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English Toffee Recipe – How to Make it in 12 Simple Steps

A close look at homemade English toffee with nuts on a chopping board.

Brittle, crunchy, and sweet, English toffee is an amazing treat that will be perfect as a gift, as a contribution to a holiday party, or simply as a treat for the family. Our recipe takes the process of making this treat and breaks it down so anyone can do it.

Making toffee is a little bit like a fun science experiment. Basically, you are taking butter and sugar and heating them until the sugar is transformed into a different texture. The temperature where the magic happens is between 300 and 320 degrees and is called by candy makers “the hard crack stage.”

At this temperature, the sugar becomes a brittle sheet of caramel flavored brittle.. After the mixture reaches this stage, you’ll spread the mass of fragrant, gooey sweetness onto a baking pan where it will cool into a buttery-rich sheet of candy. You can then top the toffee with chocolate and chopped nuts.

A close look at homemade English toffee with nuts.

English Toffee Recipe

April Freeman
Made from only a handful of ingredients, English toffee sounds like something that should be incredibly difficult to make. However, we want to let you in on a secret: it’s actually a lot easier than you might think! The key to this recipe is patience, a heavy-bottomed pot, and an accurate candy thermometer. You too can learn to make this delicious, decadent candy with our easy to follow instructions.
Course Snack
Cuisine British

Equipment

  • Cookie Baking Sheet
  • Medium-Sized Saucepan
  • Thermometer
  • Spatula

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 3/4 cup Chocolate Chips
  • 1/4 cup Chopped Nuts pecans, walnuts, or slivered almonds are perfect
  • 1 cup Butter or 2 sticks
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Instructions
 

  • Before you start, measure out all of your ingredients. Things move quickly in candy making and you don’t want to be digging through a drawer while something is burning.
  • Also, prepare a cookie sheet by lining it with a piece of parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray.
  • In a medium-sized saucepan with a heavy bottom, melt the butter and the sugar together with the salt over low heat. You can add a teaspoon of water to help the ingredients melt a little more evenly. Take your time and don’t try to rush this process.
    The sauce is being thickened in a saucepot.
  • Once the butter and sugar are melted and mixed well, turn the heat up to medium-high. The mixture will start to bubble and foam as the water in the butter begins to evaporate.
  • You can now clip the thermometer to the side of the saucepan. Take care that you don’t rest the bulb of the thermometer on the bottom of the pot. The temperature should be close to 212 degrees, or the boiling point of water.
  • After the last of the water is cooked away, the mass will collapse into a thick goo. The temperature will again begin to rise. The temperature can rise pretty quickly once all the water is gone, so pay close attention to your thermometer. The goal is to remove the candy from the heat when the temperature reaches between 300 and 320 degrees.
  • After the correct temperature is reached, remove the pot from the stove, stir in the vanilla, and use the spatula to pour it on the prepared pan.
  • Spread it out into a large rectangle, evenly smoothing the candy into a consistent layer.
  • While the candy is still very hot, sprinkle the chocolate chips on the candy layer. Wait about four or five minutes and use a spatula or an icing spreader to spread the now melty chocolate chips all over the toffee in an even later.
  • While the chocolate is still melty, sprinkle it with the nuts. You may want to use a spatula to kind of “tap” the nuts more firmly in the chocolate.
  • Let the toffee cool to about room temperature on the counter, and then slide it in the refrigerator to cool for at least half an hour.
  • When the time is up the toffee will be brittle and firm and so should the chocolate. You can break it into pieces and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you and your family eat it all, which probably won’t take long!

Notes

There are a few things that will make your adventure in candy making a success. First and foremost, an accurate candy thermometer is a necessity. You have to heat the sugary goo to at least 300 degrees but not more than 320 degrees. If the temperature is too low, the candy will be a sticky, chewy blob instead of a brittle crispy sheet.
If the temperature goes too high, you risk it being unable to maintain its solid-state, and over time, it may end up sticky and more like caramel. Use the kind of thermometer that clips to the side of the pot because you will need to stir the pot constantly.
You will need a baking sheet lined with a silicone pad or a sheet of parchment sprayed with cooking spray. Don’t use waxed paper. You need the heavier weight of the parchment. If the parchment rolls up on the sheet, use a dab of butter at each corner to keep it flat.
Also, it’s helpful to have a heavy-bottomed pot to help the candy cook very evenly without scorching. You should choose a pot that is deep enough for the candy to bubble up significantly. In the first step of the recipe, the candy will almost double in size as the water is cooked out of the mixture. If you choose a pot that is too small, you risk having a messy, dangerous boil-over.
A heatproof silicone spatula is perfect for this recipe. It helps scrape the candy from the pot without leaving too much in the pot. Also, using this kind of spatula can help you spread the candy without the gooey mass sticking to the spatula excessively.
You will need to spend most of the cooking time stirring the mixture, and you must pay close attention to the temperature. Therefore, you probably want to turn off your phone and make sure that someone else is keeping an eye on the kids for a while if you want to create this recipe. Remember that boiling sugar reaches very, very hot temperatures which can cause terrible burns. Be very careful as you make toffee to avoid injury.
Keyword English Toffee, Recipe, Snack
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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