English Toffee

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.

Video! How to Make English Toffee

What is English Toffee?

I 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.

Ideas for Swaps and Substitutions!

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 Toffee Chunks on Table

Homemade English Toffee Chunks on Table

Tips For Toffee Perfection

Making toffee isn’t very difficult, but it can feel scary if you don’t do it very often. Here are a few tips to make it easier:

1. 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.

2. When it comes to toffee, corn syrup is your friend:

The corn syrup in this recipe helps prevent the sugar from crystallizing. This gives you one more layer of insurance when making this toffee.

3. Still 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!

Homemade English Toffee

Homemade English Toffee

From the editors of Simply Recipes

How to Keep Toffee from Getting Grainy

Toffee gets grainy when a stray sugar crystal gets in the melted mixture as it cooks. There are a few tricks to prevent that from happening.

  • Rub the inside of the pot with butter so sugar can’t cling to it.
  • Add the sugar in the center of the pot, so it does not touch the sides.
  • Once the mixture comes to a simmer, stop stirring, put a lid on the pan, and let it simmer 2 minutes to dissolve any stray crystals.
  • Use a wet pastry brush to brush away any sugar that splashed onto the sides of the pot.

How to Prevent the Layers from Separating

Hardened chocolate can separate from the toffee layer for a few reasons.

  • Use chopped chocolate instead of chips, and the chocolate layer will be more likely to stick. Chocolate chips have a non-melting coating to help them keep their shape. But when they melt, the coating can prevent the chocolate from sticking to the toffee.
  • Sometimes the chocolate melts at a temperature that makes it shrink when it hardens, pulling it away from the toffee layer. If your chocolate isn’t melting or spreading easily on the hot toffee in the sheet pan, use a hair dryer to re-melt the chocolate until it’s workable. Or pop the pan in a 300°F oven for a minute or so.

How to Adjust This Recipe for Altitude

This recipe was written for sea level. Cooks living at altitude will need to cook their toffee to a  slightly lower temperature. Look up the temperature water boils at for your elevation, then subtract that from 212°F. The number you get is how many degrees you should subtract from the 295 to 305°F range given in the recipe.

How to Store & Freeze Toffee

The toffee will keep at least 2 weeks at cool room temperature, stored in an airtight container with layers separated by waxed paper. Add a silica gel packet if you can (the kind that comes in shoe boxes!), which absorbs moisture and helps keep the toffee from getting sticky. Or refrigerate the toffee up to 3 months.

Can you freeze toffee? Yes! Freeze it in an airtight container, with layers separated by waxed paper, up to 3 months (or longer—we always ate it by then!)

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Updated November 23, 2020 : We added a new video to help you make the best toffee ever! No changes to the original recipe. Enjoy!