English Toffee

English Toffee

  • 1 pound unsalted butter
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped salted nuts, divided (I used cashews, but almonds or pecans are also good)
  • 2 cups bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips or finely chopped chocolate
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 2 baking sheet pans
  • parchment paper
  • wooden spoon
  • heavy-bottomed stock pot
  • pastry brush


Baker's Note:  The addition of the corn syrup helps to prevent the sugar from crystallizing and/or separating from the butter while cooking.  Maintaining even temperature while cooking is important; a gas stove would be ideal, but I only have an electric stove, so a good quality, heavy-bottomed stock pot helps to maintain the temperature.

Line the baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.  Place the butter in the stockpot and melt over medium/medium-low heat.  Add the sugar, corn syrup, water, salt and nutmeg.  Stir gently with a wooden spoon, to dissolve the sugar, taking care not to splash the sides of the pan.  Use a wet pastry brush to wash down any sugar crystals that stick to the sides of the pan.  Rinse and dry the spoon to get rid of sugar crystals.

As the mixture begins to boil, continue to cook over medium/medium-low heat, stirring constantly but slowly and gently, just lazily trailing the spoon through the boiling sugar.  Cook until the toffee reaches the hard crack stage, about 25-30 minutes.

Baker's Note:  Candy thermometers have a recommended temperature for the stages of candy making from caramel to soft crack to hard crack, etc.  I find these to be unreliable, especially at high altitude, so I don't use a thermometer.  Instead, when the toffee begins to darken to pale amber in color, I drizzle a few strands of the toffee into a glass of ice water and then test the consistency between my teeth.  If it's chewy, it's not ready; continue testing it every minute until it crunches, and the toffee has reached the hard crack stage.

When the toffee has reached the correct temperature/hard crack stage, remove from the heat.  Quickly stir in the vanilla (the toffee will hiss and bubble) and 2 cups of the nuts.  Immediately pour onto the parchment-lined baking sheets, spreading it out to 1/4 inch thick.  Sprinkle with the chocolate chips; after a few minutes, when the chocolate is glossy and beginning to melt, spread the chocolate over the toffee.  Sprinkle with the reserved 1/2 cup nuts and the sea salt.

Let the toffee cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, then refrigerate to finish setting the chocolate.  With a sharp knife, break the toffee into shards and pack into containers.

Yields about 4 pounds toffee

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen