Line large baking sheet with waxed paper, set aside.
For best results, assemble all ingredients before starting.
In 10- or 12-inch skillet melt butter until sizzling; add almonds, with wooden spoon (not rubber spatula), until sugar and nuts are golden brown (4 to 9 minutes). (Watch closely to prevent burning.) Immediately remove from heat; sprinkle with desired topping above. (Do not stir.)
Working quickly, using two spoons, drop level tablespoonfuls of almond mixture, forming mounds, onto prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate until firm (about 45 minutes).
Place individual clusters in paper candy cups or on squares of colored foil; store in airtight container at room temperature. Candy cups and colored foil are available at cake decorating stores.
Almond Toffee: Omit topping. Quickly spread candy mixture in very thin layer onto prepared baking sheet. Cool completely (at least 30 minutes).
Break into small pieces. Store in airtight containers. Place in jars or cellophane bags for gift giving.Servings: 30