Preheat oven to 350. Toast almonds for 5 minutes until fragrant and golden brown. Set aside.
For thin toffee, lightly coat a 10 x 15 lipped cookie sheet or baking pan with cooking spray. For thicker toffee pieces, use a 9 x 13 sheet or pan. Alternatively, you can use a silpat mat and just eyeball your desired thickness (this is my preferred method.)
In a heavy bottom saucepan, add light brown sugar, unsalted butter, corn syrup and water. Stir to combine over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover with lid for 1 minute to wash any sugar residue off the sides of the pan.
Uncover and clip on candy thermometer. Cook the candy mixture without stirring until temperature reaches 285°F. Remove from heat immediately.
Add vanilla extract and baking soda. Stir vigorously for about 10 turns of the spatula and immediately pour over prepared baking sheet or pan. Using the non-stick spatula, spread the toffee evenly over the surface. Work quickly to spread the toffee, it will set within 30 seconds.
While the toffee is still warm, sprinkle evenly with milk chocolate chips and allow the heat from the toffee to melt the chips, about 1 to 2 minutes. Spread the melted chocolate evenly over the toffee. Top with almond pieces while chocolate is still warm.
Place the pan in the refrigerator until buttercrunch is firm, about 15-20 minutes. Turn out onto a cutting board, using a sharp knife cut into slightly larger than 'bite-sized' pieces or break apart with your hands.