This year I made two batches so far, hoping to have another one done by the time this post gets published. It's basically just lots and LOTS of butter with sugar that gets cooked in a skillet until you reach the perfect toffee consistency, then you pour it onto a baking sheet (lined with paper), wait a minute or so, add chopped bittersweet chocolate, let it melt and add toasted chopped almonds. Leave to set overnight, break into pieces and you're done.
In theory. If you read the comments on the Kitchn post, you'll see that this can be tricky. It can turn out beautifully on the first try. And it can be ruined the third time you make it. Here's what I've learned:
- STIR. When they say stir constantly, they mean it.
- don't lower the heat too much or increase it - basically, don't change it too much. I've found that this can lead to the issue where the butter separates, which can lead to either a very greasy caramel or a burned one as you try to cook it longer to incorporate the butter again.
- If the butter separating thing happens to you, take it off the heat and stir, stir, stir. A few tablespoons of very hot water can also help. Don't heat it before it has come back together or it will burn.
- cook it long enough. Ideally, use a candy thermometer and make sure you hit something around 300 degrees Fahrenheit. The recipe says you should cook it until it is a deep golden brown, but that can be tricky. Been there... Just tossed a batch in the trash the other day because I didn't cook it long enough and it didn't really turn a caramel (it was maybe a soft ball stage, but nowhere near cracking...).
But, oh, if it all works out miraculously, oh, it is sooooo good. Almost too good to give away, although it does make the perfect gift. So I hope I didn't discourage you. I know I'll be making more batches. And standing there, stirring and silently telling the caramel to please, please be nice and turn a deep golden brown...
Anyone out there with more sophisticated candy making experience?