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Salted Chocolate English Toffee with Toasted Almonds

Salted Chocolate English Toffee with Toasted Almonds for a Homemade Father's Day Gift

by Barbara Kiebel on June 10, 2013

I’ve loved toffee since I can remember…I mean I actually remember when my mom would take me to the neighborhood ‘five and dime’ and all I wanted (and begged for) was a Heath bar. Every. Single. Time. True confessions? I took one once when she said no and put it in my pocket. I had no idea I was stealing from the store, I was only about 4; I just thought I was pulling one over on my mom. Ahem, didn’t work. Had to go back, apologize and return it. Saddest day of my young life. I’ve always given Heath Bars credit for my first cavity too…a testimony of my love affair that started decades ago that has never waned.

So when my friend Karen offered me a piece of toffee that she had received from Peyton, one of her pre-school students, as a year end teacher gift; I think I offered that she instead take the one piece and that I would gladly take the rest. OK, maybe not but I’m sure I thought it! Now…I’ve had and made a lot of toffee over the years but this one was still especially good. Was it the technique or the ingredients or just the mastery of that mom in the kitchen? Probably a bit of all three but I had to have the recipe!

Karen requested from Peyton’s mom Christa, my new hero of the moment, if she would mind sending me the recipe and she was quick to comply. I just knew something was different even before seeing the ingredients and I couldn’t wait to discover what it was. The toffee was a lighter color and yet had been cooked enough to harden; beyond that it just had a softer bite. Barely discernible but I just felt it wasn’t quite as rock hard as so many toffees are. I was delighted to get the recipe and discover the secret…a bit of cream is used in this recipe in addition to butter and sugar; that must have been it!

Salted Chocolate English Toffee with Toasted Almonds

Christa’s note was sweet; she was aware of ‘food blogging rules’ and even included in her email that the original recipe was from Sweet Confections: Beautiful Candy to Make at Home by Nina Wanat. Nina used to operate a very popular candy shop in Los Angeles call BonBonBar; while that store has now closed; I’m delighted to have experienced one of her confections and the book is in my Amazon shopping cart now…I want MORE!

I could say this toffee was devoured but I know myself; if up to my old ways; the same as that little girl I once was; I would have eaten the entire batch in one sitting. So…in an effort to protect myself from myself, I gave it to a friend who commented she only wished she had time to make some for her husband as a Father’s Day treat; now she has mine to give him and my hips are forever grateful!

As anyone who reads this blog might expect I had to switch it up a bit cause that’s what I do and if I say so myself the end result was pretty outstanding. The original recipe calls for plain toffee topped with chocolate and sliced almonds; stellar just as it was. BUT. I only had whole almonds in the house and after one recent experience trying to slice them in my Cuisinart (can you say ‘almond dust?’) I decided that my almond component would be in the form of putting chopped pieces into the candy. Toasted ones. Oh yeah.

The salted thing? Does everything have to be ‘salted this’ or ‘salted that?’ No, it does not. While I love just a touch of salt with chocolate and/or caramel, the truth is if you don’t have a good finishing salt, I highly recommend you avoid this step. Maldon salt flakes are less salty than table or kosher salt and they are so pretty too so I can highly recommend them but trying the same thing with table salt would be a mistake. So either use a good finishing salt or none at all; either way I know you will just love this toffee. So will your husband, dad, or father. Or you can send some to me. Just kidding. No I’m not.

Salted Chocolate English Toffee with Toasted Almonds

Christa provided some great tips (even info for high altitude cooking) that I’ve included and I’ve got one of my own. Gate your kids and dogs out of the kitchen. This is HOT stuff. I had two dogs and a malfunctioning thermometer; we are very lucky a casualty was not a part of our experience. Toffee can start to darken to the perfect color and then in seemingly an instant it can burn. This is one of those recipes that requires that everything be at the ready, that you have the right equipment and as importantly? Zero distractions. The reward will be worth it. Ask my friend’s husband or if my friend is at all like me, ask her; I just know she squirreled a few pieces away for herself!

Salted Chocolate English Toffee with Toasted Almonds for a Homemade Father’s Day Gift

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 25-30 pieces

Salted Chocolate English Toffee with Toasted Almonds for a Homemade Father’s Day Gift

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 oz milk chocolate, chopped or milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup almonds, coarsely chopped and toasted
  • Finishing salt (I used Maldon)

Preparation

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. Boil water, butter, sugar, cream and salt over medium heat in a 3 qt saucepan. Stir slowly but constantly until it reaches 300 degrees. (See notes for high altitude)
  3. Remember to keep all kids and pets out of the kitchen
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and chopped nuts.
  5. Pour onto parchment and spread to desired thickness.
  6. Sprinkle chocolate on top and let sit for a few minutes; it will melt and then you can spread it to cover.
  7. Sprinkle Maldon salt on top of the warm chocolate; using a light hand. Just a bit is enough!
  8. Put the tray in the refrigerator for about 45 minutes to cool completely and then break toffee into pieces; store in an airtight container.

