To get through my last lot of assignments this semester I’ve come up with an individually tailored reward system. I set myself a number of words to reach and once I get there I’m allowed to cook something. After that I go back to writing and once I reach another goal I allow myself to clean up the mess I just made in the kitchen (aren’t I generous?). I don’t make anything that takes a really long time, my biggest reward for finishing my assignments will be to tackle my ever growing list of breads and pastries (my sister’s BF has sent me a recipe for Swiss Braided Bread that will be my first port of call). This does result in an excess of baked goods but I take care of that by packing them off with my sister to take to work, just doing my part to keep the gals of The Mater Foundation well fed and hard working (giving a shout out to SJ, who requested the recipe).
Now when I say crackers I do mean of the ‘cheese and crackers’ variety, something plain and possibly with a little bit of salt already sprinkled on top. This is yet another food that I enjoy feeding to people then asking them in a slightly maniacal tone of voice if they can guess what it is made of. They’re kind of the perfect storm of flavours and textures, you’ve got the chocolate, toffee, crunch from the crackers and toasty goodness from the almonds. As always, variations are encouraged, change the almonds to any other nut you might like, sprinkle over a little bit of sea salt or just leave it bare. The original recipe calls for a smaller amount of chocolate as well as using the heat from the caramel just out of the oven to melt the chocolate. I’m a fiend for dark chocolate so I upped the quantity and pre-melted the chocolate just for personal preference.
Chocolate Toffee Crunch
1 cup flaked almonds
4-6 sheets of crackers (I used Salada’s)
230g unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
big pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g 70% dark chocolate, chopped
3 tbsp coconut oil
Preheat the oven to 190 C, line a large rimmed baking tray with baking paper (mine is 26 x 39 and is only 2.5cm deep).
To toast the almonds place them in a wide pan over medium heat, stir constantly until the almonds start turning light brown then tip onto a plate to cool, set aside.
Completely line your prepared baking with the crackers, breaking some into small pieces to fill in any gaps, set aside.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat combine the butter and brown sugar, mix until the sugar and butter melt completely and keep stirring as the mixture comes to a boil, allow to bubble for 3 minutes (turn the heat down slightly if the mixture gets too high up the sides of the saucepan).
Take off the heat and add the salt and vanilla, mixing quickly, then pour over the prepared crackers, spreading the caramel evenly with a spatula.
Place the tray in the oven and reduce the temperature to 175 C, cook for 10-15 minutes, check every few minutes and if it is burning in spots then reduce the heat to 160 C.
Take the crackers and caramel out of the oven and leave to cool slightly, in the meantime combine the chocolate and coconut oil together and melt gently in the microwave (I use 1 minute bursts at 80% power but every microwave is different).
Pour the melted chocolate over the caramel covered crackers and spread evenly with an offset spatula, then evenly sprinkle over the toasted almonds.
Place the tray in the fridge until everything is set then break into pieces with your hands.