My family, friends and coworkers have received this as a gift from me for years. It’s another great excuse to use my Granny’s cast iron skillet and a wonderful, easy, and impressive bit of holiday extravagance. By extravagance, I mean this is NOT a low-fat or low-calorie item. That’s why we break it into little pieces and just have a bite or two at a time. Gift it, and encourage people to savor it one bite at a time.
1 pound butter
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup blanched almonds, toasted and chopped into small pieces
Things you will need: a large cast iron skillet, a 10 x 15 inch baking sheet, parchment paper, wooden spoon, candy thermometer
It’s important that you have all of your ingredients and your equipment ready when you begin. This process moves pretty quickly and you won’t have enough hands to stop unwrap, measure, etc., as you work on the toffee.
Start by lining the baking sheet with the parchment paper and set aside.
Melt the butter in the cast iron skillet over medium heat. When it’s mostly melted, add the sugar and salt and stir to combine. Using your wooden spoon, continue to stir to keep the mixture moving. The toffee will begin to bubble and will start to change color as you stir it. Keep going! You’ll want the mixture to darken to a deep golden brown. It should reach about 300 degrees on your candy thermometer. Remove from heat and mix in the vanilla.
Immediately pour the candy mixture into the pan lined with parchment paper. Spread it until it is fairly evenly distributed. It doesn’t have to reach all edges of the pan. It will begin to set-up quickly so your window of time to spread it is very brief.
Allow it to cool for about 3-5 minutes and then sprinkle with the semi-sweet chocolate chips. Let the chocolates sit for a minute until they begin to melt a bit. Using an offset spatula, spread the melting chocolate evenly over the top of the warm toffee base. Immediately sprinkle with the chopped almonds. (I like to do this with my hands, crushing the almonds slightly as I sprinkle them.) It helps if you carefully press the nuts into the melted chocolate so they adhere well.
This needs to cool completely, at least 6 hours or overnight. I put it in the refrigerator once the pan cools. Break the toffee into small pieces and store in an airtight container.