Notes

A few tips from Christa for those who haven't made candy before

Get a good candy thermometer every degree counts.

At high altitude you have to lower the temperature. The general rule of thumb is 2 degrees for every 1000 ft. So in Denver where Christa and I live you would lower the temp by 10 degrees to 290. If you want to be really accurate you can calibrate your thermometer by putting it in boiling water and seeing what temperature it boils at.

Water typically boils at 212F, whatever temp yours boils at is your difference. Mine is 11 degrees so for this recipe I would cook the toffee until it was 289F before it would be done.

http://www.creative-culinary.com/salted-chocolate-english-toffee-with-toasted-almonds/

NOTE: Some of you may noticed that it looks like the chocolate on top has ‘bloomed’ a bit and in fact it did. The appearance of a white layer or even those whitish spots is what is known as “chocolate bloom.” There are two types of chocolate bloom: fat bloom and sugar bloom. The chocolate bar in the photo above shows only a very slight fat bloom and it is by far the most common type.

Typically caused when chocolate is exposed to high temperatures – such as being left in your car on a sunny day – and then allowed to re-set. A warm environment will cause the cocoa butter to melt and separate from the rest of the ingredients in your chocolate, then rise to the surface of the bar creating an off-white “bloom.” The best way to avoid fat bloom is by storing your chocolates in a cool place, preferably one where the temperature is consistent.

So how on earth Barb…didn’t you know you were going to take photos? Why yes I did! But if you follow my personal soap opera, I’m living with friends but using my daughter’s extra bedroom for photos while I’m in between houses. This time around I made the toffee where I live and had to transport it to my daughter’s for the photos. But wait a minute…nothing is that easy! I wanted a gift box to put it in so that meant a stop by both Michael’s and The Container Store before I found something I liked.

Yes, it was warm out and I knew that the car might get too hot so I BROUGHT THE TRAY OF CANDY INSIDE WITH ME! I had every sales person and patron at both of those stores insinuate that they would be happy to help me get rid of it…but no, I was just trying to keep it from getting hot and melty. Still, when I finally got to Emily’s I decided that in order to break it apart it would need some additional refrigerator time. Big mistake but one I could hardly avoid; her place is air conditioned but not chilly enough to harden that top layer and a short of amount of refrigeration was necessary. The end result created some bloom that was thankfully minor and it tasted fine. I do want to assure you that unless you plan to take your toffee shopping with you it should not do the same!



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{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Melissa July 18, 2013 at 7:28 pm

Toffee is also my most favorite all-time candy (I can’t say I swiped one from the store, tho!) lol ; ) I can personally attest to this amazing toffee! Christa blessed Karen and myself on more than one occassion! It is something that only exists in the imagination! Christa is awesome and has great talent to tweak it just right. I certainly like the sound of your “tweaks” as well!

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2 Creative Culinary July 18, 2013 at 7:37 pm

I know I was just bad to the bone wasn’t I (or just in that in between world of wanting but not really knowing I was doing something wrong by taking!).

It is wonderful; I’ve ordered the book it came from too; I might have to start a candy blog huh? I can not WAIT to tell Karen that a friend left a comment; I am working without success to get her to sit with me and even look at a browser…it will open up a whole world for her!! I have to go hunt her down now; think she’s on the phone…I mean that contraption that uses two cans and a string. :)

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3 Dan Washington July 3, 2013 at 3:35 am

Fat blooms and sugar blooms on chocolate are physical defects that are frequently misdiagnosed as mold growth. Fat bloom is associated with improper temperature control. Sugar bloom is similar to fat bloom but it not greasy.
Dan Washington Most Recent Post: No last blog posts to return.

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4 Mona Wise June 14, 2013 at 12:19 pm

I am SO going to try to make this for my husband! I am not sure if I will get it made by Sunday as we are heading to the big smoke tomorrow … but by Sunday night for sure!

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5 Creative Culinary June 15, 2013 at 6:40 pm

I promise you Mona that he will love you forever. Or even more than now, whichever is best. :)

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6 Jamie June 14, 2013 at 12:13 pm

Barb, this is fabulous toffee! I adore chocolate-covered toffee and that dash of Maldon flakes – or better yet, a dash of smoked salt – high quality, of course – would be perfect! Gosh how good is this? I haven’t made candy since I was a kid but this I would do. The dad in our family would love it (and would prefer slightly softer, too). Fun story about how you got the recipe.

