Sunday, December 20, 2015

Almond Buttercrunch

Goodness.  All these years and I never posted the recipe for my almond buttercrunch.  It's one of my most requested recipes, especially from anyone lucky enough to sample some.  I make this only twice a year.  It goes fast.  

I'm sharing the original recipe, as it was handed to me years (and years) ago.  Which, of course, is not exactly what I do.  I skip the chocolate chips and pecans in favor of dipping.  I find the single layer of chocolate flakes off (although it's a lot faster and easier to do).  Dipped buttercrunch makes a nicer presentation, but it's one of the reasons I make this so infrequently. 

I usually dip in dark chocolate; I think it goes great with the sweet buttercrunch.  This year's batch was mostly dipped in milk chocolate, which is Rob's favorite.  The buttercrunch is also good with white chocolate (reminds me of Sweet Sloops).  Yeah - it's kind of hard to go wrong with any kind of chocolate.

Almond Buttercrunch
(My notes and other modifications are listed below.) 

1½ cups butter
2 cups sugar
1 cup sliced raw almonds
1½ cups chocolate chips
½ cup finely chopped pecans

Melt butter over very low heat in heavy saucepan; do not let boil.  Add sugar.  Boil over medium heat, stirring frequently until candy thermometer reads 260°.  Add almonds and continue to cook, stirring constantly (mixture will be thick).  When at 295-305°, pour into jelly roll pan (11x17”), spreading the candy thin with the back of a metal spoon.  Work quickly.  Sprinkle chocolate chips, let stand 5 minutes, then spread.  Sprinkle with pecans.  Allow to harden several hours or overnight.  Break into pieces.

  • The recipe easily resizes.  I often make a double batch.  If you make a smaller batch, don't spread it so far on the pan.  This year I made a 1½ batch and poured it into a slightly larger pan for thicker pieces.
  • It takes about 45 minutes for the butter to melt.  I will often set a timer and leave it be.  Be sure it's on really low heat!
  • I use more sliced almonds - about 1½ cups in a single batch.
  • I stir neither frequently nor constantly.  Once the sugar is mixed in, and later the almonds, I stir occasionally.   
  • I sometimes add a teaspoon of vanilla just before pouring it into the pan (be careful, it spatters!).
  • It bubbles much slower (or not at all) as it gets close to 300°.  That and the color tells me when it's about ready to pour.
  • If a lot of butter separates from the rest of the toffee at the very end, I spoon off the thin liquid before pouring the buttercrunch.
  • You really want to spread using the back of a metal spoon.  It spreads faster and smoother than when using a wooden spoon or spatula.  (who knew?)
  • If you choose to dip, wait until the toffee has hardened, then break into pieces.  It takes around 20 oz of tempered chocolate to dip one batch of buttercrunch; 30-35 oz to dip a 1½ batch.  Small pieces are hard to dip.
  • If I am dipping the toffee and the hardened toffee feels really buttery, I will wipe off the excess with a clean paper towel before breaking it into pieces.
  • I save crumbs and rejects to sprinkle over ice cream.
 Wow!  I have more notes than I do recipe! 

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