English Toffee

December 22, 2008


The BEST English Toffee recipe!  Step by step tutorial for candy making novices too.  YUM!

This is amazing toffee.  Hands down, the best I’ve ever had.  My neighbors have now come to expect it every Christmas! It always gets rave reviews, even from people who say they don’t like toffee. This stuff made me a total toffee snob. Even my ultra-picky kids love it. Thanks to Steph for teaching me the fine art of Christmas candy!

UPDATE: This year (2013), instead of doing neighbor gifts, we challenged our kids to come up with a family service project.  From the get-go our 9 year old was pretty set on donating money to our Typhoon-stricken friends in the Philippines.  (Our good friends down the street are from the Philippines, so this is closer to home for us)  They decided that the best way to earn money was to sell something.  We decided that we would nix the neighbor gifts and sell our Christmas toffee.  Hubs and I donated all the supplies, ingredients, and toffee skills.  The kids are helping sell it to whoever will buy it.  I was expecting to raise maybe $100.  The response has been better than I could have hoped for.  So far we have received orders for more than 80 bags of toffee!!  And we aren’t done yet.  We are truly humbled by the generous response from our neighbors (and my sister!) who are helping us earn the money we will donate to a trusted charity to aid in this large-scale recovery.  Thank you to everyone who has helped my children see the bigger picture and true meaning of Christmas.  My eyes are wet and my tender mommy heart is full.

So.  I recommend starting out with an experienced friend.  It’s not hard to make, but there are some tricks that will take it from okay to stellar.  And then you get to hang out with someone cool.  Because cool people make Christmas candy!  I took a million pictures (some of which were in bad, but unavoidable, lighting).  Here is my process!

Start with everything you need.  Sugar, water, butter, corn syrup, almonds and chocolate.  Plus a rimmed cookie sheet and a 1/4 size rimmed cookie sheet (for toasting the almonds).  I like the use the 1 lb butter blocks (I buy mine at Costco) because it’s less work to unwrap one thing than four.  Yes, I’m that lazy.  They’re usually a tiny bit cheaper than the butter quarters.  So I’m not lazy, I’m smart.  Yep, I’ll go with that.

The BEST English Toffee recipe!  Step by step tutorial for candy making novices too.  YUM!

I add the ingredients in this order to keep the sides of the pot clean.  You don’t want sugar sticking somewhere that it won’t be dissolved.  This method has been magical for me.  I always start out at a med-lo heat.

The BEST English Toffee recipe!  Step by step tutorial for candy making novices too.  YUM!

Grab your favorite kitchen helper-stirer, hopefully in a zebra apron. 
The BEST English Toffee recipe!  Step by step tutorial for candy making novices too.  YUM!
Add the almonds.  {Adding them now will result in gloriously toasty almonds.  Many recipes suggest putting your chopped almonds on the cookie sheet, and then pouring the hot toffee over top of them.  I will never do it that way.  Ever.} Raise the heat, and then stir frequently until it begins to darken.  Once it has started to darken, stir constantly to avoid burning your toffee.

The BEST English Toffee recipe!  Step by step tutorial for candy making novices too.  YUM!

 Once it is this color, pour it into your rimmed cookie sheet and immediately spread it evenly.  Do this while it is piping hot!  It begins to harden quickly.  Sometimes I take the excess toffee off my spreading spoon and press it into the toffee.  Sometimes I just eat it.  Okay, usually I just eat it.  {I like to leave one corner a little bare so it is easier to grab the edge once I start breaking it into chunks.}  Once it is spread evenly in the pan, pour the chocolate chips on the hot toffee in a single layer.  Let the chocolate chips become glossy and then spread with a spoon.

The BEST English Toffee recipe!  Step by step tutorial for candy making novices too.  YUM!

Seriously, luscious is the only word I have for this.  Then take your toasted, chopped almonds and sprinkle them over the warm chocolate.  Once it has cooled completely, break it apart, package it up, and sell it to everyone!  And try harder than I did to spell a tricky word correctly.

The BEST English Toffee recipe!  Step by step tutorial for candy making novices too.  YUM!
3 people ordered them for office/neighbor gifts.  How awesome are our neighbs!!  I usually make 3 or 4 batches of toffee in a Christmas season.  So far I have made 8, and we aren’t done!  We are truly grateful for this opportunity and for everyone that is helping to make it happen.  Merry Christmas! 

The BEST English Toffee recipe!  Step by step tutorial for candy making novices too.  YUM!

English Toffee

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 c water
  • 1 lb butter (salted)
  • 4 T light corn syrup
  • 1 (scant) cup almonds, rough chopped
  • 11.5 oz bag high quality chocolate chips (I use Guittard or Ghirardelli)
  • 1/3 cup almonds, chopped and toasted

Directions:

  1. In a large pot with a heavy bottom, add first 5 ingredients in order listed, over med-low heat. Once sugar is dissolved, turn heat to med-hi. 
  2. Wash down sides of pot to make sure no sugar crystals remain undissolved. 
  3. Cook to hard crack stage (stirring constantly the last 10 or 15 minutes). 
  4. Pour into a rimmed cookie sheet. Spread to edges (leave one edge a little bare, if desired). 
  5. Sprinkle with chocolate. Let chocolate soften (it will look glossy), then spread evenly with the back of a spoon. 
  6. Sprinkle with chopped, toasted almonds. 
  7. Cool completely, break apart.  
  8. Share.  
  9. Listen to praise.

Notes:

  • There are several methods to “wash down” the sides of your pot. I was taught to rinse my spoon and then carefully scrape the sides around the pot. So far so good.
  • I shouldn’t even say this, but I don’t even “wash down” the sides of the pot anymore because this method works so well for me.  That being said, always wash down the sides of your pot!!  If any sugar crystals remain undissolved, it could turn your toffee grainy, which would ruin your result.
  • I burned my first solo batch of toffee because I didn’t realize my high elevation made my candy thermometer inaccurate. Talk about frustrating. Around 285 degrees will work for my Salt Lake neighbors. Or just make it once, and then cook it to that color next time.  The candy will also give off a puff of smoke as you’re stirring, when it’s done.
  • I like milk chocolate, but use your favorite kind. Just be sure to use a good, quality chocolate. I made some one time with store-brand chocolate, and then I made one with good chocolate. Big difference.

*Caution: This will make you a toffee snob. One year (2007) several of my mother’s neighbors took her homemade toffee. I tasted and critiqued them in front of my sister-in-law. None of them compared to this toffee, and I’m pretty sure she thought I was a total jerk as I listed the faults of each one.  But seriously, one tasted like soap.  And one was chewy.  One just didn’t taste very good.  It was so sad.  Remember to be courteous (at least out loud) as you taste other toffees.  πŸ™‚

The BEST English Toffee recipe!  Step by step tutorial for candy making novices too.  YUM!


By Becky

Becky is a mom to 4 kiddos and wife to an awesome guy. She's a food fanatic and loves creating and improving recipes. Bread is her weakness and delicious food is her passion!