1 1/2 cups sliced almonds, divided use
2 sticks butter (I use salted) -- 1/2 pound
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
8 ounces good quality dark or milk chocolate, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread 1/2 cup of the almonds on a non-stick cookie sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes or until toasted and aromatic. Set aside.
Line a 13x9 inch pan with parchment paper and set next to stove.
Place butter in a heavy, medium sized (3 qt or larger) saucepan and melt over medium heat. When butter is mostly melted, stir in sugar, warm water and salt. Set a deep fry thermometer in pan, being careful that bulb is not touching bottom of pan. Cook mixture over medium heat, stirring once in a while (once or twice around), until it reaches 240 degrees F.
At 240 degrees, add the remaining 1 cup sliced almonds to sugar mixture. After adding almonds, stir constantly, keeping heat at medium, until mixture reaches 295 degrees F. If temperature is not rising at a slow and steady rate, raise heat a tiny bit until mercury starts rising. When mixture reaches 295 degrees F, immediately remove from heat and stir in baking soda. Pour into parchment lined pan. The mixture should be kind of a liquid blob at hit point and if you are on track, the pan will be clean when you dump the blog onto the parchment. Mixture will begin to firm, and butter may pool and separate, Do not pour off any excess butter. Do not panic, because if you cooked the toffee to 295, your candy should set. Sometimes it just takes longer.
Scatter chopped chocolate across top of hot almond mixture and let chocolate melt into and over the candy as candy firms. Using back of a spoon, spread melted chocolate evenly over candy. Crush your toasted almonds and sprinkle over melted chocolate. Let candy cool for 1/2 hour at room temperature. Transfer to refrigerator and chill for about 1 hour to firm chocolate.
When chocolate is set is set, lift candy from pan by grasping parchment. Break candy into large chunks.