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7 Creative Culinary June 15, 2013 at 10:07 am

It is so good Jamie…sort of glad I gave it away and yet have been craving some ever since!

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8 Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen June 13, 2013 at 1:46 am

Yum I want someone to make me a box of this!
Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen Most Recent Post: Italian Breadsticks (Grissini) with Slow Roasted Tomato Dipping Sauce (Gluten-Free, Paleo, Vegan)

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9 Kate | Food Babbles June 11, 2013 at 8:16 pm

You and I share a long standing love affair with Heath and all things toffee. How have I never attempted to make english toffee at home? I’m not sure but I do know that now I absolutely will be creating this recipe in my kitchen. Lovely recipe!! I can practically taste it.
Kate | Food Babbles Most Recent Post: Lemon Basil Blueberry Swirl Cake – #Bundtamonth

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10 Creative Culinary June 12, 2013 at 10:51 am

You need to try it…it’s not hard and the results are outstanding but please promise you will adhere to my plea…kids and dogs out of the kitchen! Not just for the timing accuracy thing, this stuff gets too hot to take any chances. Hey keep them out after it’s done too…you will want to keep it all for yourself…mark my words! :)

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11 Nancy@acommunaltable June 11, 2013 at 1:50 pm

Loved this story Barb and have bookmarked this recipe to make over the holidays! I got braces fairly early and so toffee was NOT on the approved foods list …. which perhaps explains why I too love it! Couldn’t agree more about the finishing salt! Ummm… adding cream? Oh yeah, that would totally make a difference … and a great one at that!!

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12 Creative Culinary June 11, 2013 at 4:20 pm

The things we remember huh? About time for us to catch up…when you quit slacking and watching soaps all day maybe we could do that?!! :)

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13 Paula June 11, 2013 at 7:27 am

What a story on the making and the packaging of this wonderful toffee. It doesn’t surprise me that shoppers and clerks alike wanted to *assist* you with your tray! The packaging is great and the toffee looks amazing.

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14 Creative Culinary June 11, 2013 at 10:40 am

I admit I felt a bit weird taking a tray of these into stores but then I thought…don’t worry, no one will notice. Um…they ALL noticed; I’m lucky I got out without losing the goods! They were worth it…so good I sort of wish I had kept more for me! :)

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15 katie June 11, 2013 at 4:57 am

Oh wow–this homemade chocolate looks amazing. What dad wouldn’t want this?
katie Most Recent Post: Greek Crostini with Whipped Feta

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16 Creative Culinary June 11, 2013 at 8:02 am

Sadly mine…just diagnosed recently with diabetes at 92; huge sweet tooth too but no more shipments of sweets; guess I need to figure out how to make sugar free toffee huh?

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17 Jennifer Every June 10, 2013 at 8:20 pm

Haha! I did the same thing when I was a kid except it was with bubble gum! I also had to go back in the store, return the gum, and apologize.

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18 Creative Culinary June 10, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Guess we have to learn sometime even if the hard way? Thankfully it did not turn me off of toffee!

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19 Lizzy (Good Things) June 10, 2013 at 7:38 pm

What a gorgeous recipe! Why oh why didn’t I get myself a candy thermometer? I co owned a cookware store for a decade, but that was one thing I forgot to add to my kitchen drawer. On my list now!

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20 Creative Culinary June 10, 2013 at 10:11 pm

I did not go into the ugly details but my digital one got packed and is in storage; I used a smaller one that fell into the candy and the heat melted the protective cover. OY huh? I had to go by color alone! It can be done but I’m getting a new thermometer anyhow; I’m of the ‘better safe than sorry’ camp Lizzy.

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21 Abbe@This is How I Cook June 10, 2013 at 5:17 pm

My goodness. You are dedicated. But that toffee looks worth it!
Abbe@This is How I Cook Most Recent Post: Texas Sheet Cake

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22 Creative Culinary June 10, 2013 at 10:08 pm

So worth it Abbe; of course I’ve been craving it ever since I gave it away. Means I have to make some more. Toffee party? :)

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23 Wendy Read June 10, 2013 at 4:47 pm

Love the backstory on this!!! I was on Foodzie with Bon Bon Bar, she is so very talented, it is wonderful that she came out with a book too, I was so surprised when she closed her shop. And so…I too love toffee and can’t wait to try this one Barb!

