Welcome to The Storied Recipe! This Classic Chocolate Covered Rich Butter Toffee Recipe was shared by 3 amazing sisters and their mother who make over 300lbs of candy for friends and charities each holiday season! You can listen to their episode - 3 Sisters, 300 Pounds of Chocolate and 3000 Candies - to get all the inside tips while you make their best toffee recipe!!
Homemade butter toffee is the ideal recipe for classic holiday gifts and bake sales! This melt-in-your-mouth classic English toffee is rich, smooth, buttery, and snappy. Cover with white, milk, or dark melted chocolate, decorate with sprinkles, add crunch with your favorite toasted nuts. Or, if you're a purist, leave it naked.
Making a true, authentic toffee is a bit tricky, at first. But you've got this! Read the tips in this post thoroughly. You could also listen to these three sisters and their mom who are experts in making this yummy treat.
The most important thing to remember is that even if it's not perfect the first time, you'll still end up with a delicious candy made of butter and sugar - and how wrong is that?! Trust me, it's impossible not to love it! So give it a try and enjoy the sweet rewards! 😉
For more scientific and historical information, read What is Toffee? And if you're using this toffee for a Christmas Box, try any one of these Christmas Desserts from Around the World to add into a Global Cookie Box!
- Listen to Theresa and Her Sisters Talk Toffee
- Follow The Storied Recipe in Your Favorite Player
- Instructions: How to make toffee?
- Ideal Temperature For Snappy, Golden Brown Toffee
- Toffee Can BURN You: Safety Instructions:
- Top Tips
- Is Your Toffee Greasy & Oily and/or Grainy & Crystallized?
- Crunchy vs. Chewy
- Environmental Concerns
- What to serve with for a Global cookie box
- Is Toffee Gluten-Free?
- Rich Buttery Toffee Recipe
Listen to Theresa and Her Sisters Talk Toffee
Follow The Storied Recipe in Your Favorite Player
The Essentials: what is toffee made of?
- Toffee is made from white sugar and butter. These are the only two essential ingredients; everything else is extra.
- Some people say brown sugar makes English Toffee and white sugar makes buttercrunch, but I only read that in one source. I couldn't verify it in any others. You can read more about it in the article "What is Toffee."
- White Granulated Sugar: Every butter toffee recipe simply calls for this pantry staple. There's no need for anything fancy!
- Salted Butter: When it comes to choosing the right butter for your toffee, Theresa and her sisters recommended salted. They've found unsalted butter tends to split more. European butter has a slightly higher fat and lower water content than American, but both will work in this recipe.
Ingredients To Make Your Life Easier (or Yummier)
- Water helps dissolve the sugar and corn syrup (or glucose syrup), forming the toffee base and aiding in the caramelization process.
- Corn syrup or glucose syrup contributes to the toffee's smooth texture and helps prevent sugar crystallization, resulting in a creamier and more consistent candy.
- Chocolate, when used as a coating or drizzle, adds a luscious and decadent layer of flavor to the toffee, enhancing its overall richness.
- Nuts, such as almonds or pecans, provide a delightful crunch and complement the toffee's buttery sweetness, creating a perfect balance of textures and flavors.
Instructions: How to make toffee?
- Combine butter and sugar and heat very slowly in a heavy saucepan on medium heat until it reaches hard crack stage. Each of those 3 things are key to regulating the rise in temperature and making sure it doesn't happen too quickly.
- Pour hot liquid toffee mixture onto a prepared jelly roll pan and spread. Add chocolate and/or nuts.
- Let toffee cool to room temperature, then break into pieces.
Ideal Temperature For Snappy, Golden Brown Toffee
- Toffee is best, in my opinion, at hard crack stage, between 295 and 310 degrees F.
- At 280-290, toffee is still a bit tacky. Just the slightest bend and chew. It will stick in in your teeth a bit.
- After 295, the color will be deeper - amber and golden brown - and will snap and crunch.
