Servings: Makes about 2 pounds
Ingredients 1 pound unsalted butter (preferably Plugrá)1 cup white sugar1 cup brown sugar1 Tbsp. corn syrup1 1/2 to 2 cups raw almonds , chopped finely or ground loosely (with skins on)2 tsp. vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean (scraped or split so the seeds will come out inside the toffee)1 tsp. saltFleur de sel , for finishing (optional)Melted chocolate , for dipping (optional)
Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed pot on stove top. In separate bowl, mix together white sugar, brown sugar and corn syrup, add to melted butter. Add 1/4 cup water. Cook mixture on medium-high heat, stirring with a wooden spoon. Using a candy thermometer—most can clip onto the pot—cook until 240°, stirring hard and fast to make sure nothing is sticking to the pan and your toffee doesn't burn. At 240°, add the almonds. At 260°, lower the heat and finish cooking until your candy thermometer reads 300° and reaches the soft ball stage. It should take about 15 to 20 minutes total to reach the 300° mark. The mixture should be a beautiful, bubbly, golden brown color. At 300°, turn off heat immediately.
Add vanilla (if adding vanilla beans, you must fish them out when you pour the toffee before it cools) and add the salt. Stir quickly. Pour the mixture out onto a marble slab that has been greased with butter, or grease 2 rimmed baking sheets (10" x 15" or around that size). Smooth out the toffee to 1/4-inch thickness. After about 5 to 10 minutes, you can score the toffee with a knife in order to break it up later. Using hot water and wiping the knife clean after every slice can help in scoring the toffee. You may now let the mixture cool. When cool, you can sprinkle with a dash of fleur de sel (French sea salt), break them up and wrap them in cellophane or an airtight container to maintain the freshness.
Alternatively, dip into tempered chocolate (which can be made by melting down your favorite chocolate in a double boiler). Dip toffee pieces fully in the chocolate (which will keep the crunchy freshness of the toffee for much longer), sprinkle each piece with fleur de sel to finish or roll them in freshly toasted nuts (we prefer almonds, but any will do).