Toffee Recipes

Linda Johnson Larsen
homemade toffee
English Butter Toffee

Toffee is a classic and delicious candy that is a treasured treat for many families, but many people assume the candy is difficult to make. With a bit of care and attention to accuracy, you can make toffee at home to start a delicious tradition.

English Butter Toffee

This classic recipe is everyone's favorite. It's buttery and rich, coated with chocolate and chopped nuts.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1-1/2 cups salted butter (no substitutes)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 2 cups chopped toasted pecans

Instructions

  1. Butter a 15" x 10" jelly roll pan with unsalted butter. Use only unsalted butter as salted butter will stick to the toffee.
  2. Combine the salted butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and salt in a large heavy saucepan.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium and brush the sugar crystals from the sides of the pan with a wet brush, or cover the pan for 2 minutes to let steam wash the crystals down the sides.
  5. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan, making sure the probe is in the syrup and not touching the sides or bottom of the pan.
  6. Then let the candy syrup boil, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes. The syrup will change color and become more golden.
  7. When the syrup reaches 300°F, remove the pan from the heat and add the vanilla, stirring gently.
  8. Pour the syrup into the buttered pan. Be careful, since this syrup can burn in an instant.
  9. Let the candy cool until it is firm, about 1 hour.
  10. Combine the semisweet chocolate and milk chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl.
  11. Microwave the chocolate on 50% power for 1 minute, then remove and stir. Continue microwaving at 50% power at 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval, until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
  12. Pour the chocolate over the hardened candy, spreading to coat.
  13. Sprinkle with the pecans.
  14. Let stand until the chocolate is set, then break the candy into pieces. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Serves 16 to 20

Sponge Toffee

Sponge toffee

Sponge toffee is also called honeycomb or sponge candy. This type of toffee uses vinegar and baking soda to create a fluffy, aerated texture. It's fun to watch this candy foam up as you add the baking powder. This toffee is crisp with an almost flaky texture. It melts in your mouth.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 5 teaspoons baking soda

Instructions

  1. Grease a 9" x 13" metal pan with unsalted butter and set aside.
  2. Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, light corn syrup, water, vinegar, and salt in a large heavy saucepan. The pan must be large because the candy will foam up and double in size when you add the baking soda.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently.
  4. Use a wet brush to wash down crystals from the sides of the pan, or cover the pan with a lid for 2 minutes.
  5. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Make sure the tip of the probe doesn't touch the bottom or sides of the pan.
  6. Reduce the heat to medium, and let the mixture boil, uncovered, until the temperature reads 300°F, about 30 minutes.
  7. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla and baking soda. The mixture will quickly foam up.
  8. Immediately pour the mixture carefully into the prepared pan.
  9. Let the candy stand until it is hard and cool.
  10. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Serves 16 to 20

Recipe Variations and Tips

Once you're comfortable making toffee as a recipe instructs, you can switch things up a little.

  • You can vary the proportions of granulated sugar and brown sugar in these recipes as long as the total amount of sugar remains the same.
  • Use different nuts to top the English toffee. Cashews, walnuts, and macadamia nuts would all be delicious.
  • You can use all dark chocolate, all milk chocolate, or a combination of both to top the English toffee.
  • If you are very patient, double the chocolate amount and the nut amount for the English toffee. Spread the toffee with half of the melted chocolate mixture, sprinkle with half of the nuts, and let it cool until set. Then carefully turn the entire sheet of toffee over and spread the other side with the remaining chocolate and sprinkle with the remaining nuts.
  • If you love nuts, stir about a cup of chopped nuts into the English toffee syrup before you pour it into the prepared pan.
  • The sponge toffee can also be coated with melted chocolate. Dip the broken pieces of this toffee into chocolate and let stand until set.

Tips for Creating the Right Conditions

Candy syrup boiling

Toffee can be finicky. Always pay strict attention to recipe guidelines. The ingredients are boiled until they reach the hard crack stage (295 - 320°F). A few degrees difference in either direction can drastically affect the finished texture, resulting in far too hard a candy or one that doesn't set properly. A candy thermometer is essential for toffee-making, and should be calibrated before each batch for greater accuracy.

Calibrating a Candy Thermometer

To calibrate a thermometer, bring a pot of water to a boil. Insert the thermometer probe into the water. It should read 212°F. If it doesn't, you must adjust the reading while you are making toffee. For instance, if the thermometer reads 210°F, and your toffee recipe calls for a final temperature of 304°F, remove the pot from the heat when your thermometer reads 302°F.

Making Toffee Without a Thermometer

If you don't have a candy thermometer, you can still make toffee. Use the water method. Put some cold water into a small dish. When the candy changes color to gold, spoon a small amount of the syrup into the water. At the hard crack stage, the syrup will separate into thin brittle strands that break easily. At that point, remove the pan from the heat and continue with the recipe.

Additional Tips for Success

For perfect results from your toffee recipes, consider these tips:

  • Choose a dry, cool day for candy making - excessive humidity will affect the recipe.
  • Use salted butter (unless specifically directed otherwise) to stabilize the ingredients and keep them from separating.
  • Keep the cooking temperature constant for gradual and consistent heating.
  • After the syrup comes to a boil, brush sugar crystals from the side of the pan into the mixture with a wet brush. You can also cover the pan with a lid to let steam wash the crystals into the syrup. Any sugar crystals introduced into the toffee syrup after it reaches hard crack stage will make the toffee crystallize and it will not be smooth.
  • Be very careful with boiling sugar syrup. It is extremely hot and can cause severe burns. Always use pot holders and long spoons and keep children and pets out of the kitchen while you are working.
  • Place toffee in the freezer for quick cooling before cracking into pieces.
  • Store the candy in a dry, airtight container to prevent stickiness.
  • With careful preparation, the glossy sheen of perfect toffee will mirror the sheen in everyone's eyes as they enjoy this delicious treat.

Enjoy Your Creation

Once you have made toffee for the first time, you will make it over and over again. Homemade toffee is so good that store bought candy pales in comparison. Give this toffee as a holiday present and you will become famous!

Toffee Recipes