degrees F), immediately remove from heat and
  9. stir in baking soda
  10. It will bubble up and lighten a bit and seem almost fluffy. Pour into parchment lined pan. The mixture should be kind of a liquid blob at hit point and if you are on track, the saucepan will be clean when you dump the blob of candy onto the parchment. Mixture will begin to firm, and butter
  11. may
  12. pool and separate. Do not pour off any excess butter. Do not panic, because if you cooked the toffee to between 290 and 295, your candy should set. Sometimes it just takes longer.
  13. While candy is still very hot and in the process of setting, scatter chopped chocolate across top of hot and let chocolate melt into and over the candy as candy firms. Using back of a spoon, spread melted chocolate evenly over candy. Crush your toasted almonds and sprinkle over melted chocolate. Let candy cool for a 1/2 hour or more at room temperature. Transfer to refrigerator and chill for about 1 hour to firm chocolate.
  14. When chocolate is set is set, lift candy from pan by grasping parchment. Break candy into large chunks.

High Altitude — note from Steve.

I finally had some time today to try the almond toffee recipe. I
experimented with the first batch I made and followed your recipe. I pulled
the mixture at 295 degrees and the heat carryover pushed it a bit over 300
degrees. It came out fine. It was so tasty I made another batch right away.
So if any other readers are wondering about adjustments for high altitude
for this recipe, I wouldn’t recommend any. It is an easy recipe to follow
and very delicious. I am adding this to my MUST make recipes for Christmas
gifts………Steve

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Published on October 27, 2009

{ 92 comments… read them below or add one }

Anna November 25, 2008 at 4:10 pm

Liz, that’s great! Also, your friends are different than mine. When I serve that toffee, they try to pay me to make it FOR them. I wish they’d just follow the recipe ;).

This one does take a little bit of candy or at least chemistry skill, though. It’s not exactly fool-proof.

Andrea December 1, 2008 at 4:54 pm

Let me start by saying that I am an absolute candy-making beginner, but I very much look forward to trying out this recipe! Question – I have only used parchment for pizza making, in which case I first put a little oil on the bottom of the pan and then put the parchment lining on…it helps the parchment stick. Should I do that here or just put the parchment directly in as a lining? Do you normally use more than one piece of parchment? Thanks for your help!

Mo December 8, 2008 at 4:41 pm

HEY!!! thanks!! I just made it and it was great! thanks for all the details! I almost passsed out when I saw the butter separating but I am glad you had said it did not matter! THANK YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!

Judy December 23, 2008 at 8:47 am

I was actually looking for a recipe for whole almonds, covered with toffee. I want to use them to decorate a cake. Whenever I’ve made it, I just make toffee (just sugar and a bit of water) and put the almonds in it once it becomes caramel, but it often cristalises. I think the butter would help, and making the toffee while I was at it would be a good idea. Do you think it would work with the whole almonds?

Anna December 23, 2008 at 8:59 am

Yikes, sorry I’m slow in answering these comments. Andrea, you’ve probably figured it out by now. You can do it whatever way you want. I tend to lay the parchment on the surface without putting anything under it to make it stick.

Mo, I’m glad you didn’t pass out. But next time if you pass out, you can use Baker’s Ammonia to revive yourself. Did you know Baker’s Ammonia was the same as smelling salt?

Judy, I don’t think it would work. I recommend making a batch as directed first. You’ll see what I mean. I think the almonds would be covered with big chunks of toffee and wouldn’t look like whole almonds but rather almonds suspended in blobs of candy. But maybe you could make it as directed then figure out a way to get the result you want.

Andrea December 27, 2008 at 12:55 am

Anna: I did figure it out (no oil), but thanks anyway for the response! I am now on my third batch and it has come out really well each time…this time I forgot the baking soda – drat! I’m hoping it sets okay. Thank you so much for your stellar instructions! The only thing I did differently the 2nd & 3rd time (besides forgetting the b soda) was melt half the chocolate/toasted almond mixture on top, chilled it, then turned it over and put the other half of the chocolate/almond mixture (melted the chocolate first) on the other half. So it has chocolate on both sides (a little more like almond rocca). Thanks again! This is definitely a hit with my friends and family!!

Anna December 27, 2008 at 8:16 am

Hi Andrea,

I’m glad to hear things worked out. Let me know what happens with the non-baking soda version. My guess is it’s going to be a little harder and stickier but that it will set. I love the idea of putting chocolate on both sides!

Graciela January 28, 2009 at 3:49 pm

Anna –

This was my first time making candy of any type, and it came out absolutely fabulous! I completely agree with you about the need for a deep fryer thermometer. I have a cheap version from a large chain store and while it did do the job, it was difficult to get stuff done one-handed (which resulted in a couple fingers getting burned around 240 F :( – not recommended!). I’ll be heading out to get a deep fryer model as soon as the snow breaks out here in CT. Even with burned fingers and a handicapped chef, this recipe still performed! Thanks so much for sharing. :)

Anna January 28, 2009 at 4:07 pm

Hi Graciela,

Hooray! You made a perfect batch your first time. You must have a talent for candy making. I think you will like your new deep fry thermometer. You’ll still have to do a little stirring, but it’s longer and has a special handle so you are less likely to burn yourself. Sorry about the burn. Does anyone know of any good burn remedies besides aloe vera gel?

