I haven’t had a Saturday to myself in a while, and having realised that this one was free I planned to do some baking. Inspired by a gift of some chocolate covered toffee from Vermont I had found this recipe but stored it away until now.
A quick run around the block to get some supplies and I was up and running. All kitchen experimenting goes smother when you have all your ingredients weighed out and ready although in this case the process can be a little off-putting. The only thing to do when making these kind of things is to just ignore the actual ingredients, think not calories but happiness. Sugar and joy have good exchange rates.
The tricky part of this recipe is to not over cook the sugar, but it is one of those things that goes from ready to burnt in seconds. With experience you can probably do without a thermometer as your eyes and nose become the best guide, even with my new candy thermometer I took it slightly too far. Oh and it would have helped had I read the instructions explaining that the temperature sensor is not at the tip but two inches up. This miscalculation was all it took to over cook the sugar mixture. Fortunately dipping the whole lot in chocolate did just enough to balance out any bitterness and made for a decent first attempt.
225 g toasted almonds or hazelnuts, chopped between ‘fine’ and ‘coarse’
2 tablespoons water 1
115 g unsalted butter, cut into pieces
a nice, big pinch of salt
200 g granulated sugar
50 g packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
140 g bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1. Lightly oil a baking sheet with an unflavored vegetable oil.
2. Sprinkle half the nuts into a rectangle about 8″ x 10″ (20 x 25 cm) on the baking sheet.
3. In a medium heavy-duty saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer, heat the water, butter, salt, and both sugars. Cook, stirring as little as possible, until the thermometer reads 300 F degrees. Have the vanilla and baking soda handy.
4. Immediately remove from heat and stir in the baking soda and vanilla.
5. Quickly pour the mixture over the nuts on the baking sheet. Try to pour the mixture so it forms a relatively even layer. (If necessary, gently but quickly spread with a spatula, but don’t overwork it.)
5. Strew the chocolate pieces over the top and let stand 2 minutes, then spread in an even layer.