For many of us, the magic of holidays lies in the small details. Whether it’s the taste of a family recipe or smell of pine tree needles, encounters with these nostalgic details often result in recalling memories of holidays gone by – for me, these memories revolve around time spent with family. Thanks to the generosity of my grandmother, who is effortless in all her roles: entertainer, homemaker, and piano player, everything about a gathering put on by her is thoughtful and magical. Instead of placing her decorative bowls of homemade English Toffee in the obvious locations, she strategically places these treasured dishes on the living room’s side tables – one next to a tea light, here, another by a little statuette of The Apple Girl, over there. Knowing when and where you’ll be in need of some toffee to munch on is a true sign of a skilled entertainer. And my memories of listening to my grandpa’s stories in the living room will forever be intertwined with the taste of my grandma’s toffee because of it.
While most caramel recipes are a difficult feat requiring the use of a candy thermometer and a ridiculous amount of precision, Grandma’s English Toffee does not! Just put on your grandma ears and listen for the POP! of the almonds. This recipe is straight from the church cookbook, and I’ve even included the tips my grandma texted me to ensure your toffee experience is a good one. Bring on the holiday nostalgia!
Ingredients \ makes one sheet of toffee
- 1 cup blanched almonds (whole)
- 1 cup butter (salted)
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 3 plain Hershey bars
The Process \ ~15min
SKIP if you have blanched almonds! If you don’t, here’s how to make your own:
Boil a small pot of water. Add almonds to water, wait ‘til skins are wrinkly and can be pinched off (1 min). Drain, set almonds on paper towel and remove skins, then let dry.
*Grandma recommends blanching your almonds the day before to make sure they are completely dry!
Mix all together in heavy pan over high heat.
When mixed and melted, lower the temperature to medium, stirring constantly until almonds start to POP! (about 9 minutes). Remove from heat immediately.
Spread in a buttered 9×13” pan. Break Hershey bars over top and spread as they melt.
Cool toffee over-night or (if you can’t wait that long) in the freezer/a Midwest garage ‘til it’s hardened. After the toffee has set, turn out of pan and break into desired sizes.
Tips from Grandma:
A heavy pan with even heat distribution is key to your success.
Each batch is always different 👏👏.
Do not leave toffee once it has started cooking.
Believe me, I have made every mistake in the book but it still tastes great unless you burn it 🙄.
The critical moment is deciding when the toffee is done cooking. Listen for 8 distinct “pops” of the almonds as they finish toasting and the toffee becomes golden.
Did you try the recipe? Let us know via the @foolsgoldmag Instagram, and I’ll be sure to share with Grandma!