Thursday, December 20, 2012

recipe: english toffee

English Toffee: Easier than it sounds, most of the time, and you DON'T NEED A CANDY THERMOMETER {horray!}. Tim told me that it wouldn't be christmas without "my" toffee, and I'd have to agree. It's tradition, dangit; wouldn't want to mess with that :)
2 cups sugar
2 cups butter or margarine
1/2c sliced almonds? {I never measure these, usually just wing it}
Bag and a half of chocolate chips? {ditto for this}
Equipment {not pictured}: 
2qt saucepan
2 large cookie sheets 
METAL spoon {trust me on this one; wood and toffee should never mix}
Total time: about an hour and fifteen minutes {Prep: Negligible. Stirring time: 15 minutes, give or take. Cooling time: at least an hour in the fridge.} 
Makes: tons.

Step 1: Toast your almonds {Aka toss some into a pan and move 'em around for awhile until they start to smell toasty. It's an exact science, you know}. Chop up a handful or two and set aside to cool. 
Scatter your unchopped almonds on your cookie sheets. I find it best if you start in the middle and spread them around; the middle's the most important part to get covered.

Step 2: Melt yo buttah' in the saucepan over medium heat. As the sticks melt, I usually chop it up with my spoon because I'm impatient. Once it's all liquid, dump in your sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
Now's the pretty darn boring part: keep stirring until it's done. This takes a.dang.long.time. {about 15 minutes of stirring can be tedious}. Stick with it! You have to keep stirring to keep it from burning unevenly, but it does need to burn. Here is the progression:
Bottom left to right: boiling melty sugary butter, puffy creamy-looking froth, "floofy-puffy-sticky" brown, and finally smoother-darker-chocolatey brown. Top: Final stage, perfect boiling toffee! Stop when it gets to this color. 
Those last three stages happen pretty quickly, within about two to three minutes. It's at the butter-looking phase for most of the time, but stir the whole time! Scrape the sides as you go. You'll notice that the liquid almost doubles in size at the "floofy" stage, so be careful about that. Remove from the heat when it reaches toffee color.

Step 3: Pour half the mixture onto each of your almond-covered cookie sheets. It will spread pretty well, but you can help it out with the back of a spoon. Try to cover most of the almonds you so carefully scattered, but don't sweat it if they don't all get covered. Important: fill saucepan with water immediately and set aside. Otherwise, you'll be chipping rock-hard toffee off that sucker fo-evah. Carry on.
Step 4: Scatter chocolate chips onto toffee puddles. This is kind of an art form, since it's hard to know how much you'll need. I usually put about this much: 
The heat from the just-boiling toffee melts the chocolate, so let it sit for a minute or two and then start to spread the chocolate chips with the back of a spoon. Keep spreading the chocolate until the toffee is fully covered and the chocolate chips are all melted.
PS: THIS DOES NOT WORK WITH WHITE CHOCOLATE. Just trust me on this one ;)
Step 5: Sprinkle top of toffee/chocolate puddles with your chopped almonds. This will help disguise any ugly-looking chocolate spreading you may have done. {garnishes really do hide a multitude of ills}. Place trays in fridge for at least an hour. 
Step 6: After your time has passed, remove from refrigerate and crack into pieces. This is the fun part! Arrange on a plate and serve, or put in a box to share with friends and neighbors! They will love you for it :)


  1. I had no idea making toffee was so easy! I have a question though; do you put down wax paper or anything on the cookie sheets, and if not does the toffee stick to them? I make peppermint bark every year and I've found the stuff doesn't come up off the cookie sheets without some kind of parchment paper!

    1. Believe it or not, you don't need ANYTHING! I was skeptical at first, but the toffee toffee pulls up and away from the cookie sheet during the refrigeration phase--nothing to it! I've tried it with fancy-schmancy cookie sheets and with the cruddy ones from our college apartment, and it works every time. Let me know if you give it a try!

  2. I'm going to see if I can make this with my Rocky Road for the Christmas shift :) Thanks!

  3. It was SOOO delicious!!! Thanks for sharing, Brit!!!



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