How to make homemade english toffee including directions with and without a candy thermometer. This is the MEGA post on toffee! So many tips, everything you’ve wanted to know about making Christmas toffee at home!
Friends, this is an important post to read. Especially if you’ll be making english toffee!
I don’t want to scare you away, but I want us to have realistic expectations when it comes to making christmas toffee.
The first 3 batches of toffee I made FAILED.
And baking is part of my job!
Toffee making is a skill. There are so many tiny factors you need to pay attention to!
I’d learned a lot of good tips along the way through my test batches and I am going to share them with you.
Tips for homemade english toffee
1. I would recommend that you plan to buy enough ingredients to make this recipe twice. I made this recipe THREE times before I felt comfortable with the process. The actual making of the recipe is really hands on and the steps happen fast, so I recommend planning ahead and getting more then enough supplies in case you need to make another batch.
Look at the first batch as your “test” batch. Take the pressure off yourself and just notice how the toffee behaves and how quickly you need to move.
2. You *can* make this recipe without a candy thermometer, however it is really helpful so you can know what the actual temperature of the candy is.
BUT I will say, every time I made this recipe with my candy thermometer, it was spot on with that what be happening.
Meaning, our directions say to cook the mixture over medium heat for 8-13 minutes until the mixture turns the color of the almond skin. And exactly when the happens the thermometer is reading the exact temperature it would be at. So the color method is pretty accurate, but having a candy thermometer alleviates guessing.
3. Be kind to yourself! I make desserts for a living and there was definitely a learning curve involved for me, so take your time, and like I said, buy enough supplies for multiple batches!
Once you nail it, you’ll get to reap the benefits! This homemade toffee is buttery, sugary with a nice crunch and highly addicting!
Seriously important notes to read before making toffee
• Once the butter, sugar, salt and vanilla extract, which I will refer to as “the mixture” – once the mixture is cooking in the pot. Do not go any longer than 20 seconds without stirring it. Do not try to multi-task during this portion of the recipe. Have everything else ready to go, so that once the toffee reaches the correct color, you can pour it onto the silicone mat.
• The mixture will be a pale, yellow-y color for almost the entire time you’re cooking and stirring it. It’s not until the very end of the cooking time (about 10 minutes) that it will change color. Once it changes to the amber brown color, cook and stir for no more than 60 seconds.
• The mixture will boil and foam, do not panic, you’re doing great! Continue to stir at least every 20 seconds for 5-10 seconds. I know, it’s extremely hands on.
• Consistent heating is key. DO NOT raise or lower the temperature while cooking the mixture. This can result in the butter separating from the sugar. It will basically look like a solid mass and a ton of oil that will not mix.
• If you are using a candy thermometer, you want the temperature to reach 300º F then remove it from the heat and stir in the almonds. You’ll notice the color will change between 285-300ºF.
• Once you stir in the almonds, immediately pour the mixture (using oven mitts) onto a silicone mat. Moving quickly, spread with a spatula to thin out the toffee.
• Let the toffee sit for 2-3 minutes, then sprinkle with the chocolate chips, allowing them to get melty for a minute, than spread into a nice, even chocolate layer.
Can toffee be frozen?
Yes, place the toffee in an airtight freezer storage bag. It can be stored for 6 months.
Is this toffee recipe gluten free?
Yes! I have a gluten sensitivity myself and I love making toffee because it’s naturally gluten free. Of course you should verity that the almonds and chocolate chips you are using do not say “may contain wheat.”
Why did my toffee separate?
Consistent heating is key. DO NOT raise or lower the temperature while cooking the mixture. This can result in the butter separating from the sugar. It will basically look like a solid mass and a ton of oil that will not mix.
Why did my toffee turn out chewy?
The candy mixture was not heated long enough for crystallization to occur.
Remember, be kind to yourself and buy enough ingredients to make at least 2 batches!
More Christmas Desserts
- 1 cup whole almonds with the skin on
- 1 cup unsalted butter 2 sticks
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp vanilla
- 2 cups milk chocolate chips or one 12 oz package
- Christmas jimmie sprinkles
- ***Find the section titled “Seriously important notes to read before making toffee” in our post and read it before making the toffee***
- Rough chop the almonds. They don’t all need to be the same size, a variation is perfect. Place the almonds in a glass bowl and microwave for 2 minutes – stirring after each minute. We place the almonds in the microwave to give them a quick toast. Set them aside.
- Measure out 2 cups of chocolate chips and set them aside.
- Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a heavy 2-quart saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until the butter is melted.
- Once the butter is melted, set a 10 minute timer. The timer is more of a guide – the toffee will be done once turns amber brown or reaches 300ºF, give or take 10 degrees. Continue cooking and stirring the mixture for approximately 8 to 13 minutes until the mixture turns light brown or amber brown. The mixture will be a pale, yellow-y color for almost the entire time you’re cooking and stirring it. It’s not until the very end of the cooking time (about 10 minutes) that it will change color. Once it changes to the amber brown color, cook and stir for no more than 60 seconds. The mixture will boil and foam, do not panic, you’re doing great! Continue to stir at least every 20 seconds for 5-10 seconds. I know, it’s extremely hands on.
- Once the mixture changes color, immediately remove from the heat and quickly stir in the chopped almonds.
- Moving quickly, pour the toffee mixture onto the lined baking sheet. Use a spatula to spread of the mixture into an even layer. It cools fast so work fast!
- As soon as you spread the toffee, sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the toffee. Wait 1 minute and spread the melted chocolate until it is smooth over the toffee.
- Sprinkle with christmas jimmie sprinkles.
- Let the toffee cool on the counter until set. Then break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.