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24 Creative Culinary June 10, 2013 at 10:08 pm

This was a new introduction for me; so glad for it too. I can’t wait to get her book!

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25 Amanda June 10, 2013 at 4:27 pm

Bloom or no bloom, I still want to eat it. All of it!
Amanda Most Recent Post: Explore Canada – the video!

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26 Creative Culinary June 10, 2013 at 10:06 pm

Next time I’ll offer it to you; maybe that will get you to drop by Denver? :)

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27 Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen June 10, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Love this recipe and “gift from the kitchen” idea for Dads! That close-up pic is so enticing. Suddenly, I’m craving homemade candy! Cream and toasted almonds do make everything better, don’t they? And, I too, need to often protect myself from myself! Thanks for sharing your childhood story and fab recipe, B! xo
Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen Most Recent Post: Best Ever Blueberry Cobbler {gluten free option}

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28 Creative Culinary June 10, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Most welcome Stacy; thanks for stopping by. I only wish I had squirreled some more away for me. What WAS I thinking??

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29 Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking June 10, 2013 at 12:11 pm

What a great gift idea for Fathers Day, Barbara! This toffee looks so delicious and your packaging is adorable – awesome job!

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30 Creative Culinary June 10, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Thank you Georgia; I had fun pulling it together and appreciate your kind comment…Barb

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31 Holly June 10, 2013 at 11:27 am

I am smiling picturing you shopping with your tray of toffee…fantastic! And I would eat this whole tray bloom or no bloom– it looks wonderful! Heath bars are at the top of my chocolate bar list and this toffee wouldn’t last long enough for me to share it with anyone. I hope to get around to making it but probably not in this heat this week. Hope your friends have AC and that you are all comfortable.
Holly Most Recent Post: Orange Creamsicle Bundt Cake for #BundtaMonth June

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32 Creative Culinary June 10, 2013 at 12:46 pm

I wish I had some more…but I’m with you; no way no how in this heat. Why did I think this summer would be not as bad as last year???

Yes we have AC but they sure do not like to use it…haven’t turned it on yet! Thankfully some larger trees and good windows that keep a lot of that hot sun out but about ready to go jump in the car and cool down!

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33 Suzanne June 10, 2013 at 9:16 am

I love heath bars, and LOVE toffee. This looks so delicious, making toffee has always intimidated me but this recipe sounds doable. Thanks for posting this.
Suzanne Most Recent Post: Cooks Spotlight:Peanut Butter-Chocolate Kiss Cookies

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34 Creative Culinary June 10, 2013 at 10:45 am

It really is not hard but that dog business (and kids)? Makes ALL the difference. Given your undivided attention it’s pretty simple to pull off. I say do it. No, I mean DO IT!!

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35 john@kitchenriffs June 10, 2013 at 9:09 am

Very good tip about avoiding table salt and using a finishing salt! I’ve tasted some things that were just inedible because the cook just didn’t understand salted caramel. (And I gotta say, good as it is, I’m about over it.) Anyway, this looks terrific! I do like a Health bar from time to time, although I’m more partial to having it in ice cream! But this looks to be a super recipe – truly good stuff! ;-) Thanks so much.
john@kitchenriffs Most Recent Post: Poached Salmon

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36 Creative Culinary June 10, 2013 at 10:44 am

I hear you John; I could say I’m about over it too if for all the concoctions I’ve seen made that had to have it added…but when used in moderation (meaning just a touch!) it still ads a great component to the right dish. I’ll avoid the salted chocolate, browned butter with caramel Biscoff stuffed Oreo cookie though. :)

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37 Karen Harris June 10, 2013 at 7:27 am

I’ve got a neighbor who brings this down every Christmas. She is the same neighbor that lets me have the cherries off of her tree. I love her. She gave me her recipe several years ago and now I make it at Christmas too. I’d make it more often but I can’t stay out of it. You’ve got me craving it now.
Karen Harris Most Recent Post: Blogging and Contesting: Sparkling Lemon Ginger Cooler and a Cooking Contest Central Membership Giveaway

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38 Creative Culinary June 10, 2013 at 10:42 am

It is a great Christmas gift since it is always loved; this is most definitely my new go to recipe too. I should have kept a few pieces for myself doggone it!

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39 Maureen | Orgasmic Chef June 10, 2013 at 4:40 am

I would eat that chocolate covered toffee in a New York minute :) That’s pretty fast I think :)

I love toffee!
Maureen | Orgasmic Chef Most Recent Post: Best Homemade Bread and Butter Pickles

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40 Creative Culinary June 10, 2013 at 10:40 am

Yes, it is MUCH faster than a Denver minute…we like to savor out here in the wild west! :)

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