During the month of December my house becomes a toffee factory. This is my mom’s recipe – she started this tradition. Some have said that toffee is “finicky” but I prefer to think of it as superstitious. I always use the same pot, same spatula, same brand of butter, etc. Just keep trying until you find the magic and don’t mess around.
- 1 lb. salted butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- about 2 cups chocolate chips
- about 2 cups chopped walnuts
Very lightly grease a large rimmed baking sheet. Place a candy thermometer at the ready, or if you don’t have one, get a small glass of ice water and put it within reach.
In a medium dutch oven (or heavy-bottomed saucepan) combine butter, sugar and sliced almonds over medium-low heat. With a heat-resistant spatula, stir gently – making sure not to have rogue grains of sugar working up the side of the pan or spatula itself. Wipe them down or rinse off the spatula if it looks dicey. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly in a figure eight motion – pretty much leave the sides of the pan alone.
After the butter and sugar melt together, you may attach the candy thermometer to the side of the pot. Keep stirring constantly until the toffee reaches 285 degrees – it can go to 300 without burning, so don’t pull it off too soon. If you don’t have a thermometer, when the toffee looks dark golden brown (it may take 30 minutes, depending on the size of your pot), drop a little tiny bit into the glass of ice water, let it cool for a minute, then fish it out and test it between your front teeth. If it breaks cleanly, it is good to go. If it is still a little sticky/tacky, let it cook longer and try again.
Carefully and quickly, pour the toffee onto the prepared baking sheet. Smooth with an offset spatula (or just lift up the pan and rotate it around until the toffee fills in everywhere). Let sit for 5 minutes. Sprinkle generously with chocolate chips. Let sit 5 more minutes to let the chocolate melt. Smooth the chocolate over the toffee with an offset spatula and immediately sprinkle generously with chopped walnuts.
Let cool completely. Turn toffee over onto a flat surface and remove it from the pan by pressing down on the overturned baking sheet. Smack it with a metal spoon or spatula or something to break it into irregular pieces. Try not to eat an entire pound while you are packaging it up for others.