*Tips: Make sure ingredients are as fresh as possible. *Use a dry wooden or plastic spoon to stir. *If it is getting darker than peanut butter, remove from heat. *If it is getting dark brown liquid streaks in it, it is over-cooking. *If it is separating you may be stirring too hard or have the heat too high, or it’s too humid. This recipe should not be doubled. Candy is more successful in small batches.
*Note about moisture - Minimize moisture around toffee making, don’t boil water or run a humidifier while you are making toffee. It may make the ingredients separate during cooking. It’s better to make toffee on a dry day.
*Note about elevation - Normally water boils at 212 degrees, but at my elevation it boils at 202 or 203 degrees. You need to subtract two degrees for every 1000 feet in altitude you live above sea level from the temperature called for in the recipe. The temperature called for this recipe is 280-285. To test the adjustment for altitude in your area, boil water for a few minutes with your candy thermometer in it. If it boils at 212, no adjustments need to be made. If it boils at 202, subtract 10 degrees from the temperature called for in the recipe. Plug in those values below as they will not be the same as mine. My toffee needs to be removed from heat at 271 degrees, adjusting for an altitude of 4,300 ft. Be sure to figure out beforehand when you need to remove the toffee from the heat. Since the temperature will continue to rise after it is off the heat, take it off about 3-4 degrees lower than your final target temperature.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, scatter some chunky chopped almonds over. Put first four ingredients in a 3 quart Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pan with a candy thermometer attached and cook over medium heat stirring gently until the temperature reaches 3-4 degrees below your target temperature, then remove from heat. Don’t be tempted to turn the heat up during this process. It takes about 10 or 15 minutes to get to the right temperature. At the end it will be the color of peanut butter. Immediately add 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Stir to incorporate. Wait about 30 seconds and then pour onto parchment paper. After a few minutes, scatter some chocolate chips on top, as many as you like. After another minute or so, the chips will melt and you can spread the chocolate over all. Scatter powdery choppy almonds over that. Cool for 30 min or more in the fridge until cold. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Good luck; it’s harder than it seems and it took me about four or five Christmases to get it right. I have had too many batches of oily, sugary failures in my trash can, but I was determined and finally figured out how to succeed with toffee, at least for this year. People who say this is easy are nuts or just lucky.