With the sound of snowplows serenading me as I arose from my slumber this morning, I realized my first meal of the day should be something a little bit more than the usual. I knew that I wasn’t going to be trekking up and down a snowy, and likely unplowed, hill to go to the bagel place. After being called on doing it by my sister, I now get the guilts if I even think about trying to get them to deliver my breakfast to me.
This is what happens when you read too many seasonal magazines and blogs. You end up succumbing to the “I must bake during the holidays” syndrome. My work team is doing its annual gift swap on Friday. So, I asked a few folks to contribute something sweet to the gathering. Of course, I had to chip in and make something as well, as the resident baker in the group. I’m not sure why it occurred to me to dig out the recipe card for Almond Butter Crunch (or Almond Toffee, as I like to call it now) to attempt to recreate it. I have vivid memories of my mother whipping up batches of this candy when I was in my teen years, but I haven’t even thought about it since then.
She had a phase during the early 1980s where she bought Almond Roca, which seemed so elegant at the time, as we didn’t generally have store-bought candy at home. Then, for some reason, she decided to try to make it herself, or at least a version thereof. I remember watching her put it together. From my fuzzy memory, it seemed simple enough that I could try it myself. Armed with a candy thermometer, wooden spoon, and all the ingredients, I set about to do just that.
In trying to make this on my own for the first time, I discovered a few key points. One is that the baking sheet on which the molten mixture is poured must be greased liberally to keep the candy from sticking. I also decided not to use waxed paper or parchment paper on the tray for the initial candy-cooling phase. After re-reading my mother’s recipe card, I worked out, as well, that the Cadbury chocolate she used was probably too sweet for my tastes. Like many of the recipes that I’ve posted here, I tweaked this one, and I’ll probably fiddle with it some more before I think I have it exactly right. Still, I have a feeling that this candy will be well-received when everyone opens their presents on Friday.
The Candymaking Steps:
In large saucepan, melt butter. Add sugar, corn syrup or simple syrup, and water. Cook on low heat. Stir once or twice to make sure the sugar is all melted and then leave it alone to let time and heat do its work. Bring up to a boil and watch carefully as it changes color. Do not walk away from the stove, as the candy will go from golden brown to burnt in a matter of mere minutes.When the mixture reaches the Hard Crack stage, about 300-310 degrees Fahrenheit, turn off the heat and add the slivered almonds. Stir once or twice to mix the almonds into the candy.
As fast as you can, pour entire mixture onto buttered baking sheet and quickly shake/tilt the tray to distribute candy evenly. This step must be done in a matter of seconds before the mixture starts to solidify. Let the candy cool until hardened.