Crunchy almond brittle

Crunchy almond brittle

The other day I had someone ask me if ‘those peanut butter things’ would travel well (the Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Tarts). I had to say that no, they probably wouldn’t, but it depends on how far he was going, maybe. “Singapore – it’s about a 30-hour flight”.

No, definitely not.

We did some brainstorming – I suggested things like maybe the Pecan Pralines, or bourbon balls, or I could make up a batch of Almond Brittle with chocolate…

That one, he says.

It’s been a few years since I’ve made this, but I used to make it all the time back when I lived in Addison. It’s a recipe from Marcel Desaulniers’ Death by Chocolate, and apparently it’s actually called Chocolate Honey Almond Crunch.  For some reason I never can remember the name correctly, so a long time ago I just wrote it on the inside cover of the book, with the page number, so I didn’t have to try and look it up under Almonds, or Crunchy, or whatever it’s under.

The thing that threw me when I went to make it was that it called for two 9×13 pans. I didn’t recall ever making it in two pans before – I’m pretty sure I just used a jelly roll pan (10×15). Well, maybe I should do it like the recipe says, maybe I’m mis-rembering…

(Always trust your first instinct, I think is my lesson here)

It didn’t turn out quite like I remembered it before – using a single pan (when the time came to pour it into the two prepared pans it just didn’t seem like enough, so I wimped and used one) threw off the cooking time, and I ended up overcooking it a little in the oven (as it was hard to tell the color, since it was so thick). I don’t think I used to use quite so many almonds, either – or maybe they spread out more in the bigger pan. Next time, I’m doing it in the jelly roll pan.

But all that aside, it was still the same wonderful flavor, and crunchiness. And right at the end, when you think it’s going to simply melt away, the honey shows up in a last bit of chewiness. The dark chocolate and almonds play nicely with the brittle, the flavors are wonderful… it’s just really great stuff.

Chocolate Honey Almond Crunch

From Death by Chocolate, Marcel Desaulniers

Ingredients

4 c Sliced almonds 1/2 c Granulated sugar
1/4 c Honey (I used sourwood)
1/2 c Water
6 oz Unsalted butter 4 oz Unsweetened chocolate;
8 oz Semi-sweet chocolate;

Equipment: 2 9×13 pans (I recommend one 10×15 pan)

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 325F degrees.

Toast 2 cups of almonds on a baking sheet in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 12 to 14 minutes. Remove the almonds from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Transfer the almonds to a large dish or other suitable container and set aside until needed.

Melt the butter in a 2 1/2-qt saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly as it melts so it does not simmer or boil. As soon as the butter is completely melted, add the sugar, water, rum, and honey. Increase the heat to medium high. Heat the mixture to a temperature of 220F degrees, stirring constantly.

Add the untoasted almonds and continue to heat and stir until the mixture reaches a temperature of 225F degrees.

Evenly divide the honey-almond mixture between the 2 baking sheets (or one bigger sheet). Place the baking sheets on the top and middle shelves of the preheated oven and bake until the mixture is evenly caramelized, about 24 to 26 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets from top to bottom about halfway through the baking time.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Combine the semi-sweet and unsweetened chocolate pieces and evenly divide and sprinkle over the surface of the caramelized honey-almond mixture. Allow to stand for 5 minutes. Use a spatula to spread the chocolate over the mixture. Evenly divide and sprinkle the toasted almonds over the chocolate.

Place the baking sheet in the freezer for 20 minutes. Remove from the freezer and break into irregular pieces. Store in a sealed plastic container in the freezer or refrigerator. Yields: About 2 3/4 pounds