Chocolate Almond Buttercrunch Toffee

Chocolate-Almond Buttercrunch Toffee, recipe from David Lebovitz

2 cups (8 ounces) toasted almonds or hazelnuts, chopped between 'fine' and 'coarse'
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup (1 stick) salted or unsalted butter, cut into pieces
a nice, big pinch of salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped, or 1 cup chocolate chips

optional: Ground cocoa nibs and fleur de sel

Lightly oil a baking sheet with an unflavored vegetable oil.  Alternatively, use a 9”x9” square baking pan, line with a parchment paper sling (about 2 inches hanging over the sides) and spray with cooking spray.  Sprinkle half the nuts into a rectangle about 8”x 10" on the baking sheet or the entire 9”x9” baking pan.  (Or for a less nutty toffee, skip the nuts on this layer.)

 In a medium heavy-duty saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer, heat the water, butter, salt, and both sugars. Cook, stirring as little as possible, until the thermometer reads 300 F degrees. (The recipe did not specify what temperature the stove should be on, so I left it on medium heat for about 10 minutes, then nudged the dial up just a bit and it reached temperature.)  Have the vanilla and baking soda handy.  Immediately remove from heat and stir in the baking soda and vanilla.

Quickly pour the mixture over the nuts on the baking sheet or pan. Try to pour the mixture so it forms a relatively even layer. If necessary, gently but quickly spread with a spatula, but don't overwork it. Strew the chocolate pieces over the top and let stand 2 minutes, then spread in an even layer with an offset spatula.

If using, sprinkle with a small handful of cocoa nibs and a flurry of fleur des sel.
Sprinkle the remaining nuts over the chocolate and gently press them in with your hands.

Cool completely and break into pieces to serve. Store in an airtight container for up to ten days.