When Austin Bakes for Austin came up, I knew I wanted to make the granola recipe I made, thinking that folks would still be full from Thanksgiving and might want a healthier option. But, I also wanted to make the Almond Butter Toffee recipe I remembered from the Necessities and Temptations Junior League cookbook. It looked so easy. So, when shopping for the ingredients for my granola, I doubled up on the ingredients needed for both – slivered almonds and pecans.
The recipe seemed simple enough, although I’m not much of a baker or candy maker. Sugar isn’t really my thing – I’m more of a salty kind of gal. I melted the 2 cups of butter, then added the 2 1/2 cups of sugar and raised the heat. I stirred and stirred, until the mixture bubbled around the edges. I added the 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar and 2 cups of slivered almonds and stirred constantly, until the mixture turned what I believed was the caramel color I was looking for. I dumped it out on two greased cookie sheets and spread it as thinly as it would let me, which was not very thin. I dumped a 12-ounce package of chocolate morsels on top, and when melted, I spread it evenly. I sprinkled with pecans. I refrigerated it, until the chocolate was hard and the candy cooled. I attempted to break it into pieces, but it only bended. No breakage whatsoever. My toffee had not become brittle, because I didn’t cook it long enough, nor did I achieve the desired caramel color, apparently. So, I tossed the whole mess out.
Take two. This time around, I was committed to achieving the proper caramel color needed for this toffee. I fail all the time, but rarely twice at the same thing. I repeated all of the steps from the first time around, but kept stirring and stirring, waiting for the mixture to turn darker than before. Once it started getting what I thought was the right color, the butter started separating, forming pools of liquid on top of the toffee.
You can see it in the above picture, although it got much worse. I had no idea what this meant, so I stirred more vigorously than before until, in a panic, I dumped the mixture out on the cookie sheets, having to mop up the liquid. Hoping that that little deviation from normal would not affect the toffee, I followed the rest of the steps. This time around, the toffee was closer to being right, and actually came closer to breaking into pieces than previously. I bagged it all up and stuck it in the freezer. It still tastes good.
I can’t figure out why the butter broke though. There were no abrupt temperature changes, which would have “shocked” it. There was a point where we had some spillage of chocolate chips and I had to stop stirring for a few seconds. Did that cause it? No idea. I have the ingredients to try once again, but I haven’t worked up the courage to do so.