I was looking for a recipe for chocolate and almond coated Butter Crunch like what my mother used to make each Christmas. I found a likely candidate on the Internet and modified it, and I made major improvements to the directions. I am reporting back with fine results. Enough said. You want to make this delightful candy.
Yield: 48 small bars
1/2 lb. of butter plus more for greasing a baking sheet
3/4 cup of brown sugar
1 1/4 cups of white sugar
2 tbsp. of light corn syrup
2 tbsp. of water
3 cups of raw whole shelled almonds
1 1/2 lbs. of very high quality milk or dark dipping chocolate (like Callebaut®)
Set the oven at 350 degrees F.
Blanch the 3 cups of raw whole almonds. Do that by putting them into a one quart glass Pyrex® measuring cup, cover them with water and microwave on high until the water boils. Drain the water from the almonds and dump them onto a baking (cookie) sheet that has a low lip/sides around the perimeter. Squeeze the skins from them by using a rolling motion of the skin around the nut while pressing the skin towards the pointed end and the skins will come off easily. Dry the almonds with a two paper towels. Discard the skins. Note that the low baking sheet lip will keep the almonds on the baking sheet during the next step.
Spread the almonds evenly over the surface of the baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven and roast the almonds for five minutes. After five minutes, use a spatula to mix the almonds, turning them over and redistributing them on the baking sheet. Roast for an additional three to five minutes until the almonds have changed color from off white to very light tan. Immediately remove the baking sheet from the oven and dump the almonds onto a cool surface, like paper towels on a kitchen counter. Spread the almonds to a single thickness to have them cool to room temperature quickly.
Chop the cooled almonds with a food processor to a medium (not coarse, not fine) consistency.
Prepare a baking sheet by lightly covering the inner surface and sides of the baking sheet with a small amount of butter.
Melt the 1/2 lb. of butter in a heavy/thick bottom one or two quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the brown and white sugars, the corn syrup, and the water, and stir until the sugar dissolves.
Once the sugar dissolves, use a candy thermometer and stir and boil the toffee mixture gently on low to medium low heat until it reaches 290 degrees F. Note: Keep the bottom of the candy thermometer away from the saucepan surface while heating the toffee so that you get an accurate measure of the temperature of the toffee. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Remove the candy thermometer and place it on a wood surface to cool.
Stir in 1 cup of the chopped roasted almonds and mix quickly. Pour the toffee onto the prepared baking sheet — it should then be spread into an even layer about 1/4 to 5/16 inches thick by using the back of a large buttered spoon or spatula to press the toffee down in any high spots.
Let the toffee cool for about 3 minutes, then use a pizza cutter or large sharp kitchen knife to cut the toffee into thin bars about 1" by 2". These will look like small pieces, but once they are dipped in chocolate and covered with the remaining almond pieces, they will be substantially bigger. After another 2 minutes, go over the cuts again as the toffee continues to harden.
Use the food processor again to chop the remaining 2 cups of medium chopped roasted almonds into finer pieces suitable for coating a piece of candy. Pour those small almond pieces into a shallow bowl.
Cover a new cookie sheet with waxed paper. Then sprinkle some of the finer pieces of chopped almonds onto the waxed paper, covering it evenly. These almond pieces will be the nut cover for the bottom of each piece of butter crunch.
Once the toffee is cool, break it into pieces along the lines you made, and trim/cut off any jagged edges. Then store the toffee pieces in a warm place. The ideal is to put a tray of them into an oven that has a proofing cycle or regular heat setting controls that allow you to set the temperature at 100 degrees F.
Break/cut/slice the dipping chocolate into small pieces no more than 1/8 inch thick and put a cup of them into a two cup thin plastic bowl suitable for use in a microwave oven and heat the chocolate in the microwave oven for 60 seconds. Mix the partially melted chocolate pieces with a spoon. If necessary, repeat the heating for an additional 15 seconds. Mix the remaining pieces of chocolate and the melted chocolate well. Repeat only if the remaining chocolate pieces do not melt into the melted chocolate when mixed well with a fork. The idea is that you want to avoid overheating the chocolate as that will destroy it. The highest optimal temperature for using melted chocolate for dipping is only 104 degrees F. I recommend checking the temperature after mixing. If it is below 100 degrees F then microwave it for only ten seconds and mix well. Repeat if necessary to get the chocolate temperature up to at least 100 degrees F but no more than 104 degrees F.
Dip each piece of warm Butter Crunch into the melted chocolate to coat it, then place it onto the almond pieces on the cookie sheet. After all the pieces that will fit on the cookie sheet have been chocolate coated and placed, then sprinkle the tops of each piece of butter crunch liberally with the finely processed almond pieces.
Repeat the entire chocolate preparation, coating and almond piece covering process until all the toffee pieces are coated with chocolate and almond pieces, using as many wax paper covered cookie sheets as necessary.
If you have a deep freeze that can accommodate the cookie sheets then put them into the deep freeze for ten minutes to "shock" the chocolate. Otherwise refrigerate the cookie sheets for 30 minutes.
Store the Butter Crunch in an airtight container, with wax paper between layers. You may store the sealed container of Butter Crunch in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, but for best taste and texture bring the Butter Crunch to room temperature before serving it.