I Love Toffee! It's my favorite of the candies I make. I always eat way too much of it at Christmas time. Toffee is pretty easy to make but it does take longer than fudge. Well, my mom's toffee recipe is easy. there are some out there that are pretty finicky. Her secret? water.
You may notice that a lot of candies cooked to the crack stage call for water. It may seem strange, especially knowing that every bit of that water evaporates before the candy gets to temp so it's not even in your final product. Don't leave it out though. That water makes your candy take longer to get to temperature so the sugars have more time to disolve. When the candy takes longer to cook, it fails much less often. As a matter of fact, I've never had this toffee recipe sugar on me and I've been using it for over a decade. pretty good track record, wouldn't you say?
anyway, if you have a favorite candy recipe that tends to sugar when you don't hold your mouth right, try adding 1/4 to 1/2 c water into it. This will help the confection be a little less fussy with you. It won't affect the final product at all, except that it will come out right instead of grainy and inedible. ;) it's a good trick.
When making toffee, you can either leave it plain or add almonds. Slivered works best. Always use semi-sweet chocolate as well. It makes a perfect blend of bitter and sweet. You can add the almonds into the candy as soon as you remove it from heat, or you can sprinkle them into the bottom of the pan right after you butter it. (which you do before you even start the candy, remember.) I prefer my toffee plain, but my mom likes the almonds. If you are lucky enough to live in one of the western states that has a WinCo, buy your chocolate and almonds in their bulk foods section. Both are high quality and cheaper than you can get anywhere else. Heck, the big blocks of chocolate are Ghiradelli, and American chocolate doesn't get much better than that.
The recipe. Make this. You'll hate me. You won't be able to stay out of it.
2 1/2 c sugar
1/4 c light corn syrup
1 c water
1 c butter
1 c marg (you can use a full pound of butter instead of the margarine/butter mix if you prefer)
about 1 c slivered almonds
mix all ingredients together and cook over med heat to 300 degrees. Stir continuously while cooking but do not scrap the sides of the pan. when hot enough, pour onto large, buttered jelly roll pan. Do not scrape the pan out! only pour out what comes easily out of the pan. Gently spread the candy out. let cool for a few minutes. then spread about 6oz of melted semi-sweet chocolate on top. Let cool until the chocolate is set. To serve, break into pieces with a butter knife.
Have fun with this one!