Chocolate Almond Buttercrunch

I had once bought a candy thermometer when it was on sale, with the idea of making ‘MysorePak’. I have never made it from scratch and finding the correct consistency of the sugar syrup for this Indian sweet made from besan/chickpea flour is very important and I had seen a recipe which has made this process easier with the use of the candy thermometer. Like most of my investments, this was forgotten and the recipe to this day, lies in my bookmarked folder. I had realized I owned this, and had the interest to actually pull it out and make candy with it, when I saw this recipe for a dandy candy in Nupur’s blog. I then blog hopped on to ‘David Lebovitz’s chocolate almond buttercrunch’.

The idea of making something that was soooo gourmet at home, excited me, and I embarked on this great culinary experiment. Memories of the science laboratory in school and college came back, as I clipped the candy thermometer onto my pan. The idea that science could yield something tasting good, nutty and chocolate enticed me, as all I had been used to was confirming ‘rotten egg smells’ in my lab endeavors. I secretly hoped that this one turned out well and not something that would even closely resemble my other scientific experiments. :)

I have made no changes to the original recipe, excpet halving the recipe and adding a tiny smidgen of almond extract. I also used a little bit more chocolate than called for just because I wanted a thick chocolate layer.

Ingredients:
1 cup whole almonds
1 tbsp water
4 tbsp butter(1/2 a stick)
a nice, big pinch of salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp almond extract
3.5 ounces(7 squares) bittersweet chocolate
coarse salt, for sprinkling(optional)

Method:
Toast the almonds in a pan over medium heat, until a nutty almondy aroma emenates. Remove the pan from heat and transfer the nuts to a cutting board. Let the almonds cool enough to handle and chop to about medium fine. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and transfer half of the almonds to the parchment. Spread it into a even layer.

Clip the candy thermometer onto a saucepan(a medium sized saucepan with high sides, to prevent bubbling over). Place the sugar, brown sugar, water and butter in the pan along with a pinch of salt. Set this over medium heat and let this come to a boil, without stirring(it would make the sugars crystallize). Watch the thermometer come up to 300 F. Keep the baking soda and extracts handy. Swiftly remove the bubbling candy and stir in the baking soda, vanilla and almond extracts. Pour the candy mixture over the nut layer. Sprinkle with coarse salt if you have it. I just used regular salt.

Place the chocolate squares over the candy layer and let this sit for a couple of minutes. Gently spread with a butter knife to evenly melt the chocolate. Make an even chocolate layer. Gently sprinkle the remaining nuts over the chocolate layer. Press gently to make the nuts adhere to the chocolate. Set this aside for at leat 4 to 6 hours. It is advised not to use the refrigerator to make this set.

I made the almond layer the previous night, made the rest of the assembly, while making coffee the next day(knowing that I had to leave the house, or I couldn’t keep myself from fidgeting with this, checking every 30 mins or so to check if it has set.) I am not patient. :) Came back from work, dreaming about how it would taste, and boy was it worth the wait!

Verdict: Toasty almonds over a layer of caramel sandwiched with chocolate and more almonds…Nothing could beat this. I love the almond roca toffee…but this I loved more, maybe it was the sense of accomplishment that made it taste good….but my brother and DH who are huge nut afficionados also gave it a thumbs up. They called it fancy chocolate ‘kadala muttai’, which is peanut brittle. But, I am happy with that verdict. :) My two cents, bittersweet chocolate works better, coss the caramel itself is sweet and it helps lend a balance.

Sending this to ‘Drive me – Nuts’. Also to ‘Bookmarked Recipes: Every Tuesday event – volume 44′

Also linking to ‘Hearth and Soul – Blog Hop’ @ Zesty South Indian Kitchen.

Also sending to ‘Bookmarked recipes’, an event originally started by Ruth, of Ruth’s Kitchen Experiments, hosted by Jacqueline at Tinned Tomatoes.

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