Graciela January 28, 2009 at 7:01 pm

Hi Anna,

Thanks for the positive feedback. :D Truth be told I’ve always loved the idea of candy making – especially those sugar concoctions that you see on the Food Network. With this recipe it was easy to succeed on the first try because of the great directions! In terms of burn remedies – I just grabbed a bag of frozen peas and held it on the burn for about an hour. It’s stopped hurting, so it’s all good. Besides good things in life are worth working hard for! :)

janet October 27, 2009 at 5:54 pm

I have made YOUR recipe numerous times and have been lucky to be successfully each time. It is, without a doubt, the BEST EVER TOFFEE!!! Thank you for refining it and explaining it in great detail for us to succeed!

Sue October 27, 2009 at 7:59 pm

I’ve also made this several times, always to rave reviews. Funny you should re-post it now. A friend that I gave some to last year brought it up this weekend. She is clearly hoping for more this year. I guess she’s planting the suggestion early in hopes that I come through at Christmas time this year.

Jan October 27, 2009 at 9:22 pm

Question Anna, if the butter does separate, what do you do with it? Nothing, blot it up, it goes away by itself??? I already have that exact same thermometer, so I want to try this. My stove is electric tho, does that get hot enough?

Anna October 27, 2009 at 9:30 pm

Jan, I’ve only had that happen once or twice and I think I just ignored it.

Fallon October 28, 2009 at 1:04 am

I’m going to have to try this. I’m in the mood for some homemade toffee! Thanks for sharing this again.

sherri October 28, 2009 at 5:07 am

Looks wonderful. I love toffee.

Heidi October 28, 2009 at 7:33 am

I started making toffee when I first saw David Lebovitz’s post. You would think people had never eaten toffee before! Even when it doesn’t come out perfect people still devour it. I usually cut corners and use sliced almonds and good quality chocolate chips instead of chopped almonds and chocolate. I also do mine on a Silpat.

I also started giving a good sprinkling of sea salt over the chocolate – mmmm!

Chris Mower October 28, 2009 at 8:45 am

This recipe is very similar to the one I make every year around the holidays. SOOO good. I’m a candy-making addict in the Fall; it’s something I’ve been doing since I was a kid. I love it. Toffee is pretty sensitive stuff, it’s amazing how some years it can turn out perfect and other years not so much. I’ve seen people make this without toasting the almonds,which is unfortunate since toasting them gives totally increases the flavor. Mmmm mmmm.

Anna October 28, 2009 at 8:56 am

Chris, I know what you mean about toastin the almonds. When I started making this as a teenager, I didn’t think to toast the almonds. When I finally saw the light and started doing that, it made the toffee better.

Heidi, I took a look at the toffee you recommended and will try it at some point.

beth October 28, 2009 at 12:17 pm

This recipe rocks. Every time I add some of this toffee to my holiday cookie tray, it’s always the toffee that gets the raves. Thanks Anna. This might be my all time favorite recipe in the world!

beth

Anne October 29, 2009 at 4:49 pm

My toffee recipe calls for the mixture to reach 300-305 degrees (hard crack). I have never had a problem with my toffee not setting up nor being chewy.

carrie October 30, 2009 at 9:16 am

Can I make ahead and freeze?

Lucyinaz November 1, 2009 at 5:54 pm

Hi Anna, I have a toffee recipe that I’ve been using for years & last night while trick or treating, I was reminded by a neighbor that it’s “toffee season”. So this morning I decided to try out your recipe…OMG, it’s great and definetely lighter/crispier than my recipe. I’m switching to yours so compliments to you and many thanks for yet another fantastic recipe!!!

Shoshana November 2, 2009 at 2:48 pm

This looks great, I can’t wait to try it. I just made another toffee recipe last night and the butter did pool and separate leaving me with a greasy mess of unappetizing overly greasy toffee. What do you mean when you say not to worry? Does the butter reintegrate in this recipe or do you just scrape of the puddles of butter an use the candy part? Thanks for your help, I like the addition of baking soda in yours for texture and look forward to trying it.

Anna November 2, 2009 at 3:06 pm

Lucy, thanks! That’s so great.

Shoshana, butter separation hasn’t happened to me very often, but on those occassions when it did, it wasn’t enough to be a problem. Whatever leaked out just got poured off or evaporated. It happens so seldom to me that I haven’t really worried about the problem

In doing a little research, some people blame separation on humidity. It wouldn’t hurt to try to make the toffee in a cool kitchen. More importantly, bring the butter, sugar, water mixture to a boil a little more slowly and make sure not to stir until it hits 240. Since you’ve had issues with separation already at whatever “medium “heat you are using, try bringing the butter, sugar, water mixture to a boil at slightly lower heat. The temp should rise slowly and steadily. It sounds like it’s rising too quickly.

You don’t start stirring until exactly 240 F.

