Classic English Toffee

This English toffee, made with almonds and dark chocolate, is a classic old-fashioned Christmas candy and is surprisingly easy to make. A lovely gift. You can also swap in milk chocolate and peanuts to make the best possible American version.

A slather of chocolate topped with chopped roasted peanuts on parchment

This classic English toffee recipe nicely demonstrates that candymaking doesn’t need to be a chore. And it turns out inexpressibly better than anything store-bought. You just need to keep a few simple things to keep in mind to ensure spectacularness. First, invest in a  thermometer if you don’t already have one and keep a careful watch on your candy as it can go from not quite ready to hopelessly gone in minutes..You’ll also want to ensure your baking sheet is large enough to spread your toffee thin to ensure it’ll turn shatteringly crisp rather than remain heartbreakingly chewy. And one thing you can’t really do much about, other than work around it, is the weather. Best not to attempt creating candy on an especially warm, muggy day, or you’ll be back to toffee that’s stubbornly chewy rather than mindbendingly crisp.–Renee Schettler Rossi

English Toffee

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 45 M
  • 2 H
  • Makes about 3 1/2 pounds
5/5 - 1 reviews
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Special Equipment: Candy thermometer, offset spatula, Silpat



Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a baking sheet with sides, such as a jelly-roll pan, with a silicone baking mat.

Toast the almonds on a separate baking sheet until lightly browned and aromatic, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board to cool. Roughly chop the almonds. If desired, dump them into a strainer and shake to remove any teensy pieces of almond skins for a more professional-looking final appearance.

In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, vanilla, salt, and water over low to medium-low heat. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Cook, whisking, until the butter has melted and the mixture is emulsified. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, whisking constantly at a consistent speed, until the mixture reaches 300°F (149°C) on a candy thermometer, 15 to 20 minutes.

Immediately and carefully pour the hot toffee onto the prepared baking sheet. Using an offset spatula, quickly spread the toffee into a thin, even layer over the entire baking sheet. (Don’t dally as you’re doing this.) Let the toffee cool for at least 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl placed over but not touching a pot of simmering water and gently stir with a rubber spatula until the chocolate has completely melted, looks smooth, and is no more than 110°F (43°C).

If necessary, gently wipe or blot any excess oil from the top of the cooled toffee with a paper towel. Spread the top of the toffee with the warm chocolate and immediately sprinkle with the nuts. Let set at room temperature until hardened, 20 to 30 minutes.

If desired, once the chocolate has set, invert the toffee, remove the baking mat, and smother the second side of the toffee with additional chocolate and nuts.

Break the cooled toffee into pieces. The toffee is best when consumed that same day or stored in an airtight container at room temperature for no more than 3 days, so make haste in packaging and gifting it. Originally published December 5, 2014.

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    T-Shirt Variation

    • American Toffee
    • T-shirt variation

      Substitute milk chocolate and lightly salted Spanish peanuts for the dark chocolate and roasted almonds.

    Recipe Testers' Reviews

    This is a classic English toffee, just like the overpriced ones you get coerced into buying from kids' school fundraisers (except this is way better!). As long as you have a proper thermometer, a heavy-bottomed pan, and a little confidence, this candy can be made successfully.

    All the ingredients are placed in a pot and cooked until 300°F. This is something that needs a thermometer because the candy is surprisingly light colored at this point. However, it yields the perfect consistency for the toffee—not too crunchy or sticky. The recipe also calls for a Silpat onto which you pour the toffee. A silicone mat is an essential tool in candymaking and well worth the expense. Once the toffee was cooled, I coated it in chocolate and nuts. I found that coating it on just one side was enough, but not everyone agreed with my decision!

    I loved the flavor of this English toffee recipe. What a great holiday gift it would make! The flavor of the almonds complemented the chocolate and sugar nicely. I did add a sprinkle of sea salt to the top of half my batch to give it a try both ways. I'm a lover of all things salty and sweet, so I preferred the salted version. Enjoy!

    I followed the recipe exactly and the only difference I found was the time to bring the toffee to 300°F, as it took me only about 10 minutes.


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    1. I make English Toffee every year as part of a holiday care package and I make it extra thick. We call it “Crack”. Because you can’t stop eating it after the first bite.

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