Last year my brothers, SILs, Ben and I made a pact to not only stop giving each other Christmas gifts, but to gift each other’s children socks, books, and/or gift cards for experiences instead of toys. TEAM LESS STUFF – DO YOU FEEL ME?!
Ahem, sorry, it’s just that Ben and I are in the midst of a potential basement finishing project which involves clearing out all the crap we felt the need to move from our old house to our current house five years ago, including the artisanal cherry jelly with an expiration date of 2013 that I just found in the cupboard last week. (WHYYY) Aka me and “stuff” are in a bad place right now.
If you’re in the same boat – wanting to give gifts from the heart vs wallet this year – may I suggest Salted Chocolate Almond Toffee?? Made from just 6 pantry staples, it’s one of the tastiest, most personal ways to tell someone you care this holiday season. Not to mention the only space it’ll take up is a spot in the recipient’s stomach!
This super easy, super delicious toffee is brought to you by my friends at Enjoy Life Foods. As I mentioned last month, we’ve been partnering together this fall through the end of the year sharing recipes made with their delicious baking chocolates which are also allergy-friendly – a godsend for my family as we navigate through the world of food allergies and autoimmune issues.
Containing just cane sugar, unsweetened chocolate, and cocoa butter, Enjoy Life’s products are free from gluten, wheat, dairy, soy, sulfites, lupin, fish, crustaceans, peanuts, tree nuts, casein, egg, sesame, mustard, and shellfish. Including the wee, semi-sweet mini chips I used to top this toffee! Because they’re so small, the mini chips melt quickly and evenly over the hot candy and spread into a glossy, even layer begging to be topped with coarse sea salt.
Which, LETS TALK ABOUT IT. Sorry, nothing gets me more excited then salted chocolate. :)
This recipe is as simple as melting butter with sugar then letting it simmer until it turns a lovely shade of caramel brown, adding vanilla and chopped almonds, pouring the mixture into a baking dish, then topping with chocolate chips and the only thing that can make chocolate taste even better – coarse sea salt. Cool >> crack >> eat. I mean gift…
GIFT! Coming full circle here – my family and I have also encouraged each other to give non “stuff” gifts to others. My Dad always requests that instead of a gift we make a donation to a charity of his choosing, which I love and am inspired by. Showing friends, family, and co-workers how much you care with a homemade gift is another wonderful idea. That said, this toffee packages up so well. Pack into treat bags, top with a bow, and get ready for the gift of a smile in return for this toffee! ;)
Start by adding 1 cup each salted butter (2 sticks) and sugar to a small/medium-sized, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until the butter melts and comes to a bubble.
Clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan then continue to cook the mixture over medium heat until it reaches 300 degrees (hard crack stage), stirring gently every so often. The sugar should be the color of maple syrup at the end.
Once the candy reaches 300 degrees, take the pan off the heat, remove the candy thermometer, add 1 cup chopped almonds and 1 teaspoon vanilla, then stir quickly to combine. I used roasted salted almonds though you can use raw, roasted – whatever. All that said, you could really add whatever nut you love most/have on hand!
Immediately pour the candy into a parchment paper-lined 9×13″ baking pan then spread into an even layer. Next sprinkle on 1-1/2 cups Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Mini Chips, cover the pan with foil, and let the chocolate sit and melt for 2-3 minutes.
NOTE: I did not use parchment paper when photographing this batch of toffee but be sure to line your baking pan with it or you’ll be as sorry as I was trying to dig this dang toffee out of the pan!
Spread the melted chocolate into an even layer with the back of a spoon then sprinkle with coarse sea salt (DROOL). Refrigerate the toffee until set, or let it set on the counter until set, then pull out the toffee using the parchment paper and break into pieces. Package up for your friends and loved ones, or have at it yourself! I hope you love this simple yet sublime holiday favorite – enjoy!
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Salted Chocolate Almond Toffee
Salted Chocolate Almond Toffee is a classic Christmastime treat! Turn 6 ordinary ingredients into irresistable and delicious gluten-free candy to share with friends and loved ones.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup salted butter (2 sticks), cut into pats
- 1 cup almonds, roughly chopped (I used salted roasted - could use any nut you like!)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1-1/2 cups Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Mini Chips
- 1-2 Tablespoons coarse sea salt
- Get out a 9x13” glass baking dish then line with parchment paper and set aside. Tear off a sheet of foil big enough to cover the top of the baking dish then set aside.
- Add sugar and butter to a small/medium-sized, heavy-bottomed saucepan then place over medium heat. Stir contantly until until the butter has melted and come to a bubble. Clip a candy thermometer onto the pan then continue to cook, stirring every so often, until the candy reaches 300 degrees and is the color of maple syrup. Resist the urge to turn your heat higher then medium - be patient!
- Remove pan from heat then, working quickly yet safely, remove the candy thermometer and add the almonds and vanilla. Stir quickly to combine then immediately pour into the prepared baking dish and spread candy into an even layer.
- Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top then crimp foil over the baking dish and let sit for 2-3 minutes. Remove foil then use the back of a spoon to spread the chocolate into an even layer. Let the chocolate set for 5-7 minutes (until it’s tacky vs molten) then sprinkle with sea salt. Refrigerate until completely set, 2 hours, then lift out of the baking dish and break into pieces. Toffee can be packaged and gifted. Store remaining toffee in the refrigerator to extend shelf life.
- This is the candy thermometer I have >
- I tested this recipe with vegan butter (Earth Balance) and unfortunately it did not work! The texture was more like a praline - more crumbly then crunchy - and it did not taste like toffee.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.