- Prep Time:15m
- Cook Time:15m
- Total Time:1h 30m
- Yield: 30-40 pieces
- 1 cup hazelnuts (or almonds)
- 1 cup butter
- 2 cups white sugar
- 4 tablespoons water
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 10 ounces dark, semi-sweet or milk chocolate, chopped (or 2 cups chocolate chips)
- OPTIONAL: 1 teaspoon lime zest (2 limes); 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt (fleur de sel)
- TOAST THE NUTS: Heat oven to 350F. Place nuts in a pan and bake for 6-9 minutes until lightly brown and fragrant. Let cool. To remove the skins from the hazelnuts, grab a bunch in your hands and rub your hands together. The skins will rub off easily. It's fine if a few bits of skin remain. To crush the nuts finely, pulse in a processor (or place in a bag) and smash them on a wood board with the bottom of a heavy glass or handle of a big knife. Alternatively, toast crushed or slivered almonds for 5-7 minutes.
- GET ORGANIZED: This is important for this recipe as there is a point where things need to flow quickly. It is best to make the toffee with a candy thermometer (but I have noted below what to do if you don't have one). First check the accuracy of your candy thermometer. Boil water in the pot you'll be using and see if your thermometer reaches 212F (or 100C) - the correct temperature for boiling. If it doesn't, you will have to adjust the final temperature of the toffee accordingly. Next, prepare your pan that should be about 18" x 12" (or slightly bigger). This will give you a good thickness for the toffee. Line the pan with parchment paper with an overhang on the sides. Or use tin foil, sprayed with oil. Then, have a glass of ice water ready (this is critical if you are not using a thermometer, but I use this as a back up as well). Finally, have the baking soda and vanilla ready to add as soon as it is needed.
- MAKE THE TOFFEE: In a heavy bottomed medium sauce pan fitted with a candy thermometer, heat butter, water and sugars on medium high to a slow boil, stirring occasionally. When the mixture starts to boil, lower the heat to medium. Stir the mixture occasionally, not often. Watch the thermometer. The final temperature you want is 300F (305F max). When the thermometer reaches 285F, stop all stirring and wait until the thermometer reaches 300F. It will be a dark amber colour. If not using a thermometer (or to double check), drip a small strand of toffee mixture into the ice cold water. If it turns brittle immediately and it easily cracks in half, it's ready. Remove from the heat. Stir in baking soda and vanilla (mixture will bubble up).
- ASSEMBLE AND FINISH: .....QUICKLY pour the hot toffee into the prepared pan, spreading evenly. Let it cool for a few minutes just until it is firm enough to leave a soft fingerprint when pressed. Spread the chocolate evenly over the toffee. Let it sit for two minutes (the hot toffee will melt the chocolate), then spread it with a knife or spatula evenly over the surface. Add the crushed nuts over the chocolate and very gently press with the palms of your hands to make sure they stick. Sprinkle on sea salt and/or lime zest if using. Place the pan in the fridge until hardened. Or leave on counter to harden, but it will take longer. Break it up into pieces with your hands. Toffee can be stored in an airtight container or ziploc bag for a few weeks - or in the freezer for longer.