English Toffee

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Photography Credit: Irvin Lin

Toffee is so dangerous for me to have around the house. No one should eat as much as I do when it’s available.

But for special occasions, I’m more than happy to bust out the sugar and whip up a batch!

This nutty, chocolate-covered toffee is the quintessential holiday treat, perfect for nibbling at the end of a big meal or gifting to a friend.

Homemade English ToffeeI make this classic English toffee with sugar, butter and touch of salt. A thin layer of chocolate over the toffee makes it even more of a treat, plus there are nuts in both the toffee itself and sprinkled over top.

I use chopped toasted pecans in my toffee, but feel free to omit the nuts or substitute another nut in its place.

I also opt for dark chocolate chips because toffee is pretty sweet and the dark chocolate helps balance that sweetness. But feel free to use whatever chocolate you like to eat. White, milk or dark chocolate are all good!

Homemade English ToffeeMaking toffee a isn’t very difficult, but it can feel scary if you don’t do it very often.

My one tip is to get a decent candy thermometer. Yes, you can go by the color of the caramel to gauge when it’s ready, or you can drop a spoonful in a glass of water to see if it forms a ball. But why fuss with either option when a candy thermometer costs $8 and is such a better way to guarantee a successful, delicious batch of toffee?

If you’ve never used a candy thermometer before, this recipe is a good place to start. It’s fairly forgiving and doesn’t require many steps. Just heat the sugar, butter, and corn syrup to between 295F to 305F (hard crack stage), and you’re done.

By the way, the corn syrup in this recipe helps prevent the sugar from crystalizing. This gives you one more layer of insurance when making this toffee.

If you’re still feeling nervous, place a bowl of ice water near the stove. This way, if you do accidentally spill some hot caramel on your hand, you can immediately plunge your hand into the water.

Please don’t let any of this scare you away from making toffee. It’s significantly easier than you might think, and the reward for your bravery will be all the English toffee you can eat!

English Toffee Recipe

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  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Cooling time: 1 hour
  • Yield: About 40 pieces

You can substitute any favorite nut or chocolate in this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (130 g) pecans
  • 1 1/2 cups (340 g or 3 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups (400 g) white granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups (10 to 12 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Special equipment:

Method

1 Toast the pecans: Place the pecans in a medium skillet and turn the heat to medium high. Dry-toast the pecans (without oil), stirring frequently, until they start to brown and smell nutty. Remove from heat and let cool.

2 Line a 9 x 13 baking pan with aluminum foil. Roughly chop the cooled pecans. Sprinkle half of the chopped pecans in the bottom of the pan evenly. Set aside the remaining pecans for sprinkling over top.

Homemade English Toffee

3 Make the toffee: Place the butter, sugar, corn syrup and salt in a large saucepan. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan; make sure the tip is submerged in the ingredients but doesn't touch the bottom of the pan.

Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the butter has melted. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has melted and the mixture has turned golden brown. The toffee is ready when it reaches 295F to 305F (hard crack stage) on the candy thermometer. Total cooking time should be 10 to 15 minutes.

4 Pour the toffee over the chopped pecans in the baking pan. Spread the toffee evenly over the bottom of the pan with a heatproof spatula and tap the pan a few times to force any air bubbles to pop.

Homemade English Toffee

5 Let the toffee cool for 2 to 3 minutes, then sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over top. Wait another 3 minutes, until the chips look softened and partially melted from the residual heat of the toffee. Use an offset spatula or heatproof spatula to spread the melted chocolate evenly over the top of the toffee.

Homemade English Toffee Homemade English Toffee

6 Sprinkle the remaining chopped pecans over the chocolate. Carefully press the pecans into the chocolate with the palms of your hands.

Homemade English Toffee

7 Let cool to room temperature (about an hour) then move it to the fridge to cool overnight.

8 Once cooled, pull the toffee up directly out of the pan with the aluminum foil and then peel the foil off. Coarsely chop or break the toffee into small pieces pieces.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

Homemade English Toffee

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Irvin Lin

Irvin Lin is an IACP award-winning photographer, food writer and recipe developer, blue-ribbon baker, public speaker and occasional social media consultant. His blog is Eat the Loveand his first cookbook is Marbled, Swirled and Layered.

More from Irvin

Homemade English Toffee

Showing 4 of 18 Comments

  • Autumn

    My husband made this toffee this weekend. It was so good that he made another double batch to give to his coworkers. It is SO good and very easy to make.

  • Karen

    Does anyone have thoughts on how long this will last? If I make it this weekend, will it still be good next week?

  • Lamia

    Hi, I don’t have any corn syrup, but I do have a can of cane syrup. I know that cane syrup is often used in place of corn syrup in pecan pie. Do you know if it would work here? Thanks!

  • Mary Pisarkiewicz

    This is a wonderful recipe!

  • Barbara

    I can’t buy corn syrup in my country, can someone post a recipe to make it? Thank you in advance.

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