This irresistible Toffee recipe is the perfect holiday treat with a rich buttery flavor, satisfying crunch, and simple ingredient list. It’s easy to make, and we’ve made it even easier with our video tutorial on how to make toffee included below.
Toffee is one of our family’s favorite homemade candy recipes. We love to wrap it up as gifts for neighbors, teachers, and friends. It’s also a great addition to your holiday cookie platter along with Sugar Cookies, classic Gingerbread Cookies, and don’t forget the Candied Pecans.
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What is Toffee?
Toffee candy is a sweet confection made by slowly heating butter and sugar to the hard crack stage, about 300 degrees. English toffee is traditionally made with brown sugar for a darker color and deep caramel flavor (think SKOR bars), while in America, it’s often called buttercrunch candy and is made with white sugar and topped with a layer of melted chocolate and nuts. Think Heath bars or Almond Roca.
These days, the two names are used interchangeably, because when it’s this buttery and delicious, what’s in a name anyway?
Here’s why you’ll love it:
- So Tasty – Amazing buttery, chocolatey flavor, and perfect crunch
- Easy – with step-by-step directions
- Foolproof – we included tips to ensure success
- Homemade gift idea – Impressive enough to give as gifts
- Keeps well – Can last a long time on the counter—but only if it doesn’t get eaten first.
Homemade Toffee Video
Watch Natasha make this easy toffee recipe to learn her foolproof technique. Let’s get cooking!
Toffee can be made without fancy equipment, but it’s so much easier and failproof with a candy thermometer, heavy-bottom pan, and a wooden spoon.
Ingredients for English Toffee
With only 5 main ingredients, this toffee recipe is easy to make.
- Almonds – toasted (use store-bought or see our Pro-tip on toasting your own nuts below) and chopped, you can substitute with any kind of nut. You can also omit nuts if needed.
- Sugar – this recipe uses white sugar for the light caramel color, crunch, and flavor.
- Butter – we use unsalted butter to control the sodium
- Vanilla extract – use homemade vanilla or storebought to add flavor, but it can be omitted if needed.
- Salt – sea salt balances the butter and sugar perfectly
- Chocolate chips – we use semi-sweet chocolate, but you can use milk chocolate for a sweeter candy or bitter-sweet for less sweet. You can also use chopped chocolate.
It’s easy to make this toffee recipe your own, try these ideas:
- Nuts: Swap the almonds for pecans, walnuts, cashews, or pistachios (or a mix of nuts)
- Chocolate: Use white chocolate chips or butterscotch chips instead of regular chocolate or use a combination and swirl the chocolates when spreading
- Add toppings: you can make them festive by adding sprinkles, or try toffee bits, flaked salt, or candy cane pieces
How to Make Toffee
The secret to making toffee is low, consistent heat to avoid breaking the candy, so fight the temptation to speed up the process, it will be well worth your patience! Also, a clip-on thermometer takes all the guesswork out of it.
- Prep the ingredients before beginning because once the butter and sugar get to temperature, you have to move quickly – grease and line a 9″x12″ or 9”x9” baking dish.
- Toast the nuts: Heat whole almonds over medium heat in a skillet for 5-7 minutes. They can burn easily, so stir every 30 seconds and don’t walk away. Or roast the nuts on a baking sheet at 325 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Chop the toasted almonds and spread half of them over the prepared baking dish.
- Mix butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a heavy-bottomed, 3-4 quart saucepan (the bottom of the pot is thicker than the sides). Heat over medium heat while stirring with a wooden spoon until it comes to a boil. Then slowly stir continuously for about 8-10 more minutes until the mixture gets to the hard crack stage (300-310 degrees) and resembles the color of peanut butter or caramel. Careful it’s hot!
- Pour the toffee immediately onto the nuts on the parchment-lined pan, and then tilt the pan to spread the toffee over the nuts.
- Sprinkle chocolate chips over the hot candy and let it melt for 2 minutes until glistening. Then use an offset spatula to spread the chocolate evenly over the candy. Sprinkle on the remaining nuts (or other toppings) and lightly push them down to stick.
