High off my success at making hazelnut brittle with my trusty new candy thermometer, I decided to try my hand at chocolate almond crackle. This recipe had a few things going for it: It was in a cookbook called “No Time to Cook,” it was written by the amazing Donna Hay, and it was only a paragraph long. I’d already made some entrees from this cookbook that turned out well and so I was feeling confident.
Amended instructions: Toast 1 cup of your favourite nut (I used slivered almonds as per the recipe); flatten it out in a layer in a greased baking tray. Then place 1.5 cups of sugar and 1/3 cup of water in a saucepan over high heat.
Cook this mixture without stirring for 8-10 minutes or until the mixture is a golden colour. Pour this over the almonds and let it harden. Spread 150 g of melted dark chocolate over the hardened toffee and allow it to set in the fridge. Break into large pieces.
Would I make this again? Nope. I waited 8-10 minutes, I even used my thermometer, but the colour of the syrup never turned golden. When I used my candy thermometer to determine that I had already reached the hard crack stage, I proceeded with the recipe anyway. Bad move.
I should have just dumped the lot and saved my almonds and chocolate from a tragic death. I can’t say this crackle was inedible.
But I found myself thinking it was a waste of energy even chewing it. For whatever reason, the sugar-water mixture never caramelized and all I could taste was sugar. Plain, old sugar. Hard sugar that was hard to bite through and that might destroy a denture or two. Nothing more. My husband and mother had a couple of courteous bites after I grumbled about what a disaster it was but they didn’t reach for anymore. (Either they are loyal, or they are scared of my reaction).
Grade: One out of five. The only point scored is because it looks pretty in a tin. And I could have just told you it turned out well, right? Well, I don’t lie. And that often leads to my downfall, but I can’t do it. I will admit, though, that I was tempted to ignore I ever made this.
So – don’t make this. Better yet, if you are a pro pastry chef, or even a very good amateur one, please tell me what I did wrong. I can’t promise I will try to amend my mistake with this recipe, but I will file that tidbit of trivia away in my brain cells devoted to baking and cooking.