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English toffee on a square white plate

Best English Toffee Recipe

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This English Toffee Recipe is a must make every Christmas! It’s a beloved, irresistible holiday gift among my friends!

I shake up my holiday candy and baking list from time to time, but one sweet treat never changes.  I’ve been making this same Recipe for Toffee for over a decade; it’s the absolute best! Check out all my tips and tricks on how to make this decadent Christmas Candy

Classic English Toffee in a white ceramic bowl

English Toffee

Hands down, toffee is my favorite holiday treat. Buttery English Toffee.  I try to make just enough to give away so I can only snack on the small broken shards. Once you start snacking, you can not stop! It’s just that good.

Part of the goodie trays I give to my neighbors each year, I supplement with Easy Christmas Candies and my favorite holiday cookies. But this recipe for toffee is worth the effort. And one batch is never enough!!

I’ve even made a version topped with chopped Heath bars instead of pecans! Heavenly. It took me years to master this candy. A good quality Candy Thermometer is imperative. It’s the key to getting the toffee candy to the right “crack” or consistency.

Overhead view of Classic English Toffee on a square white plate

What is English Toffee?

Toffee (or toffy) is a candy made by cooking sugar, water, or cream to a temperature within the hard ball to hard crack candy range, depending on the outcome you want. This toffee is cooked to 290º right in the middle of the span of temperatures, in the soft crack stage.

How Does Toffee Differ from Caramel?

Both are sweet, amber-colored candies, but caramel candy is soft and chewy where toffee is hard and crunchy. The ingredient list is similar, but they’re cooked to different temperatures, and caramel has cream added where typically, toffee does not. On a molecular level, the sugar crystallization is different for each candy.

Overhead view of a white bowl filled with Christmas toffee

How to Make English Toffee

I’ve listed my best tips for making perfect homemade toffee below:

  • As with fudge and caramels, you need an accurate Digital Candy Thermometer. Test your thermometer by placing it in a pan of boiling water. The thermometer should read 212º Fahrenheit or 100º Celsius when it comes to a full boil.
  • Make sure the tip of the thermometer does not rest on the bottom of the pan or you will not get an accurate temperature.
  • Keep your burner on medium-high. Any lower and it will take forever to come to temperature and any higher, it will cook too quickly and the texture will be off. 
  • Use a heavy saucepan as it will allow the temperature to be maintained as well as minimizing scorching.
  • Because of the addition of corn syrup, this toffee will not recrystallize. But also avoid making on a humid day, less than 35% or the results could be sticky.
  • You don’t need to stir constantly, but instead frequently.
  • Stay near your boiling candy. You need to watch the temperature closely as it will rise rapidly once it approaches the 290º point.
  • Pull the pan off the heat at 290-300º. I used to cook to above 300º and only about half the batches were the correct consistency.
  • Use a Small Offset Spatula to gently move the hot candy across the Sheet Pan along with tilting the pan back and forth.
  • Add the chocolate while the candy is very hot so it melts. Use the offset spatula to spread it evenly across the candy’s surface as soon as it appears melted.
  • I add chopped, toasted pecans, but almonds are a delicious alternative. PRO-Tip: Toasting your nuts brings out the natural oils and enhances their flavor.
  • Be careful. This candy will burn your skin quickly if you spill. Keep young children at a distance while you’re making this.

More Holiday Candies You’ll Love:

Classic English Toffee in a round white bowl
Lambeau the labrador in the kitchen looking for crumbs

This best recipe for toffee was first shared in December 2010. Photos and text were updated in 2020. In fact, it was originally posted exactly 10 years ago today!

English toffee on a square white plate

The Recipe: Classic English Toffee

My favorite English Toffee recipe. Prepare to get lots of rave reviews!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Yield 48

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted (5-8 minutes at 350º)
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8-12 ounces milk chocolate, chopped

Instructions

  1. Cover baking sheet with silpat or lightly grease with Pam.
  2. Cut butter into pieces and mix with sugar, corn syrup and water. Bring to boil over medium high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Insert candy thermometer and allow to boil, stirring occasionally, until liquid turns amber and temperature reaches 290º. Remove from heat immediately and add vanilla. Stir to combine and pour onto prepared sheet.
  3. Allow to cool about a minute, then sprinkle with chocolate. Allow heat to melt chocolate, then smooth out with spatula. Sprinkle with nuts and gently pat down so nuts adhere to chocolate. Chill for 2 hours, then break into small pieces. Store in refrigerator.

Notes

Adapted from Gourmet Magazine.

One serving is 1 ounce of toffee. This recipe makes 48 ounces.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

48

Serving Size:

1 ounce

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 377Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 77mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 2gSugar: 36gProtein: 5g

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