Shoshana November 2, 2009 at 9:09 pm

Thanks for the help, I will try it again (with your recipe this time) when it stops raining.

Arizona Toffee November 5, 2009 at 1:23 pm

Hello Shoshana,

The separation is due to not enough heat to the pan. Here are a few tips:
– If you are using a gas stove increase to just above medium.
– If you are using electric get it as hot as you can but not hot enough to schorch the bottom of the pan.
– Don’t over stir
– Make sure not to have any room fans blowing in the direction of your pan

Even if it does start to separate not all is lost:
Just increase the heat a little and slow down your stirring and it will eventually come back… just be patient and give it time to come back together.

Good Luck… John

Anna November 5, 2009 at 1:42 pm

Well, there you go. Advice from a pro. It sounds like John is recommending the absolute opposite of what I just said about heat, so go with his advice.

Arizona Toffee November 5, 2009 at 2:06 pm

Trust me… I too have ruined a few pans of candy. :-)

kitty62 December 10, 2009 at 3:12 pm

Just made this today and it is GREAT!! I have made very little candy -type recipes but this worked. It took awhile to get up to the temperature required. Found I had to cook it close to the “high” setting on my gas stove. I got a little crazy when i put the chocolate on top. I used special dark chip and it work perfect, I just put too many on. My recommendation, make this great tasting toffee the star, too much chocolate just takes away from the taste. Thanks again for a great recipe that I wouldnt have normally made. Happy Holidays. Next….. that great sounding coconut cream pie recipe……..

LilSis December 18, 2009 at 10:03 am

I sure wish you lived close-by because I’m trying this for the first time today! (Fingers crossed.)

LilSis December 19, 2009 at 10:16 am

I thought since I left that comment yesterday, I should at least let you know how it turned out! I did it!!! It set perfectly so I’m really happy. I’m going to make another batch today. I started with the small batch and since it turned out fine, I’m thinking I’m going to double the batch today.

I did get a little nervous because the only candy thermometer I have is the kind that you don’t recommend, the one that attaches to the pan. I’ve never had a problem with it so I decided to roll with it. It seemed to take forever to raise about 220, but I hung in there and all was good!

Thanks for the great directions!

Camila Cánovas December 25, 2009 at 11:15 am

I tryed this recipe this christmas to make gifts (I´m from CHile, so my English is not so goog, but i´m an expert reading recipes). It was a hit!!!! As you said , now everybody want this toffee for their birthdays and holidays.
From my point of view, this recipe needs two persons working (in this case, my mom and me) because of the thermometer (some times the phone rang for example, hahaha).
A succesfull!!!! Thanks you very much! I would like to share me recipes to, but I don´t have time to update a blog (I use that time cooking).

Anonymous February 24, 2010 at 3:10 am

Hi Anna,

I am from Indonesia. Made my first batch yesterday and it was a huge success. And dozens batches after that, too. It is sooo.. good i decided to share it to neighbors and friends. Even my cooking teacher said that she never had anything that good (hers is still chewy.. he he). Now i have a long line of people asking me to make it for them.
Thanks so much for sharing Anna. You’re the best!

Sunny Grammy December 20, 2011 at 1:18 am

I make a similar toffee and I put whole almonds in one or two batches to make almond brittle. I like it better than the toffee with chocolate because “gasp” I am not a chocolate fan.

Just found your site……LOVE LOVE LOVE all the recipes

Gina December 20, 2011 at 1:43 am

Hey, Anna! Long time, no chat. I was thinking of you this weekend when I made a double batch of your fabulous toffee, as I often do at this time of year. But this time, I decided to mix it up a bit by using macadamia pieces in the toffee, and white chocolate and toasted coconut on top. Oh, and I stirred in a teaspoon of vanilla after the baking soda. YUM YUM YUM! Just thought I’d share…MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Shannon December 22, 2013 at 7:26 am

Thank you so much for this recipe, your instructions worked like a charm! My first time EVER making toffee and it came out perfectly.

Anna December 22, 2013 at 7:39 am

Shannon, I’m so glad to hear that! Enjoy it.

Amy December 27, 2013 at 7:29 am

Making this toffee for the third year in a row! Tried other recipes but your instructions are THE BEST and I always come back to this site! What else should I make?

Anna December 27, 2013 at 7:54 am

Hi Amy,
Thanks for the compliment! Honestly, it took me a while to get the instructions just right. When you’ve been making something for years and years, it’s easy to leave out details that you think are minor but maybe aren’t so obvious to others. Based on recent feedback, I think this one’s just about right! As for what else to make, I put all my favorites on a link at the top of the blog Favorite Recipes. If you want a more personalized list of recommendations, send me an email. I’d love to help.

Heather September 15, 2014 at 8:54 am

Hi Anna,

I love this toffee recipe. I want to make enough for the teachers at my son’s school. I was wondering if it’s possible to make ahead of time. Does it store well? How might you store it and for how long?

Anna September 15, 2014 at 9:32 am

Hi Heather,

It freezes perfectly! I’ve frozen it up to a couple of months, but I usually just freeze it for a week or so.

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