Toffee Can BURN You: Safety Instructions:
Working with molten, sticky sugar can result in burned fingers or tongues. Here are a few safety tips when making toffee:
- Use heat-resistant oven mitts or gloves while stirring to protect your hands and prevent burns.
- Do NOT dip your fingers directly into the hot toffee for a taste test.
- Keep a bowl of cold water nearby while making toffee so you can quickly immerse your fingers in case of accidental contact with hot sugar.
- Use a long-handled wooden or silicone spoon, which does not conduct heat as readily as medal, to stir.
- Ensure children and pets are kept at a safe distance from the cooking area to prevent accidents.
- Work with a calm and focused mindset, minimizing distractions in the kitchen, as molten sugar requires careful attention and concentration.
- Be Patient: Toffee-making requires time. While Theresa and her sisters can manage the process in about 20 minutes, it took me about 40. Allow the mixture to cook and reach the desired temperature slowly. The worst thing you can do is create huge swings in temperatures.
- Keep Stirring: Continuous stirring is essential to ensure even heating and prevent burning. Use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula for best results.
- Use a Candy Thermometer: Invest in a reliable candy thermometer to accurately monitor the toffee's temperature and achieve the perfect consistency.
Is Your Toffee Greasy & Oily and/or Grainy & Crystallized?
Sometimes, once you pour the toffee, you'll see a slick, oily sheen on top and the toffee will be a little grainy, like brown sugar. This is called separating. There's things you can do along the way to stop this:
How to *prevent* crystallization/separation while cooking:
- Stir continually, but not vigorously: While stirring is important for even and slow cooking, over-stirring can increase the chances of crystallization.
- Use Corn Syrup or Glucose: Adding a small amount of corn syrup or glucose syrup to the sugar mixture can help prevent crystallization. These syrups interfere with the sugar's ability to form crystals and result in a smoother toffee texture. (Theresa's recipe includes glucose syrup.)
- Don't stir the edges of the pan - especially if there are visible crystals along the edges.
- Use water and a pastry brush to wipe down crystals: As you cook the toffee, occasionally use a pastry brush dipped in water to wipe down the sides of the pan. This helps dissolve any sugar crystals that may have formed on the sides, preventing them from falling back into the mixture and causing crystallization.
How to *save* toffee that separated while cooking:
- Stir Vigorously: If you notice your toffee has separated and the butter is leaking out, try removing the pot from the pan for a few moments and stirring the mixture vigorously. This action can help recombine the separated ingredients and smooth out the texture.
- Add a Little Water: Gradually add a small amount of water to the toffee while stirring. The water can help bring the separated components back together and improve the consistency.
- Reheat Gently: Warm the toffee gently over low heat while stirring continuously. Be careful not to overheat it, as excessive heat can cause further separation or burning.
How to save toffee that separates *after* pouring onto the cookie sheet
- Know this is common. Know that you still have a sheet of buttery sweet goodness which everyone will enjoy!
- Use paper towels to blot up some of the excess
- enjoy second batch
This section is normally pretty boring, but in the case of toffee, a few pieces of equipment are essential
- Candy Thermometer: Essential for monitoring precise temperatures. If you want chewy, sticky toffee, you're shooting for 285-295. For amber-colored crunchy toffee, shoot for a peak of 310 degrees.
- Heavy Bottom Pan: Provides even heat distribution to allow for slow and steady temperature increases. Prevents scorching and ensure smooth, well-textured toffee.
- Wooden or Silicone Spoon: Heat-resistant and safer for stirring hot sugar mixtures, offering better control during the cooking process.
- Pastry brush
Also helpful, but not essential
1. Offset spatula to spread the molten toffee, then again to spread a chocolate layer across top.
2. Disposable cookie gift boxes for teacher gifts, cookie exchanges, etc;
Crunchy vs. Chewy
- To achieve toffee with a nice snap, you'll need to get the mixture up to 300-310 degrees.
- However, even at that temperature, you're not guaranteed crunchy toffee unless you control the moisture. Here are 3 tips for doing so:
- Choose a Dry Day: Opt for making toffee on a dry day with low humidity levels to minimize the risk of excess moisture affecting the candy's texture.
