Mom used a vodka bottle to roll out pie crust. When frustrated, she heaved the gloop against the wall, banked it into the trash and called Svens Danish Bakery. She taught me everything I know. And…I learned how to use four letter words, not how to make pie. As for Dad, the only time he made fudge was after knocking down three martoonis when his sense of competence was falsely inflated. I’d be dispatched to the Shopping Bag in his Buick the size of Nebraska, to fetch the ingredients and we’d be up until midnight boiling, stirring, pouring and waiting for the magical confection to appear. It never really did.
So I guess it’s fair to say that my DNA did not include the talent for baking or making candy.
Until I met my friend Susan, who drove a Roadrunner and could weave a silk gown out of M&M wrappers if needed. Her skills as a maker-of-anything, edible or not, were astonishing. From her Croquembouche to the Buche de Noel to her Gingerbread Sleigh, she made Martha Stewart look like Elmer Fudd. And, with her encouragement and the reality that I had 40 gifts to give and no money, I decided to learn. To make candy.
So I wandered into the world of Marlene Sorosky who created this recipe for boneheads with no moolah. Eminently qualified, I found that if I followed the directions, I could really make it. I didn’t even need to have three martini’s or a bottle of Stoli in my cupboard either(although it doesn’t hurt.)
This Chocolate Almond Toffee recipe is truly doofusproof. You just need a candy thermometer and be able to read and follow the directions. Important - follow the directions. Especially if you’ve had a couple of martoonis.
Marlene Sorosky’s Chocolate Almond Toffee
½ pound or 2 sticks unsalted butter
½ pound or 2 sticks margarine
2 cups sugar
6 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 pound milk or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 cups chopped almonds, toasted at 325 for about 10-15 minutes
Line a large baking pan with parchment paper. Lightly grease the paper. In a heavy 4-quart saucepan, combine butter, margarine, sugar, water, and corn syrup.
Bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally. Insert a candy thermometer and boil over moderately high heat until the thermometer reaches 300 or syrup reaches the hard crack stage.
If the candy begins to turn dark around the sides of the pan, lower the heat. After the candy reaches 250, it will be necessary to stir it often to prevent the bottom from scorching. Immediately pour the toffee on to the parchment paper. I like thin toffee…up to you.
When candy is cool and firm, met the chocolate in a double boiler over hot water and spread half of it on one side of toffee.
Sprinkle with half of the almonds, press lightly into the chocolate (we have fussy family members who don’t like nuts, so I leave half the slab plain.)
I usually place the toffee in the refrigerator for 30 minutes at this point, until the chocolate hardens. To flip in order to coat the other side, I cover the toffee with another piece of parchment paper, place another cookie sheet on top, grab both cookie sheets carefully with the toffee in between and quickly flip. Voila. Peel off the parchment and coat the other side with the remaining chocolate. Press in almonds.
Cool in frig for another 30 minutes until the chocolate hardens. Break into pieces by inserting the tip of a knife at the points where you want the candy to break. Store in airtight containers or tins. Maybe be stored refrigerated for up to 3 months.