One of the best gifts to give (or receive) during the holidays are the ones we actually make ourselves. Candy is not difficult to make and it is quick. In under an hour, you can make a pound of candy to put in a tin, tie with a bow and give to a friend.
I make this particular candy every year because it never lets me down and makes people happy. I mean, who doesn't want toffee, almonds and chocolate? I got the recipe from an older cookbook, Rose's Christmas Cookies. I'm not sure the cookbook is still in print since I've had it for close to 20 years.
And one more thing ... adjust candy temperatures for high altitudes. For every 1000 ft above sea level, reduce temperature to which candy cooks to by 2ºF.
Mahogany Buttercrunch Toffee
from Rose's Christmas Cookies
Yield: 1 pound
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Place almonds on a cookie sheet and bake them, stirring occasionally for 10-12 minutes or until golden. Cool completely.
In a food processor, pulse the almonds until they are chopped very fine but not powder fine.
Sprinkle half of the almonds over a 7x10 area on a cookie sheet. Place near the range. Also have the baking soda and vanilla near the range as well.
In a heavy, medium-size saucepan, preferably with a nonstick lining, combine the brown sugar, water, and butter. Stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a boil. Stir often to prevent burning and cook until mixture reaches 285º on a candy thermometer. Immediately remove the saucepan from the heat because the mixture will continue to rise to 290º. Add the vanilla and baking soda. (Work quickly!) Pour toffee over the nuts. Immediately scatter the chocolate pieces over the hot toffee. Press the chocolate lightly with your fingers so they start melting. After about 5 minutes, the chocolate will be soft enough to spread with a long metal spatula in an even layer over the surface of the toffee. Dust the chocolate with the remaining chopped almonds. Cool completely and break into irregular pieces.