Here’s one you’ll want to add to your holiday cooking list, and I’m telling you right now, plan on making a double batch because it goes fast. This is Grandma Sara’s butter brickle, or English toffee. She made it every year at Christmastime, and a batch of this, placed in a special piece of pottery, was the coveted gift in our family gift exchange for years! I learned to make this many years ago, but even though I follow her recipe closely, I still say hers tasted better.
GRANDMA SARA’S BUTTER BRICKLE
2/3 c. sliced almonds, crushed, divided into 2 parts
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 bag (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips (milk chocolate is okay too, because really, when does milk chocolate not work, anyway?)
Prepare pan: Line a cookie sheet that has sides (jelly roll pan) with foil, then butter the foil (or spray with PAM). Sprinkle with 1/3 cup of crushed sliced almonds. (Or more than that if you really dig nuts.)
Place brown sugar, butter and vanilla in heavy saucepan. Cook on medium to medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until candy thermometer reads 300 degrees (hard crack stage).
Do NOT stop stirring! It takes longer than you think it will, so wear comfortable shoes and don’t be in a hurry.
Remove sugar mixture from heat and pour it evenly over almonds on cookie sheet. Sprinkle it with chocolate chips. Wait several minutes to allow chocolate chips to melt, then spread them evenly over sugar mixture. Sprinkle remaining 1/3 cup of almonds over top of melted chocolate.
Allow to cool completely (refrigerate to speed the process, or put it outside if it’s cold out), then break into smallish pieces. Store in a covered container in a cool location. Hide it from your spouse and children, because once they find it? It’s as good as gone.
UPDATE, 7 DECEMBER 2010. I’ve added a few photos, but it seems I neglected to snap a shot of the finished product. Coincidentally, Ree (Pioneer Woman) posted a similar recipe with much better photos. Go check it out!
Update, 22 November 2011. Finally – a photo of the finished product: