Sometimes known as buttercrunch toffee or English toffee, this candy is a treat any time of the year, though it is is frequently served at Christmas. Toffee is a simple treat to make, using little more than sugar and butter to get a crunchy, caramel flavor in thin golden sheets. It is also easily customizable, meaning you can create many different types of toffee depending on the nature of your sweet tooth.
Note: To make the best toffee, it is highly recommended that you purchase a candy thermometer. It is not, however, strictly required.
- 1/4 cup of water
- 2 cups of granulated white sugar
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter (3 sticks), plus 1 tablespoon to grease the pan.
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup.
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract/essence
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups chocolate chips
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 cups roasted walnuts, almonds, pecans, peanuts, or hazelnuts
- 2 cups dark brown sugar (substituted in for white granulated sugar)
- 2 ounces ground coffee and 8 ounces white chocolate, melted together.
- 1 box saltine crackers.
Making Basic Butter Toffee
- Grease an 11x17-inch baking pan with 1 tb of butter. Use the butter to lightly coat the bottom and sides of the pan. This will keep the toffee from sticking to the pan when you need to remove it. Set the pan aside on a wire cooling rack for later -- you'll be pouring the hot toffee into this to cool.
- You can also line the bottom with parchment paper or use a Silpat mat if you don't want to grease the pan.
- Divide the remaining 1 1/2 cups of butter into small pieces. Simply cut the butter up into squares. This increases the surface area of the butter and helps it melt evenly.
- Heat the butter on medium-high in a large, heavy-bottom saucepan. Heavy bottom pans will prevent the sugar from burning later on, but you can use a normal pot if you don't have one. Stir the butter regularly as it melts. Once you are sure that all of it is melted, move on to the next step -- you do not want it to brown.
- Add the sugar, syrup, water, salt and corn syrup and lower the heat to medium-low. Once the butter is melted, add 2 cups granulated white sugar, 2 tablespoons light corn syrup, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 cup water and stir it in until the sugar has completely dissolved. When possible, use a wooden spoon instead of a metal one to prevent sugar crystals from forming.
- If you do not have corn syrup, add an extra 4 tablespoons of butter, divided into small pieces.
- Stop stirring when the mixture boils. Sugar can recrystallize when overstirred, leading to grainy toffee instead of the smooth texture you are looking for. Use a pastry brush dipped in water to knock any loose sugar crystals off the sides of the pan and down into the mixture, then let the toffee sit, unstirred, until you take it off the heat.
- You can also cover the pot briefly -- the steam will condense on the sides of the pot, dissolving the sugar and dripping back into the mixture.
- Clamp a candy thermometer into the mixture and wait until it reads 300℉. This is the "hard crack" stage of candy. This means that, when it cools, the candy will break up into the hard pieces of toffee that you are looking for. Turn the heat off when the thermometer reads 300℉.
- If you do not have a candy thermometer, the toffee is done when the mixture is a rich golden-amber color, similar to the skin of an almond. Do not let it get brown, however, as this means it is burning.
- Turn off the heat and quickly stir in 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. This ensures that you get the extract throughout the mixture evenly, but don't cause any more crystals to form. 3-4 stirs around should be enough.
- Carefully pour the toffee onto your baking sheet. You'll leave it in your baking sheet to cool and harden, then you can break it up into smaller pieces afterward.
- If you want nuts in your toffee, spread them on the sheet ahead of time and pour the toffee over them.
- Cool the toffee in the freezer for 20-30 minutes. You can then remove it, crack it into pieces, and serve. Toffee will last for 7-10 days in an air-tight container at room temperature and up to a month in the freezer.
- Add 2 cups of chocolate chips to the toffee right after pouring it out into the pan. Sprinkle the chocolate evenly across the surface of the toffee and let it sit for 2-3 minutes as it heats up. Once it's lightened in color, use a plastic spatula to spread the chocolate evenly across the surface of the toffee, making a two-layered chocolate-toffee treat. Freeze as usual.
- Pour the toffee over 1 cup of roasted nuts. Toffee has long been served with nuts, particularly almonds and pecans. Put a cup of nuts on the baking tray before you pour the toffee out. Then use a food processor to finely chop another 1/2 cup of nuts and pour them on top of the toffee when it is still hot (or the chocolate, if you chose to add it on top). Freeze as usual.
- Try white chocolate mocha topping. Put 8 ounces of white chocolate chips and 2 ounces of finely ground coffee in a small saucepot. Heat up 1-2 inches of water in a larger pan, then place the chocolate pot in the water pan to warm the chocolate indirectly. This is called a double boiler, as the hot water surrounding the pot melts the chocolate, not the direct heat of the stovetop. Stir the coffee and chocolate until fully melted, then pour and spread on the partially cooled toffee.
- Substitute brown sugar for white sugar to make richer toffee. Brown sugar has a darker, molasses-like quality that will make an especially distinct treat. You can treat the rest of the recipe the same as normal toffee.
- Top with sea salt or fleur de sel for a salty-sweet treat. This decadent but simply candy is such a perfect combination you may not cook it any other way. The caramelized sugars go perfectly with a pinch of salt, sprinkled right over the top of the toffee right after pouring onto the baking sheet.
- Try out bacon toffee. Sweet, salty, and savory, bacon toffee is hard to resist. To make it, simply fry, dry, and finely chop 1lb of bacon. Then lay the small pieces on your baking pan and pour the toffee over them.
- Use your toffee in cookies and other baked recipes. Crunch your toffee up and use them alongside chocolate chips in chocolate chip cookies. Toffee goes great on double chocolate cookies or crumbled on the top of a cake before serving.
- The temperature of your mixture is critical to the kind of toffee you will be making, including the texture and suppleness of your toffee.
- To clean your pan, boil hot water in it, stirring until all the sugar dissolves.
- Heating sugar to these temperatures can be dangerous. If you spill or splash the sugar mixture on your skin you will get a serious burn, so be careful when making toffee.
Things You'll Need
- A large heavy-bottomed saucepan
- A wooden spoon
- A candy thermometer
- Wax paper or foil
- Measuring utensils
- A large baking sheet,
- A plastic glove or bag
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- Make Chocolate Dipped Spoons
- Make Bacon Toffee
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