To stir the toffee, use a long-handled wooden spoon to keep your hand away from the hot sugar. The wood won’t cause temperature changes that will make your toffee separate.
Let the toffee cool completely until the chocolate is set and hard, which takes at least two hours. Use a knife to cut toffee into various-sized pieces or use your hands to break up the toffee. Your toffee is ready to serve and enjoy.
Caramel and toffee contain cooked butter and sugar, but caramel includes milk or cream and cooks to a lower temperature for a softer, creamier consistency. Toffee is cooked hotter to the hard crack stage where the candy dries hard. But wait, what’s butterscotch? Here’s a great explanation.
If you notice a buttery layer forming in your toffee, the candy might be separating. This usually happens when it is heated too quickly, heated higher than 310 degrees, or if the temperature fluctuates too much while cooking. It may also be from stirring too vigorously.
You can try to save separated toffee in the pot by removing the pan from the heat and stirring until the buttery layer mixes back in.
You don’t need one, but it makes it so much easier! A clip-on thermometer is our go-to and be sure to test the candy temperature without touching the bottom of the pan. If you’re making candy at a high altitude your hard crack temperature may be lower.
The sugar can become grainy or crystalized with uneven heating or rapid stirring. Try stirring slowly and don’t scrape the sides of the pan. If you do see sugar crystallizing, wet a pastry brush with a bit of water and try sweeping it back into the candy.
A candy thermometer reading 300 degrees is your best bet, but you can also look at the color as it should be the color of peanut butter. Another option is to do a hard crack test: Drip a few drops of candy into a cup of cold water. If it is bendable, it’s not ready, but if it snaps, it’s ready.
Sure. Remember it may take longer to get to hard crack temperature, but be patient! Also, make sure you use a bigger pan to set the candy since you don’t want it too thick.
Homemade Toffee keeps well on the counter, so it’s easy to make ahead and give as gifts.
- To Store: layer between parchment or wax paper in an airtight container on the counter for 7-10 days
- To Refrigerate: store the container in the fridge for 2 weeks
- Freezing: Freeze the container for 3 months
- To Thaw: set in the refrigerator overnight
This buttery, crunchy homemade toffee recipe is the perfect holiday candy that’s easy and fun to make. It stores well and is perfect for a dessert table or to give as a gift. Whip some up today!
More Homemade Candy and Treats
After you make this easy toffee recipe, check out these other great holiday dessert recipes you’re sure to love:
This crunchy English Toffee is one of our favorite Homemade Candy recipes and makes for the perfect gift. It’s also a great addition to your holiday cookie platter. With only 5 ingredients, it’s simple to whip up, and with our video tutorial above, you’ll love this easy toffee recipe.
Prep: Grease a 9×12 or 9×9 metal baking dish, and line it with parchment paper. Do not grease the top of the parchment paper.
Toast the nuts: Heat whole almonds over medium heat in a skillet for 5-7 minutes. They can burn easily, so stir every 30 seconds and don’t walk away. Or roast the nuts on a baking sheet at 325 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Coarsely chop almonds and spread half of them evenly into your parchment-lined baking pan. Set aside the remaining nuts for topping.
In a large heavy saucepan (at least 3-4 quarts), combine butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Set over medium heat and use a wooden spoon to stir constantly until the butter melts and the mixture comes to a boil. Slowly stir continuously until it turns a caramel color and reaches at least 300 ̊F on a candy thermometer (300-310 is the hard crack stage and takes about 8 to 10 minutes over medium heat). Be careful since the mixture is extremely hot (do not sample!) and will brown quickly toward the end.
Immediately pour your toffee into your prepared pan. Right away tilt the pan to spread evenly over the nuts. It doesn’t have to reach the edges or look even.
While hot, sprinkle the top with chocolate chips and rest for 2 minutes (they will glisten once they have softened) then use an offset spatula to spread the chocolate evenly over the surface. Sprinkle on the remaining 1/2 cup of nuts, pressing them gently into the chocolate layer to adhere.
Let cool for at least 2 hours at room temperature or unit the chocolate is fully set then cut or break into pieces to serve. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
178kcal Calories14g Carbs2g Protein14g Fat