- Use a Clean, Dry Utensils: Make sure all utensils, including the candy thermometer and spatula, are completely dry before using them. Any moisture on the utensils can introduce water into the toffee mixture, affecting its texture.
- Avoid Covering the Toffee: While cooling, avoid covering the toffee with a lid or plastic wrap, as this can trap moisture and lead to chewier toffee. Allow the toffee to cool uncovered for the best results.
Even the best toffee recipe may require some adjustments depending on certain environmental factors. Here are a few predictable trouble makers to be mindful of:
- On rainy or humid days, excess moisture in the air can affect the toffee-making process, making it challenging to achieve the desired texture.
- To counter this, reduce the water content in the toffee recipe slightly or consider using a dehumidifier in the kitchen area to create a drier environment.
High Altitude vs. Sea Level:
- At high altitudes, the lower air pressure can impact the boiling point of the sugar mixture, leading to variations in cooking times and temperatures.
- When making toffee at high altitudes, it's advisable to increase the cooking temperature slightly to compensate for the lower boiling point and ensure the toffee reaches the correct stage.
- Semisweet Chocolate Chips: For a classic and convenient option, use semisweet chocolate chips to coat the toffee. They melt easily and provide a balanced sweetness.
- Hershey's Bars: Incorporate Hershey's chocolate bars for a nostalgic twist. The bars' smooth and creamy texture will complement the buttery toffee perfectly.
- Dark Chocolate: If you prefer a more intense and slightly bitter chocolate flavor, opt for dark chocolate. Its rich taste pairs exceptionally well with the sweet toffee.
- Nutty Toffee Recipe:
- Theresa's recipe calls for adding the nuts before pouring into the pan. I found this affected the temperature of the toffee too much and it led to separation. I'm still a novice at toffee-making. If this describes you as well, I'd try some of these other approaches:
- Prepare the baking pan with parchment paper, then sprinkle nuts over the parchment paper before pouring the hot toffee mixture on the top.
- Alternatively, add nuts over the chocolate layer
- For an almond toffee recipe, add almond extract to the mixture. Sprinkle chopped or sliced almonds over the chocolate.
- Toast any nuts - pecans, almonds, macadamia, hazelnuts, etc; before incorporating into the recipe
- Vanilla Extract:
- Enhance the toffee's flavor with a splash of pure vanilla extract. The vanilla adds a warm and aromatic note that complements the rich toffee taste, making it even more delightful.
- Easter or Christmas Time:
- For Easter, consider sprinkling the toffee with pastel-colored sprinkles or edible confetti to add a festive touch. The cheerful colors will make it a delightful treat for the holiday.
- During Christmas, use red, green, and gold sprinkles to bring a festive flair to the toffee. You can also add crushed candy canes for a peppermint twist.
- Kosher Salt/Sea Salt/Fleur de Sel:
- Sprinkle a pinch of kosher salt, sea salt, or Fleur de Sel on top of the toffee before it cools completely. The saltiness balances the sweetness, creating sweet-savory contrast that enhances the overall flavor profile.
Link to 27 toffee recipes
If you've made this English butter toffee recipe ahead of the holiday season, you may find yourself needing to hide it to resist temptation!
- To store the toffee, place it in an airtight container in a cool place, ensuring it's away from direct sunlight or heat that might cause the chocolate to melt.
- For extra protection, layer the toffee pieces with parchment paper to prevent them from sticking together.
- If you want to extend the toffee's shelf life, consider freezing it for up to 6 months. Be sure to separate the layers with parchment paper to maintain their individual shapes and flavors during freezing.
What to serve with for a Global cookie box
/Link to Christmas Cookies Around the World
Is Toffee Gluten-Free?
- Traditional toffee recipes, like this one, are typically gluten-free.
- However, it's essential to double-check the ingredients in any flavored or store-bought toffee to ensure it remains gluten-free.
- Additionally, if you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, it's always a good idea to prepare toffee in a dedicated gluten-free kitchen to avoid cross-contamination with gluten-containing ingredients.