I grew up with some fully-formed ideas about, of all things, Toblerone chocolate bars. Firstly, as a kid I convinced myself that the droning chorus-y bit to Heavenly Pop Hit by the Chills was them singing “Toblerone, toblerone” over and over again. I know, what? A slight stretch of the imagination, but I was young, and there was no Google, and possibly I liked the idea of a band singing about a chocolate bar more than I enjoyed fact-checking, so I let my ears believe what they wanted. Less bizarrely, but closer to the truth, this chocolate bar was indelibly associated with other people going overseas. Yes, Mum and I went to Melbourne once when I was five to see her best friend, but that aside we weren’t given to big holidays at the drop of a pay packet. However someone at school must’ve been, because I distinctly remember talk of Toblerones upon their return, and associating them with fancy-pants overseas trips. These days you can just buy this particular chocolate bar from your corner dairy, but back in the day, when it spoke of air travel and rock’n’roll, the very idea of just having one felt unspeakably sophisticated.
I’d like to posit myself as bearing no ill-will towards the Toblerone. They’re really, really nice if you manage to get your hands on one, there’s no attitude here of “the world needs urgently a new version of the Toblerone and I charge myself with the noble duty of providing an inconvenient and slightly inferior appropriation!” Nooo.
I just like crunchy toffee nutty chocolatey stuff, and why should Toblerone be the only thing that gets to monopolise that combination?
So I made this stuff, inspired by that chocolate bar. It’s kind of a slice, kind of just melted chocolate with more sugar added, but it’s simple and seriously wonderful to eat with its crystals of toffee and bashed up toasted almonds. Fine as is, broken into rough shards, particularly effective when chopped up and sprinkled over icecream.
Toffee Brittle Chocolate
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup salt (jokes! A small pinch of salt, that’s all)
250g dark chocolate, broken into pieces (I used Whittaker’s Dark Cacao)
Firstly, toast the almonds in a saucepan over a low heat till lightly browned. Tip them into either a silicon baking dish, or a medium-sized baking dish (the sort you could fit a roast chicken into, but not two, or use a pie dish) lined with baking paper. In the same saucepan, slowly melt the sugars and the water over a low heat, and bring to the boil without stirring. Stirring causes bigger crystals to form which isn’t what we’re after here. Allow it to bubble away merrily for about five minutes until it smells like caramel and the syrup under the silvery bubbles appears to be dark brown. At this point, carefully but quickly pour it over the almonds, getting as much as you can out with the help of a spatula. Sprinkle over the salt and allow to set.
Once set, chop it all up very roughly and then transfer it all back into the baking dish. Then slowly melt the chocolate and tip it over the chopped up almond toffee, stirring to mix. It’ll look rough and like the chocolate’s not going to cover everything, but that’s all good. Pop in the freezer for a bit to set properly, then break into small pieces and serve as you wish.
I’ve been keeping it in a container in the freezer, and something about the icecold chocolate makes the delicate almond crunchiness even more excellent. It’s perfect for a sweet thing after a big dinner but also, as I said, completely delicious chopped up over ice cream.
On Saturday night I went to see Rose Matafeo’s show Scout’s Honour as part of the Comedy Festival. I didn’t know tooooo much about her apart from she’s on TV and on Twitter seems like my kind of person, but in real life, on stage, she is a scream. Hilarious. She’s got some shows coming up in Auckland so if that’s where you’re from, I most definitely recommend attending. Not least because her show had tea and biscuits, and super-nice audience members. I was by myself and appreciated the rolling-with-the-punches niceness of the people either side of me. In that when I asked “can I sit here?” they said “sure” and smiled, rather than blankly staring at me, or saying no. But also: about halfway through her show she worked in a Babysitters Club joke, so, you know, free pass for life.