Toffee is one of the best holiday gifts you can give friends, family, and yourself! It can be made in advance, and one batch makes a lot but you only need a small piece of the crisp, rich, chocolate-y treat to be satisfied. All you have to do is cook butter and sugar together into a buttery caramel, then let it cool with a layer of melted deep, dark chocolate and toasty almonds on top until you can break it into beautiful shards. As someone who grew up buying Almond Roca as a treat, this homemade version is loads better and a welcome addition to a holiday dessert table or cookie plate.
Toffee Equipment and Safety
A deep-fry or sugar thermometer that you can attach to the pan makes it easy to determine when the toffee is ready, but if you don't have one, look for the mixture to be the color of peanut butter, then take it off the heat immediately before it has a chance to burn.
When working with hot sugar, safety is paramount. Be sure to wear shoes and an apron, and have all your ingredients prepped and baking sheet ready to go before you start cooking. Once the hot caramel is poured onto the baking sheet, don't move it, as the metal will get very hot. These little tips and tricks will help you get the perfect buttery, crispy toffee coated in sweet chocolate and crunchy almonds that's perfect as a food gift or as a holiday treat!
1 pound unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup roasted whole almonds, coarsely chopped
Line both the bottom and sides of a rimmed baking sheet (about 13x18-inches) with aluminum foil or parchment paper. (If using parchment paper, clip the paper to the sides of the baking sheet with binder clips or clothespins to keep it in place.) Set aside on a heatproof, flat surface near the stove.
Attach a deep-fry or candy thermometer to a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the butter and place over medium-high heat until just melted but not bubbling. While whisking, gradually pour in the sugar and salt and cook, whisking the bubbling mixture frequently, until the mixture turns the color of peanut butter and registers about 290°F on a candy thermometer (be careful not to cook it until it smokes), 10 to 15 minutes. If the mixture separates while it is cooking, just keep whisking — it will come together eventually. Working quickly, remove from the heat and carefully whisk in the vanilla, as it will bubble up.
Immediately pour the mixture onto the lined baking sheet. Set aside to cool slightly, about 3 minutes. (Be careful! The baking sheet will be very hot.) Sprinkle evenly with the chocolate and let sit until mostly melted, about 5 minutes. Spread the chocolate with an offset metal spatula or a silicone spatula into an even layer. Sprinkle with the nuts and gently press them into the chocolate with the palms of your hands.
Cool completely at room temperature, at least 3 hours. Using your hands, break the toffee into chunks.
- Nuts: Feel free to substitute your favorite chopped, toasted nuts for the almonds here.
- Storage: The toffee can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.